The Dangers of Online
It is a known fact that about one in ten adults in the United States will fall victim to fraud or online scams every year. Usually, fraud is likely to happen online due to the increase in internet pages and recent technological advances.
This means that taking caution when using the internet has never been more critical to protecting your privacy. It is essential that you know what to look out for so you can use the internet with ease, find a trusted online bingo site, and safely use online shopping and streaming services.
Listed below are some of the recommended steps you should take in order to identify if a website is safe.
What You Need to Know
1- Study the URL and Address Bar
When you are using the internet, make sure to look at the address bar (otherwise known as a URL). Here, you should check to see if there is an ‘s’ included, making it look like the following: https:// Although this does not mean the site is a ‘scam site,’ it means that the owner of the site is using secured encryption processes to transfer data which protects it from hackers.
2- Check the Contact Page of the Site
Although this might seem like a minor move, it is still helpful. Reviewing a site’s contact page makes it more valid that it is a legitimate company site. You should expect to see multiple contact options (email, live chats, phone, and office address). If you don’t see these things, question their legitimacy.
3- Check the Company’s Social Media Presence
In this modern technology age, most companies should be on social media and have decent activity. If you see social media icons on the website, such as leads to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. – make sure to click the link to see if it actually works. It is also a good idea to check out the company’s LinkedIn page to see if actual employees work there.
4- Validate the Domain Name
Usually when someone is trying to scam, a hacker creates similar looking domain logos or names that will ultimately trick the user into thinking it’s the real deal; for example, replacing a letter with a number whereby ‘Amazon’ turns into ‘Amaz0n’. These subtle changes in small print can sometimes be difficult to notice at first glance, so always make sure to look closely if you get an email or enter a site that seems a bit off to you.
5- Look up the Domain Age
Although most people don’t think to do this, it is quite easy to search for the age of a domain. Doing this instills confidence that the business has been established for a certain amount of time. Usually, scammer sites won’t have been around for long, constantly renewing themselves, so the internet footprint is hard to track, and they aren’t shut down.
Whois (DomainTools) is an excellent tool to get information on who a domain is registered under, how long activity has occurred, and where in the world it’s situated.
6- Look for Grammatical and Spelling Errors
If a company site is legitimate, it will have been proofread professionally before launching to make sure there are no errors in its copywriting or production. Usually if you spot lots of punctuation, grammar and spelling mistakes, it means that a website was launched quickly without much thought behind it. However, even on a real site, errors can happen, but if they are in excess, it usually indicates it’s a scam.
Due to data privacy laws and regulations, most websites are required to provide visitors with procedures and policies on how their data is being used, safeguarded, stored, and collected. Most sites will offer a page or a link to a ‘cookie’ or document where the information is found. Read all this information carefully, and be cautious if a site doesn’t have one.
8- Run a Scan for Viruses
It is not uncommon for ads or pop-ups to appear on some websites. However, suppose there is an excessive amount that affects how you review a site or constantly redirects you to click external links. In that case, this is a significant indication that the site is not secure. You can find an array of free online resources to use to scan for malware, viruses, etc.
9- Utilize Google Safe Browser Reports
Google has a feature known as the Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report, which allows users to paste URLs in and, in return, receive a report on whether this website is trusted.
10- Too Good to be True?
We are all human; we all love a good bargain. It is easy to think sometimes that some deals are just too good to be true. If some sites are offering deals that seem too unrealistic, maybe think again before adding payment details. As hard as it might be, it is safer to walk away.