Verify Website Authenticity in 5 Steps & Shop Online Safely
When shopping online, be mindful of how your personal information is being shared. Cybercriminals scour the internet looking for users with unprotected devices, ready to steal their data.
If you can, avoid using public Wi-Fi to shop, especially on websites that ask for sensitive information. This will make it harder for snooping hackers to spy on your activity.
1. Look for a Trust Seal
Authenticity seals, or trust badges as they are also known, put the mind of a consumer at ease that their personal information is safe and that this website takes their security seriously. They can increase conversions for ecommerce websites, especially if used alongside reviews and testimonials. According to multiple investigations by Moz, Studio Archetype/Sapient and Cheskin Research, trust badges can have a significant impact on the perception of safety and trustworthiness of a website.
Trust seals can come in a variety of shapes and sizes and their function will vary depending on the company who vetted or granted them. However, they all create security protocols that prevent hackers from stealing personal information from visitors as they input it into web stores and shopping carts.
2. Check the Address
If a website is not properly secured, it gives cybercriminals the opportunity to steal your personal information and money. This is why it’s best to stick with well-known retailers and use credit cards when shopping online. Credit cards don’t give crooks direct access to your bank account and most of them offer $0 liability in case of fraudulent activity.
Another tip for online shopping is to make sure that the website address is https://islegitorscam.com starts with ’https’ and has a padlock icon on the web browser’s URL bar. This means that the site is secure and uses SSL encryption to protect your information. It also helps to avoid sites with pop-up ads as these are usually illegitimate and can lead to malware infections. The website’s contact information should also be legitimate.
3. Check the Contact Information
If a website doesn’t provide a contact number, email address or physical address, that’s usually a sign that they are not a legitimate business. This also applies if they do not have a returns policy.
Another thing to look for is the website’s domain age. A new website may not be a red flag, but if the site hasn’t been around for long, it could be a sign that it is not legitimate.
Always be wary of websites that ask for excessive personal information, such as your tax number or where you were born. They could be phishing sites that are trying to steal your information. You can check a website’s domain and other details by using a Whois Lookup. The site’s contact information should be clearly displayed in the header or footer.
4. Read the Terms of Service
If you’ve ever clicked “I agree” to a legal terms of service agreement without giving it much thought, you’re not alone. A recent Deloitte study found that over 90% of people consent to these agreements without reading them.
Terms of Service are a legally binding contract between the website owner and their users. They detail the rules and guidelines that must be followed in order to use a service. Unfortunately, these contracts are often difficult to read.
To be enforceable, they must provide evidence that a user accepted the terms by checking a box, clicking a button, or digitally signing. It can be challenging for websites that have a high volume of customers to keep track of this individualized record. This is why some online rights groups advocate making these contracts more easily readable.
5. Check the Privacy Policies
When cybercriminals create malicious websites and URLs, they often imitate popular ones. This way, they can trick users into logging in or making a purchase to obtain their private information. Then they can sell this information on the dark web for a profit. It’s important to check the Privacy Policies when shopping online. A legitimate website will be transparent about how they collect and use personal information. They should also give users the option to change, modify, or delete their own information and opt out of sharing it with third parties.
Typically, privacy policies are buried within Terms and Conditions or elsewhere on a website. This can lead to confusion for visitors. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a dedicated person responsible for ensuring that the policy is updated regularly.