How to Check If a Website is Legit: A Guide to Online Safety
In the age of technology and the internet, it is becoming increasingly important to understand how to determine the legitimacy of a website. With the rise of scams, phishing, and malicious websites, it is crucial to protect yourself and your information from falling into the wrong hands. This article will guide you through the steps you can take to check if a website is legit and help you protect yourself from potential dangers.
- Verify the URL
One of the simplest and most effective ways to check if a website is legit is to verify the URL. Be sure to check the spelling of the website’s name and the domain extension (such as .com, .org, .gov, etc.). Phishing websites often have slight variations in the spelling of the URL in order to trick you into thinking you’re on a legitimate site. For example, instead of “paypal.com,” the phishing website might use “paypa1.com.”
Additionally, you should be cautious of websites that use “http” instead of “https” as the “s” stands for “secure” and indicates that the website is using encryption to protect your information.
- Look for Contact Information
Legitimate websites will typically have contact information readily available on their site, such as an email address, phone number, or physical address. If the website is hiding their contact information or does not have any at all, it could be a red flag that the site is not legitimate.
- Check for Reviews
Reading reviews and testimonials from other users can be a great way to determine the legitimacy of a website. Look for reviews on the website itself, as well as on external review sites such as Yelp, Trustpilot, or Google Reviews. If there are a high number of negative reviews or complaints, it is best to look for a different website that has a better reputation.
- Check for a Secure Connection
As mentioned earlier, a secure website will have “https” in the URL and not just “http.” In addition, a padlock icon should appear next to the URL in your browser. This icon indicates that the website is using encryption to protect your information.
- Use a Website Safety Checker
There are various website safety checkers available online that can scan a website and give you a report on its safety. These checkers will check for things such as malware, phishing attempts, and other potential dangers. Some popular website safety checkers include Norton Safe Web, McAfee SiteAdvisor, and Web of Trust (WOT).
- Be Cautious of Pop-Ups
Be cautious of pop-ups and pop-under ads on websites, as these can often lead to malicious websites or downloads. Legitimate websites will typically not have pop-ups or pop-under ads, or will have a minimal number.
- Look for a Valid SSL Certificate
An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that is used to secure the connection between a website and a user’s browser. A valid SSL certificate will be issued by a trusted certificate authority (CA) and will ensure that the website is using encryption to protect your information. You can check for a valid SSL certificate by clicking on the padlock icon next
In conclusion, it is important to protect yourself and your information when browsing the internet. By following these eight steps, you can ensure that you are visiting a legitimate website and keep yourself safe from potential dangers. However, if you come across a website that you believe is not legitimate, it is important to report it to the appropriate authorities. A great resource for reporting scams and malicious websites is scamwarners.com. Here, you can find information on current scams and alerts, as well as share your own experiences and help others stay safe online. So, stay vigilant, and always verify the legitimacy of a website before sharing any personal or sensitive information.