5 Ways to Spot a Dodgy Website

We’re more protected online than we ever have been before. But, that doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk. There are still many websites out there that claim to be something they’re not in order to steal from you. The creators may want your card details or vital information from you that could give them access to your bank account or email address. For instance, you’ve probably received emails in the past that have claimed to be from your bank or tell you you’re due a tax refund. These types of emails usually include a link to a website.

Even if you come across a website yourself via a search engine, you may wonder how you can tell if the site is legit or not. Here are some tips for making sure you don’t give away valuable details to a thief.


Read Through the Content

If you read through everything on the website, you’ll probably start to notice mistakes if the website isn’t genuine. It’s becoming harder and harder to differentiate, but there will be little clues here and there. Look for spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes or broken English. If something doesn’t make sense, it’s unlikely it’s been checked before being published. You can also look through the images to see if they match. Businesses have to take their own product images because of copyright laws, so if it’s likely that a genuine business will have photos using the same background. If the pictures look too different to each other, the images may have been stolen.

Check the Host

All websites have to be hosted by someone. Reading through the content alone won’t be enough to establish whether the site is genuine or not. After all, many legitimate businesses are run by people who don’t have writing strength and may make easy mistakes. So, to get a better idea of whether the site is safe or not, it’s a wise to find out who the host is. This top list on web hosts could give you an idea of hosts that are safe. It’s free to look up the websites host and you could find out more about the business or individual responsible for setting the website up.


Secure Server

Many websites that people are unsure about are often ecommerce sites where you can do online shopping. It’s important to know that you’re shopping with a business you can trust. Ever wondered what the https at the beginning of a web address is for? Well, if the website’s URL begins with https it’s a good sign that the website is genuine because it means you’re using a secure server internet connection. Therefore, if you do end up putting in your card details to make a purchase, you know that other web users can’t steal your details. If you’re logged into a secure connection, you should see a padlock symbol next to the URL.

Get in Touch

A legitimate business will always have a contact section where you’ll be able to see a valid postal address, phone number and usually a contact box. If you’re still wary of using the website because you aren’t sure whether the business is genuine or not, contact them first. It’s best to call them when you want to make sure of reliability. A landline number that puts you through to a company phone line is a good sign. If a mobile number is displayed and you’re unable to get in touch during working hours, that’s more suspicious. Check out the history of the telephone number before proceeding.

Do Your Research

If it’s not a genuine business, you can bet that someone else has been burnt before you. Luckily, the internet is a wonderful way to warn fellow shoppers and users. If you aren’t sure about using a website, do a search for the business and other people’s reviews. Just typing ‘Is (business name) genuine?’ into Google should get you some results. If no results are shown, use the power of social media. Ask family and friends to find out if the website is legitimate for you and someone may spot something you didn’t.

If PayPal is an option, you’re somewhat safe. That’s because, even if you do purchase something and it turns out to be a scam, PayPal will usually refund you. When all else fails, if you still aren’t able to decide whether the website is worth trusting or not, go with the safe option. Never enter your bank account details into a website that you feel may be untrustworthy.

Just a regular computer user. I write for regular users like me. When we grow up we are taught basic security tips like how to cross the street. But we are not taught how to take care of ourselves online.