Imagine that you’ve found an online shopping website, and it has a product that interests you. It’s available for a small price as well, albeit for a limited time. You start to wonder if the offer is too good to be true… Or let’s say you’re searching for freeware software. The search engine provides you with links. However, there’s something shady about the URL. Would you risk losing money or compromising safety? Probably not. Instead, you should learn how to check website safety.
You can never be too cautious online. There’s no need to share vital personal info on platforms you don’t trust. Some sites try to imitate popular portals in order to get your login credentials. Is there a fail-proof way to check website reputation and avoid scammers?
Good news! There’s nothing complicated about checking a website’s reputation. And you’ll soon discover why.
Below, you’ll learn about the best ways to check the authenticity of any online portal. Also, we are going to introduce you to useful scam website checker tools.
Proven Ways to Check a Website’s Safety
The Internet is getting increasingly dangerous for anyone concerned about data safety. You can expose sensitive information and personal credentials in a variety of ways. Especially nowadays, with over new 1.5 million phishing websites making their way into the Web every month.
An average cost from data breaches due to phishing reached a staggering $3.92 million in 2019. You should know that scam websites are causing enormous problems for individuals and enterprises alike. Based on Wombat’s recent State of the Phish report, more than 76% of businesses in the US have become victims of phishing attacks.
That’s why it’s critical to check website safety every time a portal rises even the slightest suspicion. How to ensure secure browsing of the Internet?
Here are some proven ways to verify if you’re on a safe website.
Set up a web browser
All of the most popular browsers have default security tools. You just have to comb through their security settings to enable them. There, you’ll find a variety of protection options.
Do you want to avoid harms of fake and scam sites? Then, consider turning off automatic pop-ups and downloads, blocking webcam and microphone access, and disabling Flash content.
The majority of Google’s products (including Chrome) offer safety features to ensure the safest browsing experience. Additionally, you can use secure web browsers like Brave or AVG Secure Browser. Browsers like this have a built-in fake website checker. They also offer extra features like adblockers and various security extensions.
Firewalls and browser extensions
Let’s not forget about fundamentals. Do you remember that Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems have built-in firewalls? Don’t underestimate their effectiveness. Keep them turned on when browsing uncharted expanses of the World Wide Web.
It wouldn’t hurt to use additional security solutions that notify you about website reputation. There are also great free Antiviruses and browser extensions that can check website safety on the go such as Norton 360.
Are you interested to hear more about them? Don’t worry. We’ll talk about it in a second.
Watch out for signs
Picture this: you enter a new site. An online shopping portal, for example. All of your safety tools and extensions remain silent. Is this website safe, then?
Don’t count on it. You should never entrust your safety entirely to software and online services. Follow your instincts and common sense. Does something on this website tick you off?
Here are basic signs you should pay attention to in order to verify website authenticity and safety.
- HTTP and HTTPS. Does the site’s address start with a HTTP or HTTPS? You might wonder what’s the difference. HyperText Transfer Protocol is the tool that exchanges data between the website and your browser. The “S” in HTTPS stands for “secure” and means that the portal uses a proper SSL Certificate. If an online shopping site doesn’t have proper encryption measures – nothing can guarantee the safety of your private information or payment credentials.
- Padlock icon. Most of the browsers indicate if the portal is verified or not by the address bar appearance. Be cautious if you see a red-colored address bar or a badge stating that the platform is “not secure.”
- URL itself. Many fake websites have spelling errors in their URLs. That’s because phishing sites try to trick you by replicating addresses of popular services. For example, scammers replace or skip letters (g0ogle.com, paypai.com, b1ng.com) to fool you into entering your login data. Furthermore, it’s atypical for shopping platforms to use .net and .org domains.
- Site’s content. Notice any spelling or grammar mistakes on pages? Are images poorly resized of copy-pasted from stock galleries? These are signs of an obvious rush job and a bright red flag signaling that this site is fake.
- Redirects, spam, pop-ups. It’s pretty straightforward. A website bombards you with ads, pop-ups, and attempts to direct you to other portals? Consider a website safety check complete and get out of there without a second thought.
- Brand imitation. No reputable vendor would sell replicas or duplicates of popular products. One careful glance on a product like that is more than enough to spot a knockoff.
- Discount timers. Limited offers are one of the most manipulative methods designed to motivate people to convert. However, online scammers tend to overuse this method. And you can check it with little effort. First, find out how many products have “limited offers” on this site. Then, visit the same URL from other devices and compare the remaining discount time for the same product.
- Legal information. It’s wise to double-check contact information before making a purchase. Navigate to a websites’ “About Us” or “Contacts” sections. Notice the company’s full legal name and information about the owner. Now try calling using provided phone numbers. No one answers or number is not in service? We think you know what this means.
Scam website checker tools
There are easier ways to check website safety. Link checkers are online tools that analyze standard-length and shortened URLs. They alert you if they find potential ransomware or malware.
Fake website checkers are also great at identifying phishing websites and online shopping scams in a matter of seconds. And we are not exaggerating.
Keep reading to learn how to check website reputation and legitimacy on the go.
12 Tools to Check Website Safety and Authenticity
Do you want to perform a precise website safety check in a matter of clicks? These tools can help you verify URL safety to avoid online traps.
1. WHOIS (ICANN’s domain lookup)
ICANN’s WHOIS allows you to see information about any domain. All you have to do is enter a URL and click “Lookup.”
– Image from WHOIS
You’ll get information about the date of creation, nameservers, registry expiration date, as well as unique domain ID. Want to find out is this website safe or not? Then, we have good news for you. WHOIS shows contact information about site owners (if it’s publicly available) so you can double-check its legitimacy.
VirusTotal is a free fake website checker that filters portal through dozens of antiviruses and blacklisting services.
– Image from VirusTotal
With this tool, you get instant reports about the safety of any website. It offers a community score, which shows you if any registered users vouch for this portal. VirusTotal also offers exhaustive information about the site’s owners. And if that’s not enough, this tool allows you to scan individual files for malware.
3. Google Transparency Report
– Image from Transparency Report
Something in the URL seems suspicious? One of the deals on an online shopping platform is too much of a steal? This tool will let you know how unsafe it really is.
TalosIntelligence is a fantastic thread detection network and domain reputation center.
– Image from TalosIntelligence
This tool analyzes websites for various threats. It provides a detailed report, which contains relevant information about the site’s background. TalosIntelligence also shows reputation ranking, blacklist check results, and domain information.
5. Kaspersky VirusDesk
Kaspersky is a reputable provider of security solutions with over 30 years of impeccable track record. And it also has a fake website checker and virus scanner. Just paste an address of the domain in question and get results in a few moments. Additionally, you can drag and drop suspicious files to check for harmful software.
– Image from Kaspersky VirusDesk
Kaspersky VirusDesk checks website reputation and shows you if the link is unsafe or malicious. But that’s not it. Kaspersky’s tool understands that ads can bombard you against your will. That’s why it shows URLs that have a lot of pop-ups and spam.
Also, this website checker notifies you if there’s no available data about the portal. It’s up to you to choose if the visit is worth a risk.
6. Norton Safe Web
Another fake website checker for a respected antivirus enterprise. Norton’s SafeWeb is a pretty straightforward link checker if you’ve been paying attention up to this point. Enter a URL, click “Enter,” and you’ll get information about website safety. This comes standard as part of Norton 360 as well.
– Image from Norton Safe Web
NortonLifeLock system compiles a report based on the portal’s reputation, safety, and potential security problems. Apart from that, this tool has a community review section. You can read what others say about a website. It’s useful if you want to avoid ads-heavy platforms.
But wait. That’s not everything Norton has to offer to ensure your web browsing security! You might want to pay attention to the next two utilities if you’re a fan of Google Chrome.
7. Norton Safe Search (Norton’s Chrome Extension)
Want to avoid risky sites completely? You can achieve that with Norton’s Safe Web Chrome extensions. It is available for free at Chrome Web Store.
– Image from Norton Safe Search
Norton’s Safe Web defends you from phishing sites and scams on every corner of the Internet. It has a downside, though. This tool makes Norton Safe Search your default search engine.
If that’s not a problem for you – then you’ll definitely like this scam website checker. Safe Web notifies you about dangerous shopping portals and offers safety ranking for every result while marking the dangerous ones.
URLVoid is an incredibly popular fake website checker tool from APIVoid. It can scan any portal on malware and phishing threats using advanced software (including over 30 blacklist engines).
– Image from URLVoid
This tool provides site summary, domain info, and other publicly available data. URLVoid also offers detailed blacklist reports for every engine that analyzed the website.
Found a potentially scummy website? Check website safety with Sucuri. It’s a free and comprehensible security and malware scanner. They also offer premium services for website owners to secure their own sites as well.
– Image from Sucuri
Enter a website address and give it a few seconds. Sucuri analyzes portals for viruses, errors, spy software, and suspicious code. This tool ranks the safety of a website on a scale from “Minimal” to “Critical.”
For the record, you can contact the Sucuri team if you want to perform an exhaustive analysis.
We’ve gone through multiple fake websites detectors already. PhishTank, on the other hand, focuses solely on safeguarding you from phishing sites. It’s an excellent free tool for those who want to keep their login credentials secure.
– Image from PhishTank
How does it work? PhishTank checks a URL in question through myriads of blacklisting engines and databases. You’ll get immediate notification if it turns to be a phishing link.
What if it’s not in any of the databases? In that case, this tool creates a tracking number to examine that resource in the future.
Want to make sure you’re not entering a phishing site? With ISITPhishing, you can be sure your credit card info remains secure.
– Image from ISITPhishing
As you might expect, it’s as simple as before. Copy the URL and click “Check” to perform quick website analysis. This tool notifies you in case the link is compromised.
You might also like ISITPhishing’s widget. You don’t have to be an IT expert to implement it on your site. Simply copy a generated code into your site’s HTML. That way, other people can test URLs for phishing threats straight from your portal.
Online counterfeiters love to forge products from top brands. And brands adore Desenmascara.me for the sheer number of scammers it revealed over the years. This fake website checker has detected over 61000 of fraudulent portals.
– Image from Desenmascara.me
Desenmascara.me is a must-have tool for those who love shopping. Want to avoid buying fake products? A few clicks are all you need to verify a portal’s authenticity and avoid potential scams.
Found Fraudulent or Scam Website? Report It!
We hope that our article helped avoid risky and fake portals. But why not stop for a minute to help others?
Let’s imagine that you’ve spotted a deceitful website with techniques or scam checker tools we mentioned above. You shouldn’t be hasty. Take your time to warn the rest of the Internet about it.
Don’t worry. It won’t take too long. You can do the following to report scam or phishing websites:
- Contact an Anti-Phishing Working Group about phishing resources.
- Forward phishing emails to [email protected]
- Notify the Internet Crime Complaint Center or Federal Trade Commission about scam websites.
- Report appropriate brand holders in case you find counterfeit products or fake online shops.
- Phishing and fraudulent portals can be reported to a National Fraud Reporting Centre here.
It’s an appropriate time to worry about your private information. With over 1.5 million new scam websites every month, you can never be too careful. It’s best to take it as a rule to ask yourself: “Is this website safe?” before clicking on a new URL.
By now, you should know all about how to check website safety. There are several proven methods to spot them manually. You can also make use of various free tools we mentioned. In any case, your safety is in your hands. A couple of extra clicks is all you need.
Did you find our article helpful? Maybe there are some other popular tools for detecting scam websites that we didn’t mention? Feel free to tell us all about them!