Home Tech Is This Website Legit? 9 Important Points To Consider

Is This Website Legit? 9 Important Points To Consider

Do you feel paranoid when visiting certain websites? If you do, you are in good company, and there are many reasons why this may be the case. My professional advice would be not to visit websites or give out any sensitive data (Especially credit card details/bank details) if you are not convinced that the website is safe to use.

In this article, I will answer the question is this website legit? I would give you all the pointers and a few red flags to note when surfing the web.

Let us dive straight in!

Is this Website Legit? – Points To Note

Once you open up a website, especially if it is one you are not used to using, here are some details never to overlook.

1. Is HTTPS enabled on the website?

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It simply implies that sessions between a web server offering you a website and the browser on a mobile device or any other device is encrypted.

In layman’s terms, once enabled, you would be safe from most “man-in-the-middle attacks.” These usually could be spoofing or phishing attacks.

How do you know if HTTPS is enabled?

The green or locked padlock found on the far left corner of the URL (address) bar is a positive sign indicating there is HTTPS enabled on the website. For a few websites, the company’s name may be written next to the green or locked padlock.

When you have the green/locked padlock and the company, it is an even better signal and should prove that the website is legit and safe to visit.

Is This Website Legit?

Browsers would try to alert users when HTTPS isn’t enabled on a website. They would display a “Not Secure” if the HTTP webpages need users to input data into forms. These may include surveys or even login forms.

You must resist giving your data to a website after you see the not secure warning or if you do not notice a green or locked padlock icon.

Providing your data would invite hackers, which could be third parties, to access your private information, including passwords and credit card data.

Is This Website Legit? 9 Important Points To Consider

Disclaimer: A green or locked padlock shows some level of trust but doesn’t guarantee that the website wouldn’t use your information maliciously. It only guarantees that your data can not be intercepted or changed by some third party.

2. Is the Advertising Aggressive or Invasive?

There is no fixed way to go with this, especially since the level of aggressiveness or invasiveness can always be up for debate.

It would strictly depend on how you feel about it. It is fair to say that having banners and some adverts is standard ad practice for many websites (They must make some money).

Is This Website Legit

There are, however, some ads that would constitute red flags. They may not always be malicious but would give a hint that the website is poorly managed. You must be cautious when on such sites.

A few ads to beware of:-

Redirecting ads – You may have encountered one website banner with a download button. Sometimes you realize clicking on download keeps redirecting but never seems to get the item downloaded. This is a huge no-no, and my advice would be, “get out now.” Sadly some harm may have already been done.

Interactive ads:- This may not always be bad, but it still raises some questions. If the Ad requires that you perform some action, perhaps take a survey or answer questions, then maybe you should consider exiting.

Is this Website Legit

Pop-up ads:- I would just say that good websites rarely use these. So if you encounter them, please exit.

3. Does the Website Have Trust Seals or Symbols?

Do you know when you go for a job interview and you are asked about your references? That is exactly what a trust seal is.

A clickable badge or badges usually indicate these at some part of a website. It redirects to the provider’s website. These seals should usually be from known/popular entities like Paypal, VeriSign, TrustE, etc.

Is This Website Legit? 9 Important Points To Consider

Please note that the absence of these should not be a deal-breaker. Many websites may not need or have these trust seals and would still pass the “Is This Website Legit” test.

Can you always trust these seals?

The answer is NO!

A number of scammers can do a simple copy and paste to fool you. The original partner websites they are faking would mostly never no or bother to find out. Your smell test will be to verify if the seals click on the real site’s URL. So if a website uses a PayPal seal, you expect that when the link is clicked, it will direct you to Paypal.com. If this is not the case, please exit instantly.

A big point to note is sealed with funny names or names that just look too enforced. For example, you may have a seal for “Microsoft Certified” or Norton-Secured.

This means nothing, especially since any website can choose to use the latter once it doesn’t have any virus. This doesn’t mean they are not waiting to capture and damage your data.

4. Does It Have a Return Policy?

This applies to online stores or eCommerce websites. A return policy states the ground on which items can be sent back. It is a way website owners tell you that they can be trusted.

If you go through the website and you do not find any, do not buy a thing and do not give them any valuable personal data, especially credit card information.

5. Does It Have a Privacy Policy?

Privacy policies refer to how a website expects to use your data. Sadly we rarely bother about reading this when we stumble upon a website unless we feel there has already been a huge privacy breach. This may be too little too late.

The policy should state how your data will be kept, whether or not it is ever shared, especially with third parties, and the steps you would need to take to get all your data deleted from their database.

The simple rule is this: If you have not read the privacy policy, you have no business submitting your data.

You may like to read our guide on the 79 Amazing Cool Websites You Didn’t Know Existed.

6. Can I Verify the Body Behind the Website?

Doing this wouldn’t always yield results, at least not 100% results, but you generally would get a better idea of the owners or entities managing the website.

Step one is to search for existing social signals. A good place to start is if there is a phone number or a real physical address.

Performing a look-up on Whois is another way to go. This gives some valid information about the site and its owners. In many cases, you would be able to see the owner’s names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.

A whois lookup may also provide nothing if the entities behind the site have paid third parties to take on this responsibility.

Is This Website Legit? 9 Important Points To Consider

7. Can You Run a Successful Website Safety Check?

Website safety checks can not be over-emphasized. If it is not a familiar site and you cannot run a comprehensive check, you should proceed cautiously.

To check for the safety of specific websites, you may have to employ some of the common website checker online tools. While there may be a host, this virus total tool is a nice and simple-to-use option.

It gives a text field where you would input the website URL. After that, click enter then watch; it does its work.

Is This Website Legit? 9 Important Points To Consider

When the results come in, you would love to see a lot of green. This is positive. In the example used below, the website scores 82, which gives a sense that, to a large extent, you can trust the website.

Please note that this check should not be independent of other ways of verifying or answering the question, “is this website legit.”

Is This Website Legit? 9 Important Points To Consider

8. Does My Browser Display and Warnings?

If you are seriously pondering, “is this website legit”? One way to know is to take notes of warnings your browsers may display. This is not uncommon, especially if your internet use requires you are constantly stumbling upon new websites not earlier visited.

A major reason is that browsers would always warn users not to proceed to a site if it has been compromised. These prompts would not stop you if you eventually decide to proceed. But like they say, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

📗FAQ

How do I check if a website is legit?

Check these important points to know whether a website is legit or not:-
1. Is HTTPS enabled on the website?
2. Is the Advertising Aggressive or Invasive?
3. Does the Website Have Trust Seals or Symbols?
4. Does It Have a Return Policy?
5. Does It Have a Privacy Policy?
6. Can I Verify the Body Behind the Website?
7. Can You Run a Successful Website Safety Check?
8. Does My Browser Display and Warnings?

Is this a safe website link?

Use tools like Virustotal.com, urlvoid.com, or scamadvisor.com to check a website for a Risk, or use the chrome extension like WOT, AdBlock plus, etc.

What websites should I avoid?

Always Avoid the below-mentioned sites:-
1. Pirated software download sites
2. Free movie download sites
3. Torrent sites
4. Untrusted APK download website
5. Avoid opening emails with attachments if you don’t know the sender

What are Suspicious Websites?

Those are suspicious websites looking for your personal information like your phone number, credit card number, social security number, etc.

What websites can give you viruses?

Pirated software download sites, Free movie download sites, Torrent sites, and Adult sites can give you viruses.

Can you get a virus on your phone by visiting a website?

Yes, you will get a virus on your phone by visiting above mentioned sites like adult sites.

Can a website hack you?

Yes, a website can hack you using the “Drive-by downloads” technique initiated without your permission. I will recommend buying an anti-virus solution for your devices.

I recommend you Watch this video to learn how to protect yourself online. Follow these rules not to get a victim of phishing, scams, ransomware, and cyber threats.

11 Internet Safety Tips for Your Online Security

Final Thoughts

The risk of a falling victim in today’s world to cyber fraud is increasing. Maytimes, we leave footprints that scammers eventually use against us.

The internet is home to so many resources but also home to many malicious sites. You must proceed with caution. You have stumbled upon this article because you have pondered the question, “is this website legit?” Well, now you know all the steps to figure an answer out.