How Do You Know if a Website is Safe and Legitimate?

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Check If Website is Safe or Legit

Not everything on the internet can be trusted, and not everything that appears shiny is gold. I take it that you already know that. However, are you aware of every step in spotting a secure website?

Almost everything we do in the modern digital world is done online, and we constantly come across websites that we need to familiarize ourselves with.

The internet is an excellent source of information and resources, but it’s also a sanctuary for fraudulent websites and fraudsters. These counterfeit websites may easily trick you if you’re not vigilant, which might have severe financial and personal consequences. Therefore, it’s essential to understand “How to determine whether a website is a scam, fraud, or genuine.”

Because of the growth of websites, technical improvements, and other forms of online crime, one in ten individuals becomes a victim of a scam or fraud each year.

Here are some suggestions and resources that will help you determine “How to Know if a Website Is Safe and Legit?” so that you can protect yourself.

Ways to Find if a Website Is Legitimate

These days, websites might appear entirely credible or professional even when that’s not the case in real life, so it’s critical to spot the warning signs. Considering this, these are the most simple methods for determining whether a website is secure.

Search for the “S” in HTTPS.

Since many URLs begin with “https” rather than just “http” to indicate encryption, you should be familiar with HTTPS.

Sensitive data submitted to the website is protected while it moves from the site to a server using an SSL certificate, which offers this protection. That data is exposed and readily available to attackers without an SSL certificate. 

Recommended: Port 80 (HTTP) vs. Port 443 (HTTPS): Major Difference to Know

HTTPS indicates that the website owner is concerned about your safety, but it’s vital to remember that it’s not the only thing a website can or should do to safeguard its users. As you input your email address, login, or make a payment, be sure the URL begins with “https.”

Check Out The Website Seal of Trust

It is probably a trust seal if you see a sign that says “Secure” or “Verified.” A website with a trust seal means it has a security partner. These seals can show various security aspects, such as the date of the site’s most recent malware check, besides the common indication that a website is secured via HTTPS.

Even though 79% of internet customers anticipate seeing a trust seal, more than having the symbol alone is required. It’s crucial to confirm the badge’s legitimacy. Luckily, it’s simple: click the badge to check whether a verification page loads.

The Website could be Better Designed and includes a Lot of Mistakes 

Some dangerous websites have lousy designs, ranging from language and grammar issues to stretched-out logos and shoddy images. Trustworthy companies take great satisfaction in having flawless, business-like websites. 

A website should raise red flags if it appears to have been thrown together quickly or if its design could be better. The website might be dangerous, designed by hackers who need to gain the artistic ability to make a visually appealing website in the first place or a keen eye for detail.

Identify their Contact Details

After finding its contact details, you’re not alone if you feel more confident with a website. According to a poll conducted among website visitors, 44% of participants will depart from a website that does not provide a phone number or any other kind of contact information

An email address, phone number, physical address (if any), return policy (if any), and social media profiles should all be prominently displayed on a secure website. These can’t ensure security, but they will point you toward someone you can contact if you need assistance.

Execute a Virus Scan

A few advertisements or pop-ups may occasionally appear on websites. Still, if the ads are too intrusive to ignore or push you to click on links that take you to other websites, they may indicate that the website is fraudulent, unsafe, or uses a false identity. 

PhishTank, VirusTotal, FTC fraud Alerts, and other well-known fraud sites are among the many free tools for checking for malware, viruses, and phishing.

Check the Website for SSL

A digital certificate known as an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) indicates a website’s legitimacy and ability to encrypt user data and personal information. A website must verify the certificate holder’s identity before they can be granted an SSL.

It’s easy to determine whether a website has an SSL: Observe the URL bar while accessing a website. You should observe:

The first part of the URL is “https://“. “Secure” is what the “s” at the end of HTTP stands for.

A lock icon is on the far left of the address bar. This lock denotes that you and the website are connected securely. For further information on the security of the website, click the lock.

A website is only sometimes dangerous if it doesn’t have an SSL. While browsing that website is acceptable, sharing personal information might not be secure.

Select the certificate that most closely matches your needs. You obtain the best SSL certificates from internationally recognized certificate authorities with the most options for websites of every size and type.

Users may feel confident knowing that SSL certificates protect their data. For this reason, verifying an SSL certificate on a website is crucial before entering any critical data. Additionally, users should be cautious when accessing websites that appear to be secured by an SSL certificate but display warnings about an insecure connection.

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Examine the Website with Security Tools

Probably, your computer is equipped with an antivirus program. Most organizations that specialize in digital security create systems that alert users whether a website is secure to visit.

When there is no security certificate or when it has expired at the address, those tools might sometimes stop navigation.

Certain companies let users assess a website and choose whether to go further. Much like browser plugins, such programs are typically installed automatically along with the antivirus. Additionally, you may benefit from a variety of pen-testing features and VPN services.

Check out the online reputation of the firm before selecting an antivirus. A fascinating website is called Virus Total. Entering a URL into the address bar causes it to analyze the website and determine whether it poses risks to users.

An additional tool similar to the preceding one is Google Safe Browsing. Using Google’s database to analyze billions of pages increases the likelihood of identifying fraudulent websites or efforts to steal information from these addresses, which is one of its advantages.

Analyse News and Reviews about the Company

Reading other people’s evaluations is an effective way to find out if a website is secure. This isn’t impenetrable of course, as wicked individuals might hire individuals to do it for them or write fraudulent reviews online.

To find out whether there have been any complaints made against the website or business in the previous few years, you can also search websites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Make Sure you Check the Website’s Privacy Policy

A trustworthy website must include a privacy statement explaining what data it collects, why it uses it, and who it shares it with. A fraudulent website could be indicated by a confusing privacy statement or one that leaves out important information.

When you give your credit card details to online retailers, you must know where your information is kept.

Because of data privacy laws and regulations, you have the right to know how the website gathers, uses, protects, and keeps personal data. These rules serve as policies and procedures for the company and its users.

You may get these privacy policies as a Word document or link. Read the webpage carefully before submitting any critical information. Most websites provide a page with extensive data or a link to a document with that information.

Before entering any information or completing any online transactions, look for comprehensive information and carefully review this information.

How should you Respond if a Fraudulent Website Targets you?

If a fraudulent website has tricked you, act immediately to take the following action:

  1. First and foremost, there must be an instant suspension of all financial transactions.
  2. Take snapshots of the webpage to use as a reference.
  3. Let your bank or credit card company know about the fraud.
  4. While visiting the website, if the user is experiencing doubts, such as “Is this website legit?”, change any possibly compromised passwords.
  5. Notify the proper authorities—such as your neighborhood Cybercrime Cell—about the bogus websites.
  6. Fake pop-ups should be avoided since they are probably trying to trick you into clicking on them and unintentionally downloading malware.
  7. Always use a website’s legitimate checks or trackers for assistance.
  8. Alter your passcodes frequently.
  9. Configure two-factor authentication for every one of your accounts.
  10. Take screenshots of the webpage to use as proof.
  1. Keep a watchful eye to avoid falling for deception again.
  2. Specific well-known search engines will check websites for malware and, if found to be infected, will display a warning.

While it’s true that not all websites are reliable and secure, don’t let this prevent you from using the internet; make sure you do it carefully! A secure website may be beneficial in securing your personal information. A website is safe with a valid trust mark, “https,” a privacy policy, and contact details!

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Janki Mehta

Janki Mehta

Janki Mehta is a Cyber-Security Enthusiast who constantly updates herself with new advancements in the Web/Cyber Security niche. Along with theoretical knowledge, she also implements her practical expertise in day-to-day tasks and helps others to protect themselves from threats.

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