The world today is in a digital age. Most businesses expand their reach to a broad audience using the internet. Information is shared and consumed through the internet. People of all age groups are exposed to a plethora of websites offering various features and services.
Alongside the many benefits that digitization has provided, it also comes with certain risks that all users must be aware of. It is essential to be able to identify specific indicators on a website that indicates something is not right or that the site is fak. Here is a list of what to look out for.
The URL Area
The easiest and most common way to check if a website is safe or not is to look for an SSL certification. The presence or absence of a security certificate can be found by looking for the lock symbol on the left of the URL displayed in the address bar. The presence of the lock indicates that the website has an SSL certificate.
The other method to identify the SSL certificate is by looking at the actual domain name itself. If there is an URL starting with “https,” then the website is secure.
SSL Certificate helps to secure user data like login details, credit card information and more.
Also, check whether the URL is spelled correctly. The change of even a single alphabet can lead to a completely different.
Before trusting any website with confidential data like your username and passwords or credit card information, it is essential to verify the authenticity of the website. An excellent way to go about this is to read reviews by users. The reputation of a website can be easily gauged by what people have to say about the site on numerous online communities like Quora, and others. Any negative reviews that you come across must be read thoroughly to understand if they are genuine or spam.
Another essential trait of secure and legitimate websites is an authentication certificate or trust seal. It is usually present as a part of the header or footer of the website. In case of online retail stores, it is common to have the seal present on the checkout page. The security bodies that certify a website are McAfee secure, SSL Value, Authorize.net, and PayPal, to name a few.
It is essential to be able to recognize the difference between genuine and authentic trust seals and lookalike seals, used by fraudulent sites. Real seals are clickable and redirect you to the website explaining the certification given. This is an easy way to differentiate the lookalikes from genuine seals.
Before availing service from any website, be sure to check their contact pages and look for genuine contact details like a phone number, email address, fax, physical address, and a social media account. Absence of such information is a clear indication that the website may not be trustworthy. This means if something goes wrong, the customer does not have a way to contact the website owners.
Watch out for weird pop-ups
Another sign that things are not what they seem to be is the appearance of unrelated pop-ups when you visit a website. Random pop-up screens with offers or messages that promise the best service without you ever searching for anything related to those deals is a clear sign that something is not right.
Never fall prey for such advertisements and pop-ups. In most cases, clicking on such pop-ups lead to malware attacks on your computer.
As far as links are concerned, right click on them and go to properties in the drop-down menu to find the true destination of the link. If it differs from where you are expected to be redirected, then the website is fraudulent.
Also, be sure to never directly click a link sent on an email. Be sure to type it out yourself or copy the complete version of the URL into the address bar.
You must be proactive and smart while browsing the internet. There are many attackers in the cyber world, but the trick to surviving in the digital era is to be aware of the various risks and be able to identify them.
The above points apply to any website and will ensure that you do not fall prey to malware attacks, data breach, and cybercrime.
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