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How Can You Tell If a Website Is Legit?

The internet is a big, often confusing, place. Hackers and scammers are abundant and getting more clever every day. These people take advantage of your lack of knowledge by “hijacking” you from your desired site and sending you into theirs, allowing them to do many illegal things, from a simple collection of data to credit and identity fraud. This easy guide will help you make sure the site you’re using is real and not a clever trap for the unwary surfer.

1. Contact the site: Find the site’s contact information and call, write or e-mail them. If you call them and get an automated reply, find out that the line’s disconnected or they don’t work during regular business hours, you can reasonably assume that the site may not be legit.

Is this site real?
 

2. Is the site verified by Google? Look for the green lock sign by the address, click on it and you’ll see the site’s safety verification and identity verification.

Is this site real?
 

3. Check Google’s SafeBrowse report: If you can’t find the green lock, simply write ‘http://www.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=’ and the site’s address after the “=” sign, and Google will check the site for you.

Is this site real?
 

4. Use WHOis.com to verify the site: In the website, type the suspicious site’s address in the “Lookup” box and let them validate and asses the site. Look for where the site is located, it’s official contact information and how long has it been owned. (sites located in dubious countries or that have been owned for a short time may be unsafe)

Is this site real?
 

5. Check the site’s address: If you meant to go to “www.sitename.com” but the address now shows something completely different, there’s a good chance you were redirected and “hijacked” into another site, with a less-than-benevolent intent.

Is this site real?
 

6. Read the terms and conditions: Before you decide to do business with a site, make sure you read the terms and conditions. If the conditions don’t make sense (for example: the site doesn’t commit to send you the desired merchandise or that they say they can share your information with a 3rd–party) – reconsider giving them your business.

Is this site real?
 

7. Is the site’s payment system secure?: So far, everything seems legit, and you're at the payment page. Check that the site is secure and uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption before typing in any sensitive information like credit card numbers, etc. (A good indicator is if the address starts with “https” and not “http”)

Is this site real?
 

8. Search the company on major search-engines: See if they’re mentioned anywhere else, look for reviews about the company via multiple sources. Even if the site passed all the previous tests, it’s worth to see if other people have had any kind of negative interaction with it and what the customer feedback looks like.

Is this site real?
Source: WikiHow.com
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