Don’t you miss the times when phishing only referred to an outdoor leisurely activity?
The world we currently live in thrives when it comes to online platforms – especially after the implementation of Lockdowns all over the world due to Covid-19. Many companies were forced to choose between taking their business online or suffering massive losses. Additionally, it became extremely convenient to complete every day activities and necessities online – paying bills, buying groceries, purchasing electricity, the list goes on.
Unfortunately, as always, you get people that try to exploit this convenience, manipulating it to benefit themselves instead. Every day, newer, more sophisticated types and methods of fraud surface, creating the opportunity for website visitors to be scammed out of their funds. An unsafe website can steal your information, send spam, spread malware and much, much more. The problem is…. How do you know whether a website is unsafe?
Technological advancements have also made it easier to camouflage a website, make it appear reliable and legitimate – some actually go as far to copycat entire websites, hoping that unsuspecting victims will fall into the trap of logging in to the wrong website with their personal information. By the time you realize that you made a mistake, it is unfortunate already too late and the chances that you have been scammed are high. Luckily, if you know what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to spot the little telltale signs that a website isn’t exactly what it claims to be and that maybe something is just a tad suspicious.
Below, we share some common signs of a secure website and what you can look at in order to ensure that they are legitimate:
Spot the “S” in HTTPS – aka SSL Certification
When a website starts with HTTPS, it indicates that the website encrypts data requests and responses, making it a lot more difficult for your information to be stolen when it gets sent to a web server. The security is provided by an SSL Certificate. Without an SSL Certificate, your personal information and sensitive data can be stolen or hijacked before it even reaches the server. Additionally, a green padlock is shown before the URL of all protected websites, signifying a secure site. Irrespective of whether you’re simply logging into a website, making a payment, or just entering your email address, make sure that the URL of the website that you’re on starts with “https.”
Double check your URL
Always remember to double check the domain name of a site in order to ensure that you are, in fact, entering the correct site and not a copycat scam site. Some illegitimate websites are so closely copied off the real version, it is next to impossible to distinguish between the fake and the real one. Scammers simply acquire a domain that looks almost identical to the real domain, copy the content over identically and hope that unsuspecting visitors fall into their trap, relinquishing their personal details. This type of attack is called phishing.
Look for Trust Seals
Trust seals is an additional method of verifying a website’s security status. They are issued by various security standard compliance groups only after a company has put proper security procedures and tools in place to secure their site. Just keep in mind, the display of a seal isn’t enough to verify the security of a site and it is important to verify its legitimacy. You can actually click on rightful trust seals and you’ll be taken to a verification page/certificate from the provider.
Valid Contact Information
Any genuine business will have valid contact information – ither at the bottom of the page or even a completely separate page dedicated to various contact details – including numbers, email addresses, social media links and physical addresses. Some websites even have the convenience of Live Chat – being able to talk to an actual person and be assisted in real-time. If a website fails to list contact information, or provide suspicious information that might not seem legit, rather stay away.