It is the age of the internet. A time where almost everything has been digitized. The internet has indeed made things look easy. Imagine buying an item at the comfort of your home and having the item delivered to you within the shortest time possible.
The internet is majorly a composition of websites. For you to make an online purchase, read a blog, or make an online payment, you will visit a particular website. Several sites on the internet have facilitated online dealings. According to the statistics provided by the Internet World Stats, there exist over 1.7 billion websites on the internet today. It is a considerable number, especially in an internet world where there are numerous scammers. The vast websites’ numbers have made it particularly hard to differentiate between legitimate websites and fake websites.
Several fake websites generate significant revenue to hackers through deceitful activities at the expense of the innocent and unsuspecting internet users. A study report conducted by the Research Gate indicates that fake websites make up almost 20% of the internet.
Many users have fallen victims of fake websites and experienced devastating repercussions. They have mainly driven by ignorance. Lack of knowledge of how to identify legitimate sites from the fake ones has been a key contributor to the many cases of lost user data due to fake websites. This article has explained some of the ways to verify if a website is legitimate. It will help a user know how to differentiate between a legal site and a fake website.
Table of Contents
Check the name of the domain
The name of the domain of a website speaks volumes about that particular Website. Strange symbols will characterize a fake website in its areas and many suspicious attempts to mimic reputable brands’ domains. Usually, counterfeit websites will have very tiny and hard to notice differences from the main sites. Try as much as workable to identify the gaps that exist in the domain extensions. If you realize any maliciousness in the domain name, then you better leave the Website. possible Boost Sites Domain Authority
Check whether the Website has Installed an SSL Certificate.
On the internet, your knowledge is a valuable asset. Fake websites can jeopardize your vital information by stealing it or by altering the content of the information. Legitimate sites are keener on the security of their clients’ data files. They have a secure and strong connection in place to ensure that the information remains safe and secure.
One thing that legitimate Website will do to ensure that that their users’ information forever remain secure is to install an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate will encrypt all the vital information of the user, such as credit card and the debit card details and other types of information. The data goes through a coded format.
How do you know that a website has an SSL certificate? Well, that is simple; all you need to do is check the URL on the address of the Website and check if the Website has the HTTP or the https. If it has an HTTP tag, then it means the site does not have an SSL certificate. If it does have an HTTPS tag, then it means that the site has an SSL certificate. HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. This type of protocol is very vulnerable to attacks. The S in the HTTPS stands for security. HTTPS uses an SSL certificate, which establishes a secure connection between the server and the browser.
Certificate Authorities usually issue SSL certificates. Apart from just an SSL certificate, you should also establish the Certificate Authority that issued the certificate. Certificate Authorities such as RapidSSL offer utmost encryption and are a perfect website legitimacy indicators.
Check the Content of the Website
It might not be easy to read through the whole content of the Website, but perusing through every aspect of the Website could help you determine the authenticity of the Website. For instance, when you want to verify an online shopping website’s authenticity, you will have to look at its content. An authentic one will have a clear and well-elaborated product description, touching on almost every aspect that you might need to know about the product. It will also have quality images of the products that it deals with. The clarity in the shipping information and the refund policy should also be one of the key factors that you should be looking for. If the online store lacks these features, then there is no reason why you should trust it. For other types of websites that are not shopping sites, you will have to look at the trust seals and their partners to establish their credibility.
Last but not least, you will have to check the contact information attached to the Website. If the Website does not have the contact information, then walk away. Official websites will not operate from hiding. Check to see the content of their contact information. It should include all the contact details, such as phone numbers, social media contacts, physical location, names, representatives, and email addresses.
You will also need to check in the content format. If the content is in poor grammar, full of spelling mistakes and punctuation errors, then that is a perfect red flag to turn off the Website.
Check the Website Social Proof
One other perfect way to check if a website is legitimate is to check for social proofs. In the modern digital world, bad comments about a site will travel so fast. To know if or not to trust a website, you will have to visit the feedback section and learn from previous users’ experiences.
Most business organizations usually have plenty of reviews about their Website available online. Visit the social media website of the organization or read from the comments on the blogs.
But there is one concern with this approach. Reviews can be bought. Take Amazon, for example. A good percentage of their reviews are usually fake. Just know which reviews you can trust and those that you cannot trust.
Check for the website security indicators
As earlier mentioned, security is of key concern that every website user should be looking at. One of the key security indicators that have been fully explained is the SSL certificate or the HTTPS protocol. It is just one security item that can be used to establish the authenticity of a website. Another thing that you should take care of is a padlock icon on the address bar. Clicking on the padlock icon will display all the information that relates to the connection security of the Website. The validity of the SSL issuer and the identity of the issuer will also be revealed. Sure enough, you want to know whether the Certificate Authority that issued the SSL can be trusted before proceeding to trust the Website itself.
Also, you can read WP Security – WordPress File Monitor Plugin
Check The Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report
Google is usually keen to ensure that internet users have the best moment while browsing on the internet. Google actually cares for you as a user. It is why they have an algorithm that identifies fake websites and fraudulent activities. Google usually examines the many URLs on the internet. All the information about all websites is found on the Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report. A user who wants to have information about a certain website will have to paste the URL in the search bar of the site. Google will scan the URL to identify whether the Website might be compromised.
Google is thus good at identifying fake websites and legitimate websites. You can use the Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report to check for the authenticity of a website.
I hope this article of identifying Is the Website is Legitimate or not will help you. Although the internet has had many benefits, it has also presented a new lot of cyber threats. Today, almost anyone is vulnerable. Hackers are using all the means to cause havoc, including using fake websites. Safety on the internet is paramount, and it starts with you knowing how to differentiate between the legitimate sites from the fake ones.
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