How to Identify a Safe Website

The internet has infiltrated so many parts of our daily lives and ultimately changed how we do things; the way we work, create, communicate, shop, bank, consume entertainment, travel and more. In many of these cases, users are required to share personal information, for example, their credit card details, to enjoy the services or benefits offered online. As such, consumers need to know how to identify a safe and secure website.

While it is every website owner’s responsibility to ensure the safety of its visitors, the bad news is that rogue or unsafe websites do exist and consumers need to arm themselves with the right information to make informed decisions when online. While online anti-spam and antivirus protection tools can be used to prevent spam and malware, there are some simple ways to check the safety of a website.

Check the SSL certificate

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First things first. When visiting a site that requires you to share personal or banking information, check its URL as the safest sites begin with ‘HTTPS’ instead of ‘HTTP’. The former indicates that a site is encrypted with SSL technology, protecting sensitive information entered into the site as it travels to a server. This technology encodes information like passwords and banking details. This prevents the data from being intercepted and read as it is virtually impossible to decode. These days, ‘HTTPS’ is widely used across the internet and is a good sign that the website is legitimate and takes security seriously.

Read the privacy policy

Websites need to be transparent in how they do business. A privacy policy states how a website shares, collects and stores data being shared. All legitimate websites are required to share this information under strict data privacy laws. A privacy policy indicates the website is complying with these laws and protecting its users. When landing on any new website, first find and read the privacy policy before giving away your personal information.

Check for contact details

Again, transparency is vital for all legitimate websites. Their contact information should be readily displayed on the site, including the physical address, phone numbers, live chat services and email addresses. While this doesn’t offer protection in itself, it does indicate that genuine people run the website and that there is someone available to contact should you need assistance or have any questions or concerns.

Research reviews

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With so many quality review sites available, a simple Google search can bring up all the information you need about a particular website with minimal effort on your part. Put on your trusted research cap and do some digging, as there should be plenty of information available online in the form of review sites. In fact, a lack of reviews could signify the site is not recognised in the industry and should be given a wide berth.

Review sites are typically third-party sites that offer their genuine, accurate and unbiased opinions about businesses, people, products, brands and websites across various industries. Consumer reviews include insightful information from users with personal experience. These are especially prevalent in areas such as tech and entertainment options, with examples of this including in-depth guides to the newest hardware and comprehensive online casino reviews with the latest information, as consumers increasingly check online to see the quality of the products or services featured on a particular website. Key areas for these reviews include customer complaints, security and safety, as well as any warnings about scams or unreliable service.

Quality review sites provide users with trustworthy and detailed information about a business, product, or service, as well as unfiltered opinions on what to expect from buying a product, using a service, or signing up to a website. They also often rate the services to help users make the most informed decision.

Read the website content

While fake or unsafe websites can be hard to spot, eagle-eyed users can always be one step ahead by checking the website’s content. Legitimate sites will do their best to ensure the website contains quality content that is informative, accurate and helpful. Users should read through the content to make sure it meets these criteria, is well-written, and lacks spelling and grammar mistakes. If you find a considerable number of errors, take it as a sign that the site is untrustworthy and unsafe.

When it comes to your online safety, it is always better to err on the side of caution. If you have suspicions about a website you’re on, do these checks and if you’re still not convinced, exit the site and move on. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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