Every site owner is responsible for protecting their website visitors by having security features. However, many fake websites are still out there, so you must double-check whether they have a trust seal or badge before making any transactions.
An unsafe website can spread malware, cause identity theft, phishing attacks, send spam, and trick users towards malicious redirects. So, to protect yourself from online fraud, scam websites and phishing sites, it’s essential to know if a website is taking your safety seriously.
To help differentiate reputable websites from scam websites, here are the top 10 signs of a trusted website that you can use as a reference to double-check if the website is legit:
1. Presence of the Padlock Icon
If you see a small padlock icon on the left of the URL, the site you’re visiting is secured with an SSL certificate or Secure Sockets Layer certificate. This digital certificate certifies each website’s identity and enables encrypted connection, ensuring safe browsing.
This means that any information transmitted between your browser and the website you’re browsing is sent securely and can’t be thwarted and read by others while the data is in transit.
2. Right URL Spelling
When browsing any sites, it’s best to double-check the website to avoid a phishing attack or fall victim to any online fraud. Sometimes, a scam site can look legit in its appearance and design.
Thus, you have to stay sharp to distinguish the real from the fake. Make sure to take a close look at the URL.
Some sneaky tactics of fake sites include disguising the target site’s exact domain with a longer address to trick website visitors into inputting their credit card details and other sensitive information. You can use search engines with safe browsing transparency reports like Google to check if the site is legit, especially if you shop online or make bank transactions.
Make sure to look at the company reviews to help you tell if a website is safe and is in a secure version. You can know this if you see the HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure)—instead of just HTTP.
3. Google the URL to See If It’s a Trusted Website
If you already give your best but can’t tell whether it’s a legitimate site or not, put your mind at ease and copy the URL on the address bar and Google it! Google provides Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report that gives users warning signs if the site they’ve searched can’t be trusted and will only take a few seconds.
Websites without privacy policies are one of the obvious signs that a website cant be trusted. This gives a feeling that the website you’re exploring doesn’t want you to know how they’ll use your data or don’t care enough to help you feel secure.
So, you have to exercise caution and check their data privacy laws. This way, cyber criminals won’t have higher chances of scamming you and falling victim to malicious websites.
5.No Over-Intrusive Advertising
You’ll know that you’re on a trusted website if there’s no over-intrusive advertising. Being on a site with many adverts reflects that they care more about making quick cash from them than genuinely helping them.
Although there’s nothing wrong with having adverts on your site to have some extra revenue, allowing too much of it will discourage site visitors from navigating on your website. This will also make your image terrible, as too many adverts can make the navigation hard around your website.
6. HTTPS, Rather than Only HTTP
Another sign of a trusted website is that its website URL starts with HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) rather than just HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol). This signifies the website encrypts responses and data requests.
In other words, this makes it more difficult for a malicious third party to loot your information, which is particularly crucial if you plan to buy something on a website. So, if it’s an HTTP site, never enter your credit card details or payment for your own safety.
7. Positive Testimonials and Reviews
Another way to know if you’re on a trusted website is when you can access and read its full testimonials and reviews, which are positive. If you haven’t used or bought from a website’s product or service, read their customer’s testimonials or company reviews to ensure they’re from a legitimate company.
You can also look for their social media presence as most businesses now have Facebook pages and other social profiles. This way, you won’t fall into a dodgy platform and get victimised by cyber criminals, resulting in malicious redirects.
8. Existence of Trust Seals
The existence of trust seals in a website is one way to deem it trusted. You can see this when a website works well with various software or payment providers, such as PayPal, major credit card companies, Google Play Store, etc.
You can typically see the seals of these software and payment providers on the footer of a website.
9. Decent Grammar
Decent grammar and spelling is another way to tell that a website is trusted. A legitimate business spends time and money on its website to ensure its content reads well without spelling and common grammar mistakes.
10. Verifiable Company Name and Information
A legitimate company allows its customers to get in touch and know their physical location without any problem. Furthermore, most trusted sites linked their physical location address via Google Maps at the footer of their sites as shown below.
Taking It All Into Account
Above are some of the telltale signs and measures that you can use as a reference to avoid phishing scams and other online fraud. So, make sure to stay sharp and look out for suspicious pop-ups and dangerous websites to prevent yourself from getting scammed.