Legit Vs Fake Website: Spot the difference between a fake and a real website with 10 tried and tested methods
We often come across several websites while walking around the internet that we think about, is it safe to open them? Unfortunately, the internet is full of scam and scam websites ready to steal user information. By luring the audience with eye-catching and attractive posts, these websites either drop virus into users’ systems or trick them into stealing vital user data like passwords, bank account numbers etc. Therefore, the question arises how to check if a website is legit?
This is an important question that everyone must ask themselves and find the answer to ensure the security of their data. Therefore, in this blog, we will learn about some of the tested methods to identify fake websites? Plus, we’ll explore some valuable tips and practices to follow for a safe Internet experience. So let’s move on and study it.
How do you know if a website is legit?
There are many ways to tell if a website is genuine or fake. Some of the ways are shared below:
1. Start by checking the website URL
One of the basic things to keep the website safe is to check its URL. Fraudulent websites often use an attack known as Phishing, where they create a domain name similar to that of a prominent website.
Moreover, the homepage of this website is designed similar to that of the real website. When a user enters their credentials, the credentials are stored on the fake website’s server, redirecting the user to the real website. For example, a fraudulent website may be present as Faecbook.com, mimicking Facebook.com and trying to steal your information. Therefore, always check the URL and its name when visiting any website to protect yourself from a phishing attack.
2. Check the SSL/TLS certificate of the website
You may have often heard that website URLs starting with HTTPS are safe and secure to use. While not completely wrong, HTTPS websites can still successfully steal or misuse your data. The HTTPS domain is provided to websites that have an SSL/TLS certificate.
SSL certificate is delivered to websites containing crucial user information such as shopping portals, banking sectors, etc. There are different levels of SSL validation such as organization, scope or domain validated with their own purpose. But many scam websites manage to get an HTTPS domain name despite their bad intention. So how do you know if a website is a scam with HTTPS in its domain? The only way to verify the website’s SSL/TLS certificate is to check its validation in your browser. Along the URL bar you will find a padlock which when clicked will tell you if the certificate is ‘Valid’ or not.
3. Authenticate the website trust seal
One of the easiest ways to tell if a website is legit or not is to check the website’s trust seal. Authentic websites usually have a stamp granted by a security partner that indicates the legitimacy of the website.
Trust Seal can be found as an icon on the homepage of the website. When you click on the icon, it redirects you to the page that authenticates the authenticity of this seal.
4. Contact the website to make sure it is safe to use
If you want to visit a website that you find suspicious, you can verify its authenticity by contacting the website. Find the physical address of the website or try to find its official contact number or email address.
Check if the number actually works and if the company seems genuine. On most scam sites, the numbers and addresses mentioned are fake, and you will easily identify whether you are on the right track or not.
5. Leverage social media to uncover the truth of the website
How to check if a website is legit? Just search for his social media pages. Most legitimate businesses have some sort of social media presence. Today, social media is the best way to market a company’s products and services. Therefore, if a website does not have a social media presence, the chances of it being fake are high and you should stay away from it.
6. Let Google decide if the website is safe or not
Google has a great way to tell safe websites from less safe websites. It offers a tool known as ‘Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report‘, which allows you to copy-paste a URL into a text field.
Google verifies the link and provides a report if it is safe to use the website. This is undoubtedly the best way to discover fraudulent websites.
This helps determine how they collect, use and store user data. By reading the policy document on the website, you can determine whether it is safe to use the website or not?
8. Judge the website by its age
Although it is a long plan, sometimes checking the age of the website can save you from data breaches. Scammers often create similar-looking websites during the holiday season to mislead buyers and steal their information.
By checking the age of the domain, you can tell how long the organization has been in business and if it is genuine. You can use several Google tools to find the age of the domain.
9. Run a virus scan
Want to check the legitimacy of a website? The easiest way is to find the right tools that can judge the authenticity of a website. Many free tools are available on the Internet to scan for viruses, phishing, and malware.
You can take advantage of these tools to run a free virus scan and find out if the website is genuine or not. Some of the tools are:
10. Pay Attention to Website Redirection
Being attentive and aware of where you click and are redirected can help you identify fake websites. Suspicious pop-ups and inescapable advertisements usually give an indication of malicious websites.
Therefore, whenever you visit a website with huge promotional content, avoid entering valuable information. Also, never trust websites that redirect you to another website or page that may look suspicious.
Best Practices for a Secure Internet Experience
Now that you know how to check whether a website is legitimate or not, you should also learn some tips to avoid accessing harmful websites. Some of the best practices are listed below:
1. Never click on suspicious links in an email
Most spam and malicious websites are in your emails. Although every mail has security measures to filter those mails, chances of their existence are still there. So never open a link in your mail that you didn’t ask for and try to avoid them.
2. Find out who owns the website
Fake websites will probably not have any relevant information about them on the internet. So just google them to find out if the website has any reviews about them. Otherwise, better not to visit this website.
3. Be smart enough to prevent your data from being stolen
There are many tools available on the internet that lock down your crucial documents such as passwords, bank account numbers, identity, etc. To protect your data from malicious attacks, it is best to use these tools at all times. Here are a few :
What to do when you spot a fake website?
Whenever you identify a malicious or harmful website, you can report it in your browser so that it can check and eliminate its existence. You can go to your browser’s settings page and find the “Report malicious site” option. It will blacklist the website from your browser and send it further for authentication.
We hope the information we have provided has helped you get the answer to the question of how to check if a website is legit. So, the next time you explore the Internet and find a suspicious website, do not hesitate to implement the security measures and check its authenticity. This will help you avoid stealing your data and provide a secure internet experience.
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*** This is a syndicated blog from the Security Bloggers Network of Blog CheapSSLWeb.com written by CheapSSLWeb.com Blog. Read the original post at: https://cheapsslweb.com/blog/how-to-check-if-website-is-legit-or-scam