Can all Website Be Trusted?
The internet has millions of websites, and more are created every day. Trusting the wrong website can result in losing thousands of dollars or having your private information compromised.
In this modern day and age, you cannot be too cautious about the sites your browse and your activity on the Internet. Things are moving fast and you need to pay attention to what you do to avoid potential issues. A truly secure website protects your personal, financial and other confidential information from being accessed by third parties. It encrypts all the communication between you and them, to protect it from being intercepted by preying eyes. A secure website is also free from viruses and malware.
Before you trust a website with your personal information like passwords or credit card number, look out for the following factors that may improve the level of trust a site deserves.
Check the URL
Before you click on a link, it is important that you check the URL. The URL tells you where you are going and how secure you will be. Most people pay little attention to the URL and scammers know this and profit from it. They often create websites that are almost indistinguishable from legit sites, by just changing or adding one letter in the domain name, such as amazon dot com. An insecure website will have a misspelled URL so get into the habit of double-checking URLs. It only takes a few seconds but it is worth it.
Look for HTTPS
A clear indicator of an untrustworthy website is the lack of HTTPS at the start of the URL. The internet was founded on the so-called hypertext transfer protocol http, which is very insecure as it was designed a long time ago. A website with http in the URL is not secure, and any communication between you and them can be intercepted, stolen or manipulated by anyone spying on the network. https is a secure modern version of http, with the S standing for secure.
A website using HTTPS will have a padlock icon on your browser’s navigation or a green address bar. You can click on that padlock to verify that the website is truly secure. You will also find the website’s security certificate information and other security details to show you can trust the website.
A secure website should have a badge verification. It is usually located at the bottom of the website. Clicking on the badge will initiate a pop up displaying the website’s correct certificate and verification details including the website’s name, address and contact details. This information should match up with the website. If it doesn’t, then the website is fraudulent and insecure.
To tell if the website you are on can be trusted or not, look at the ‘Contact Us’ section. A legitimate website will have up-to-date contact information. How much information is there? Does it have an address? Is there a phone number? What about an email address? The phone number should connect to an actual person. Most legitimate websites also have social media icons linking to real social media accounts. So click on these social accounts such as Facebook or Instagram and see how real and active these are. The more information, the more trustworthy the site is.
Often the difference between a real site and a scam is that the scammer cannot make all details as real as a legit site. They do not expect you to click on auxiliary pages like the about page, and most people do not visit these pages, unless they are curious. So be curious too and look for anomalies to see if a site can be trusted or not.
Trust Your Browser
Most popular browsers have security features that protect you from dangerous or untrustworthy sites. Have you ever clicked on a link and your web browser warn you that you are about to open a dangerous site? Well, that is your browser protecting you.
These built-in features can also protect you from all sorts of other online dangers from malicious downloads to unsafe flash content. They also send do-not-track requests to websites and control which sites can access your microphone or webcam.
Remember that protecting your information is not just the website’s responsibility, but yours as well. Before you share private information, make sure you have done your due diligence to determine the trustworthiness of the website you are visiting.