Being Safe Online

Think you can ‘s’pot a fake website? One of the first clues that indicates whether a website is legitimate lies in the website domain address. Every address should be prefaced by http:// or https://. The ‘S’ in https stands for ‘secure’ and reveals that the website uses encryption to transfer data. While not all http:// websites are scam sites, to veer on the safe side it’s best to never input your personal data into anything but a certified encrypted site.

Choose your browser carefully
Depending on which internet browser you choose; you may get an indication of whether the website you are visiting is safe to visit. For example, Google Chrome does not let you access an unsecured website unless you use their ‘Advanced’ feature to proceed regardless of the risk.

Clock the padlock
Most browsers display a padlock icon to the right of the top website address bar, some of these will display as red or green depending on the safety status of the site, while others allow you to hover over the icon for more information.

Certified secure
Many websites display a ‘certified’ logo which often resembles a green shield or tick. These indicate that the website has been defined as secure by high profile security certifications such as DigiCert and Symantec. To check whether the logo is legitimate, click on it; it should take you to further details about the website’s security. If this is an image file – it’s probably fake.

Weed out the mimics
Many fraudulent websites attempt to emulate legitimate sellers such as Amazon by making their website address very similar with the hope that this goes unnoticed. To ensure you don’t get caught out by this, check the domain name of the website carefully for anything out of place.

Here today, gone tomorrow
Often when it comes to dodgy sellers, they can create new websites as quickly as they get taken down. While that’s not to say that all fledgling sites are fake, the age of a website should play a part in your buying decision-making process.

Evaluate their grammar
While the occasional typo here or there can
be excused, if a website is littered with spelling mistakes, bad grammar and unusual phrasing – avoid!

Too good to be true
If the product that the website is selling is rare, but they inexplicably have plenty in stock, or if they’re selling high-priced items with unbelievably large discounts – you should be cautious. Usually, if a deal seems too good to be true – it probably is.

Use secure payment methods
No matter how legitimate a website appears, if they ask you to make a payment in a way that is unsecured or non-refundable, you should avoid purchasing a product through them; if a website requires you to use a wire transfer or money order, walk away.

Source: Weir Insurance Brokers

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