Whether you’re a gamer, tech enthusiast, or sports lover, you likely browse a bunch of websites every day without checking whether or not they are safe. To make matters worse, scammers worldwide have gotten extremely good at making their websites look legitimate and safe, so now it’s more complicated than ever to tell a secure website apart from the illegitimate one.
If you put your information on one of these websites by accident, you could open yourself up to many cyber risks. We’ve combined some of the best tips you can use to check whether or not the website is secure so you can stay safe online.
Check the Website Address
One of the easiest ways to tell whether or not you’re on a fake website is to look at the URL at the top of your window. Scammers often use famous brand names or websites but alter a couple of letters to mislead the users. Additionally, look at the beginning of the URL, and if it says “HTTP” instead of “HTTPS,” it’s better to stay away from it. HTTPS is a security guarantee provided by an SSL certificate. Unless a website has one, they’re likely unsafe.
Look for a Lock Icon Next to the Web Address
You often see the lock icon on a safe website in the URL field. Most major browsers use this icon to let the users know they are on a secure website. However, if you end up on one of the suspicious websites and it does not have a lock icon, it should be your sign that this is probably not a secure website.
Check the Reviews for the Company
Another way to protect yourself from these scam websites is to check the internet for reviews. You can look up the reviews of the company that the website supposedly belongs to or look up the reviews from the website itself.
You can also search the company’s social media to see if they’re legit. When a company has a solid, professional-looking media presence with relatively high levels of customer engagement, it’s usually safe to use its website.
Use a VPN When Going Online
While you won’t always be able to tell whether a website is safe from the start, if you use the right tools, you will be able to protect yourself against the consequences of going on one of these websites. One of the best tools you can use to stay safe online is a VPN.
Having a VPN on a router will secure your devices and sensitive data against scammers.
Virtual private networks conceal your IP address, rerouting your connection through a secure tunnel. As a result, no one can tie your online activity back to you when you connect to a VPN server. It’s a simple yet effective way to ensure online privacy and security.
Analyze the Website Design
Last but not least, make sure to pay attention to the website design. More often than not, scammers won’t put too much effort into their scam websites and end up looking unprofessional, undone, and overall suspicious. If you’re online frequently, you can quickly tell a scam website apart from a legitimate one if you pay extra attention to the website design. Look for spelling errors, other grammar mistakes, and mismatched branding.
If you end up on a website with any or all of these signs, stay away from it, and most importantly, don’t put any of your personal information on there.