Worried about a dodgy website Feel a site is somewhat suspicious? Here are five quick and easy ways to determine whether a website is legitimate or not.
If you are unsure whether a website is legitimate, there are some quick and easy ways to determine its legitimacy.
Look closely at the content
Fake and phishing websites can often be tricky to recognise and are sometimes almost indistinguishable copies of their official counterparts. However, if you look closely, there are usually small signs that not all is as it should be.
When you read through the site’s written content, look out for these signs that the site is not real:
- Major errors in grammar
- Broken English
- Simple spelling mistakes
- If the content on the site does not make any sense
Most, if not all, businesses will also include images of their products, so check if any pictures belong with the rest of the site and have not just been included at random to fill space.
Find out who the owner of the web domain is
Poorly written or out of date websites do not always indicate a possible scam.
If you wish to check under the hood and lift the lid on a website, checking out who has the URL or web domain registered is the first step. All domains are required to register their unique web address or URL and provide particular details.
Looking this up is free of charge, and knowing the name of the individual or the company that is responsible for the domain will help you in determining if a site is a real business or someone chancing their arm.
You can check the information by entering the domain name online on websites such as:
Check the https details
Whenever you do online shopping or share your personal data, you have to make sure that you are making use of an https or a secure server internet connection.
This will ensure that other web users will not be able to spy on your personal information. It is also a must for any website where you enter your credit card or banking information, or which requires you to log into one of your accounts – when you visit a website that requires you to do this without taking you to a https connection leave immediately.
When you go to a secure connection online, more information regarding the website available through your browser includes:
1. The business name should now be shown next to the URL with a padlock symbol to indicate that you are logged on to a connection that is secure.
2. You should be able to click on the company name in order to bring up more information about the company who owns the website. The information should match the domain registration details.
3. Your browser should alert you if the website does not have a security certificate that is up-to-date.
Company websites that are legitimate almost always include contact details including a publicly listed telephone number.
A good sign is if the number goes through to a business telephone line. On the other hand, it is more suspicious when you are directed to a mobile number or if there was no one to answer the call during office hours.
You can bring this a step further by checking out the telephone number’s history and who uses it online using websites like Who Calls Me.
Dig for dirt
It was made easier by the internet to complain regarding poor customer service or warn other people regarding a scam. People who have experience problem in the past will often show in the past will usually show in the search results.
Entering the name of the company or the website into a search engine such as Google will usually bring back a host of details about the site.
There are also a lot of popular review websites that share experiences of users both regarding the quality of the customer service and products down to alerting others regarding businesses that are trying to pull the wool over your eyes. These include:
- Play it safe
If you are still not sure about whether a site is legitimate, it is best to be very cautious.
If you are attempting to visit a specific website enter the URL into your web browser directly instead of following any links. If you are still not 100 percent confident, do not disclose any of your personal information or financial details.