Internet Tip: Avoid clicking shortened URLs…

Fred Stluka
1 min readJun 17, 2021

Internet Tips fans,

This is the 21st in a series of tips on how to do tricky things with URLs.

Avoid clicking “shortened” URLs. They’re loved by spammers, phishers, and other scammers, because they hide the real URL from you and they make it easier to collect your data:

For those of you reading ahead, I’ve made some updates to this tip since yesterday:
- How to check the target of a shortened URL before clicking it
- Char limits at other sites, plus elision, truncation, etc.
- More on Twitter 140 vs 280 and convoluted logic to count chars

BTW, I’ve also added some updates to the “Detecting phishing attacks” tip I sent on Tuesday. It now mentions:
- Long-press on phones/tablets to see URL (like hovering mouse)
- 2003 warning about phishing sites with overlays or login popups
- “Last 2 parts before first single slash” rule is not quite right
since extra slashes can be added by a phisher. The new rule is:
“Last 2 parts AFTER the first double slash, before the next slash”
These 3 updates are highlighted at:

(If you’ve been to the page recently, be sure to refresh your browser to see the latest version, dated 6/17/2021.)

— Fred