How do You Know If a Website is Safe to Buy from Online or is Trying to Scam you?
Updated on August 23, 2021 | by Evan Chase
Did you know that Cybercrimes have mounted 600% due to the COVID-19 outbreak?
Till now, if you didn’t well, now you do, and this opens up a whole new debate on how to check if a website is legit?
How do you know whether you are visiting a safe website that will not steal your data and sell it on the dark web?
Search engines like Google are deeply concerned about their user experience, and they are ready to go hard yards to ensure that their customer data is safe.
However, what can we do to ensure that we create a safe online environment as website owners and customers?
Well, to do that, we first need to understand the risks of visiting unsafe websites.
Also Read: How To Track Your Kids Location
What are the Risks of Visiting an Unsafe Website?
1: Unsolicited Links
Nowadays, almost all websites facilitate links to increase their search rankings and grow themselves.
However, not all have harmless agendas in mind. For example, some websites contain malicious links which when clicked, redirects you to a malicious unsecure website that can either inject a virus in your system or make you fill forms to steal your data.
So, avoid clicking on unsolicited links.
2: Avoid Auto-Sign in Options
Auto-sign in options can have catastrophic repercussions as by choosing that option, you are giving a clear path to hackers for stealing your data.
Hackers can break into your auto-sign in session and create a clone of your bank details by accessing your accounts.
They can shop under your name and pay through your debit card.
Thus, take the pain of entering your credentials each time with a thought in mind that you are keeping your data safe and secure with you.
3: Do not Fall into False Traps.
There are traps all around. The point is that some are harmless that ask you to share your email in exchange for an eBook, and others would ask you to share your information for no reason.
It would help if you were on your toes while visiting a new website. If they ask you to enter your details for no reason and do not allow you to enter their domain without it, chances are they are not worth your time.
Such websites want to trap you into clicking on some random links or ask you to share your phone number, email address, and residential address for no good reason.
Beware of such fraud websites.
How to Find Whether a Website is Safe or Not?
1: A Secure Website has HTTPS Encryption.
An HTTPS or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure encryption is a must to keep your data communication secure.
But HTTPS cannot protect your website alone, which is why people buy SSL certificates to make it work.
An SSL or Secure Socket Layer Certificate is a security protocol that helps keep the data secure by encrypted data transfer through Public Key Infrastructure.
Data, when transferred between two entities, travel through various computers. Without HTTPS, it will pass as plain text, which can be easily intercepted by cybercriminals.
But, with an SSL by your side, the data transfer passes in an encrypted form.
SSL has two types, namely, a wildcard SSL certificate or a regular single-domain SSL certificate.
A regular SSL certificate is optimum for small businesses that do not have subdomains alongside their primary domain. However, a regular SSL can only protect a single domain at a given time.
On the other hand, a wildcard SSL protects both primary and its subdomains to the first level effectively.
Thus, a safe website always has HTTPS encryption and an SSL installed.
3: Fetch the Owner’s Information
If you visit an eCommerce website, fetching the owner’s contact information should be the first thing to do.
A genuine website would never run away from solving its customers’ queries and issues, so they would mention the correct information related to their phone numbers, email addresses, and location.
An authentic website’s address can always be navigated on Google maps and, its email address starts with firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, the next time you visit an eCommerce site, do ensure the things mentioned above.
4: Trust Seals
Trust seals testify that the website is in security partnership with an authentic security agent.
However, there are plenty of fake seals available in the market too, which is why you need to authenticate it rather than trusting it at first sight.
To authenticate a trust seal, click on it. If it takes you to another page where you can see analytics related to the last malware scan, website’s general information, and seal expiry, then the seal is authentic.
But, if you cannot click on it, it is a fake seal used to fool visitors.
5: Identify the Illegitimate Website.
Legit websites never send weird pop-ups upon your visit. Even if the pop-ups appear, they will be in contention with the information you want to derive.
But illegitimate websites show pop-ups that are both weird and unbelievable. For example, they take you to la-la land by asking you to answer a question as simple as “Who was the first man in space?” and promise you to pay $100,000 for it.
Such pop-ups are enough to speak for a website’s credibility.
6: Check the URL
Hackers would create similar websites with the same UX/UI and content but, no two websites can have the same URL, which is why you can always double-check for a web site’s URL to find out whether the website is legit or not.
To visit Facebook, you might not even notice that you have been redirected to Focebook.com, which is a malicious website created to steal your Facebook username and password.
Once you enter your Facebook credentials on, let’s say, Focebook.com, hackers can steal your information and log in to your account.
They can even sell your data on the dark web. So, beware of the URL you visit.
7: Monitor Their Social Media Channels.
A business website cannot sustain itself independently; authentic firms always compliment it with social media handles.
Upon visiting a website, if you are not sure whether a website is safe or not, you can see if they have any social media presence.
If there are any social links given, you can click on them to figure out whether they lead you to their social media page or not.
But, if there aren’t any social links given then, the chances are they are fake.
Safety on the internet lies in the hands of the users themselves. Unfortunately, no search engine or authority can be held responsible for your actions.
However, hackers are getting smarter by the day, and they are figuring out ways to manipulate your mind and trick you into clicking unsolicited links by making them look professional and genuine.
But smart users do not fall for them because they keep themselves updated with the latest security threats that their systems can face.
Moreover, they follow the seven tips given above and verify a website’s credibility within minutes.
So, be a smart user and follow these tips to repel cyberattacks and keep hackers at bay.