It should always begin with your institutions domain name no matter what.
Definitely check the domains carefully.
Many of these fake sites will have something like this in the URL:
That would be incorrect.
Something like this:
WOULD be correct.
Since we're on the topic, I was fooled by an ATM device not too long ago. Instead of rehashing, I'll paste in an email I sent out to friends:
This is one of those things that I would never have believed would happen to me, or that I would ever fall for - but I did.
Yesterday afternoon I logged into my online personal checking account web site, and noticed 3 withdrawals posting over the past 2 days totaling just over $2000 that I did not make. The 3 withdrawals were made in cities quite a distance apart.
I called my bank to find out what the deal was, and they confirmed that they were actual withdrawals from ATMs using my ATM card and PIN. I told them there was no way - that my card is with me at all times, and no one else has my PIN. They asked if I had any problems at any ATMs recently, and said no. I asked for them to clarify, and they said there have been recent reports of card swipe theft devices being installed at ATMs. I had never heard of anything like that. But then it hit me.
There is a local ATM that I use all the time for my personal and business transactions (for you Milford residents, it's the one near Bugaboo Creek). It's one of those ATMs located in a tiny building with a door on each side. For the past few months one of the doors was broken - it would buzz every 10 seconds or so as if someone were trying to get in, but the door would never unlock even if you put in your card. People trying to get in would have to go around to the other door to get in. A couple weeks ago I noticed that the door was no longer buzzing, and that it opened freely - whether or not your inserted your card. I assume that my bank or someone else had just disabled the lock because it had been a problem.
Well at the time I didn't think much of it, but this last Saturday I went to the ATM and noticed a different card swiper to get in the door. Again, I didn't think much of it but do remember that it wasn't quite flush with the door while the old one was. I assumed that they had replaced the card swipers to fix the door lock issues, swiped my card, went in and did my transactions.
After getting off the phone with my bank, I swung by the ATM and saw that the 'new' card swiper was no longer there - it was back to the original one that is flush with the door. I then drove to my local branch to discuss and mention that ATM, and filed a police report.
I'm now convinced that the 'new' card swiper I saw was some sort of theft device, maybe in conjunction with a camera placed at the actual ATM to record my PIN.
If ANYTHING ever looks out of the ordinary at an ATM, stop and think - and don't swipe your card if it seems suspicious. I know I will be extra careful from now on, and hopefully someone else can learn from my mistake.