Why You Should Double-Check Your URLs

Torrentspy.com is one of my favorite destinations for checking out if the latest episodes of my favorite shows, such as Smallville, have been seeded (cable operators here in my place air episodes months–even a full year–after they are shown on their home networks). Imagine my surprise when I tried to access the site and was shown a different layout than what I’m used to.

Apparently, I mistyped the URL, keying in “torrenspy.com” (without the second “T”) in my hurry, which led me to a site designed to charge people for “subscribing” to TorrentSpy (huh?) and possibly even phish for credit card information.

If you’re used to searching TorrentSpy, you’ll be familiar with the simple interface, with the search box right on top (and now with Shoutwire headlines on the frontpage).

But using the “torrenspy.com” domain, you get this frontpage, which asks you to log in first, or become a member.

Now whichever link you click, you will be led to the sign-up page, which will ask for your email address (presumably for spamming).

When you proceed to the next step after keying in your email address, you will be asked to choose a membership package. $39.95 for unlimited membership to a free site? Ouch! $9.95 for unlimited movie downloads on a Torrent tracker? Double ouch! Antivirus protection for $9.95? Really now?

After choosing your subscription package, and clicking the “Credit Card” button, you will then be led to the “secure order form.”

Again, better check the URLs you’re keying in before making any transactions.

I know companies and site owners do make a habit of buying up domain names that sound like their legitimate ones, or are misspellings thereof. One such encounter I have with a rather prominent site was The Economist. I typed “economsit.com” (S-I-T, instead of I-S-T) and was pleasantly surprised to see I’ve arrived at the correct site after all.

But I’m wondering what the owner of torrenspy.com gets from this fake sign-up site, given that TorrentSpy’s audience mostly consists of the tech-savvy crowd who would know a phishing exploit from something legit, or at least have suspicions that something is amiss.

Imagine charging money for a Torrent tracker!

Still, for the dyslexic in all of us, it pays to double-check URLs!

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