Anyone can make a website these days. With domain names becoming cheaper and easier to find, all it takes is a little time on a website builder, and you’re ready to go. But unfortunately, anything that’s convenient for us is equally as convenient for those less-than-reputable folks that want your hard-earned cash.
With cybercrime on the rise, is it any wonder people are so scared to share their personal and financial details online? But the truth is, with a little homework and some caution, it’s easy enough to avoid becoming a statistic in the chart above. Here, we’ve come up with a few tips on how to protect yourself (and your money) by knowing how to spot a genuine website.
Is The Site Genuine? Here’s How To Know…
It Will Have Good Grammar
Now, this might seem like an odd thing to look out for but trust us: It’s worth checking. A reputable site will invest in their content and copy. That means they’ll hire an English-speaking copywriter who will write all the site content and proofread it several times before it goes live.
A site that you should be wary of is one that has quite a lot of typos or grammatical errors. It is quite common for non-genuine sites to have the worst content structure imaginable. So, if it reads a little oddly, then be wary.
It Will Have the Right Trust Seals
Trust seals are those little things you see in a website’s footer that usually look like little stamps of approval. Only a website that has verified its authenticity through the trust seal provider can have them. Now, you’ll need to be careful, as there are quite a few out there, but a simple Google search with tell you if the seal on a website is from a trusted provider.
If the website in question is a gaming site, then there will be some additional trust seals. Take online poker giant 888poker, for example. As an online poker platform, they must have the correct licensing from a government-run gaming authority. That’s usually in the form of a small logo that links right to the authority. This point is important: If the logo does not link to the authority’s website, then it may not be the real deal. Take a closer look at 888poker’s trust seals, and you’ll see what we mean.
These seals tell us that the poker platform has checked out with the relevant authorities. What this means is that it’s a legitimate enterprise, and as such, must adhere to strict regulations regarding your personal and financial details. So, your poker winnings (if you have any) should be safe.
We’re only taking online poker as an example here, but you see what we mean. No matter what the industry, if you must hand over any personal or financial details, then you must check the website’s trust seals. And if it’s a regulated industry, then a licensing trust seal must be clear and visible.
It Will Have Plenty of Online Reviews
Now, what we’re looking for here is a lot of talk online about the website. Industry-specific content should mention it. So, for example, several poker websites should mention an online poker provider. Not only that, but there should be plenty of reviews that are easy to access on reputable sites. The reviews can even be on Google itself, but there should be at least some customer feedback available somewhere online.
These reviews don’t necessarily have to be particularly good, either, as even the most reputable of websites can have the odd bad review here and there. The most important thing is that the reviews exist on an independent review site or forum. That tells us that the site in question is legitimate. Of course, if all the reviews are bad, then it doesn’t matter how genuine the site is —get out of there.
It Will Have Genuine Contact Information
The website should have a contact page where it lists the various ways you can get in touch. We say various ways because there should be more than one. A contact form is good, but not essential. However, there should be an email address or possibly even a phone number.
Don’t take it for granted that the contact information is correct; send an email, fill out that form or give them a call and pay attention to any replies you receive through the email. Also, the email address should be associated with the website’s domain. Anything from another domain or a free email provider is a major red flag.
It Will Be Secure
Do you see that padlock next to the website URL? Well, as you know, that tells us that the website is secure. It must have “https://” at the beginning of the address to get that secure looking padlock, but even if it doesn’t have one, it doesn’t mean it’s a fake site.
Even so, you should never enter any personal information on a website that is not secure. If the website owners are so lax about protecting your data, then it doesn’t matter how honest they are, they’re putting you at risk. Some website browsers will warn you when you land on an insecure site, but others don’t. So, no matter which browser you have installed, always pay attention to that address bar.
It’s true that we need to be a little more careful on the internet than we did in the past, but that’s not a bad thing. Most online scams are only successful because people fail to notice the obvious warning signs that something’s not right. So, pay attention to the things we mentioned above, especially if you’re planning on shopping or playing a game like online poker. Keep these tips in mind, and your money and personal information are as safe as houses.