Visiting unsafe and bogus websites can cause all sorts of problems – they can spread malware and viruses, steal your personal and card details, send spam to your online contacts and much more.
To prevent yourself from becoming a victim to an online scam, you need to make sure that the websites you are visiting, and especially purchasing products and services from, are safe and legitimate.
Following the steps below will ensure that you are using a website that takes your safety seriously.
The first thing to do when visiting a website is to check whether their URL starts with ‘HTTPS’ and displays a padlock to the left side, or just ‘HTTP’.
In simple terms, this is the method in which information is sent between you and the website. ‘HTTP’ means the information is sent over in plain text which allows it to be read easily by anyone who chooses to intercept it. ‘HTTPS’ does the same primary job but has a ‘Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)’.
This ensures that the information entered into the website is sent to the server in an encrypted format and through a safe tunnel to its destination – so any passwords, personal details or bank details cannot be intercepted and read. ‘HTTPS’ is used very widely across the internet and particularly utilised on shopping websites where card details are entered or websites where passwords are needed.
It’s important to note that just having this in place doesn’t mean the website is completely legitimate as the information can still be read by the website itself– but it’s a very good sign that the website is taking its visitors safety seriously.
Any legitimate websites should display their contact information - including the address of where they’re based, phone numbers and email addresses. This doesn’t offer protection in itself, but it does show that there are genuine people behind the website and there is someone available to reach out to if you have any questions or need help.
Fake websites can be difficult to spot as they often look very similar to their genuine counterparts. However, if you have concerns about the website you are on, you should thoroughly check through the website’s content.
This is because, if the website is legitimate and a genuine business, they should want to give the best impression to the website’s visitors and should check through for any spelling and grammar mistakes and make sure everything actually makes sense. If you go through and find a huge number of errors, then it’s a good sign that it wasn’t created by someone who cares about the website and it’s probably a bogus one.
If you enter a website’s name into your search engine, it should bring up a whole lot of information about the site and any reviews which have been posted by other genuine users.
People will often review websites on sites like Trustpilot, ReviewCentre and TripAdvisor, to inform others of the quality of products, customer service and warnings about scams. It is better to read reviews posted on other trusted websites, instead on any reviews posted on the website of concern, as reviews can easily be spoofed and posted by the website creator.
When it comes to your online safety, it is always better to err on the side of caution if you have any suspicions about the website you’re on.
After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
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Last updated: 12 November 2019 | © KIS Finance 2018 |