How To Tell If A Website Is Safe

There are several advantages of shopping online, especially for the time-poor, but navigating the internet and making sure that you have landed on a safe site can be perilous. For those with the knowledge, making a website that looks like the real thing but that will scam you out of your money is pretty easy to do.

So how can you tell if you are on a genuine website or have inadvertently gone onto a more sinister site?

5 clues the website you are trying to view isn’t safe.

Pop Goes The Weasel: Since the introduction of GDPR, websites must make it clear that they use cookies so you should be getting at least one notification; (unless you regularly use the site and have accepted and closed the cookie pop up) but websites that have multiple, infuriating pop ups trying to take you off to places you didn’t intend to go sound alarm bells.

No About Turn: If there are no obvious links to a returns policy, a privacy policy, contact page or an About Us page, consider trying to source the products from another website. We may like the products being offered but be careful you check all the small print before you pay out.

Under Lock and Key: Look at the address bar of the website – can you see a padlock icon on the far-left hand side?

If you don’t see this, or you see the icon but is has a red line through it, the site is not deemed to be secure.

You should also be looking out for https as in the illustration with our web address – if it is missing the “s” again it is not deemed to be secure (the S stands for Secure).

It Woz Writted Like That: Check the website’s spelling and grammar. Poor language on a website is a fair indication that the site is not to be trusted. Most legitimate websites will have the owners or the web developers hot on the language, design and overall content so beware the ones who you feel should go back to school.

Go Google It: Type the name of the website or company into Google and view the results. You should be able to glean enough information without needing to click on any of the links, and if you have good quality security installed, you will see warning signs not to click on a dodgy site. In the example below, we did a search for our company name, and the antivirus we have installed has provided us with a green tick assuring us the site is secure:

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the checks that you could make to ascertain if a website is genuine and secure, but it should give you a few basic check points before splurging out online.

It’s getting easier to be duped as the criminals become more sophisticated, so we should all remain aware of where we are sharing our financial details on websites.

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