How to Find a Safe Site
If you’re shopping or banking online, look for sites that have a URL starting with “https,” which indicates they use SSL to protect your information. This is especially important when entering passwords or personal information on a website.
1. Look for a Trust Seal
Seeing a trust seal on a site is an instant indicator that the website is secure. Having one of these on your site can increase customer confidence and make them more likely to provide personal information to the website.
A trust seal, or verification badge, is a small graphic on a web page that shows you have partnered with a trusted security company and that their software has scanned your site for malware. These are typically placed on pages where customers are asked to enter their credit card information or on the home page to build overall brand trust.
Consumers may not be very savvy with the technology behind these seals, but they do increase consumers’ “perceived security” when visiting a site, according to a study conducted by Baymard Institute. The most trusted trust seals are those from Norton, McAfee, Thawte and GeoTrust. Those seals that are more well-known among consumers (such as Google Trusted Store and PayPal) have been shown to increase conversions the most.
2. Check the URL
The internet used to be a playground, but with so many scams around, users are stepping carefully and treading lightly. It’s hard to enjoy the digital world when you have to constantly ask “is this link safe?” and “does that site look legitimate?”
The easiest thing to check on a website is its URL. If it has HTTP at the beginning instead of HTTPS, that is a big red flag. The “S” means secure and it is a must for sites that deal with money, passwords, and other personal information.
3. Check the Design
From spelling and grammatical errors to stretched out logos, unsafe websites often look poorly designed. Legitimate businesses take pride in their sites, which is why it can be a red flag when a site looks like it was cobbled together in a hurry. Additionally, if the web address looks altered or off, this is another sign that the website is not safe. It may even be a scam or malware. Always check for a privacy statement to see how the company protects your information. This is especially important if you are using public Wi-Fi to browse the web. Buying from an unsafe site could put your data at risk.
4. Check the Contact Information
It’s also important to have comprehensive online protection software that can scan and spot malicious sites, as well as offer malware detection and prevent phishing attempts. This gives you a level of confidence that you’re safe no matter what website you visit.
Finally, it’s always good to make sure the site you’re visiting has a contact page or a way to reach someone by email. If they don’t provide any information or only have a contact form, that could be a red flag.
While these steps might seem like a lot to do each time you visit a site, it’s worth it to make sure that the site you’re visiting is actually safe and that it is who you think it is. This will not only protect you from hackers but it’ll help you have peace of mind when shopping or entering sensitive information online. Plus, it’ll teach you how to spot a fake site so you can report it for what it is.