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How to know that a website is safe for use

It may sometimes be difficult to understand whether a website is secure or not. A lack of security can result in detrimental consequences, with personal and private details falling into the wrong hands. An unsafe website can steal this information, send spam, as well as spread malware and viruses on your device and software. It could also lead you to experience credit or debit card fraud if you have provided payment details.

In order to protect yourself, your company and your personal information, it is massively important that you are careful and take website security seriously. This guide has outlined four important signs to look out for when working out whether a website is safe for use:

1 – It is really important to look out for the HTTPS in the website’s URL

There is a difference between HTTP and HTTPS. The S at the end signals that the website is encrypted, which means that its security is provided through an SSL certification. This ensures that private and sensitive information used on that website as it travels through a service. Websites without an SSL certification may expose this information, meaning it could fall into the wrong hands. As such, it is extremely important to make sure when you are entering details on a website that the URL begins with HTTPS.

2 – Check their contact information

Ideally, a website that is safe will have a real phone number, email address contact, physical address location, phone number and so on. While these details may not provide actual protection, it shows the user that there is a contact they can reach if they have any queries concerning their privacy and security. Websites that do not have official or proper contact details should be avoided, especially if they themselves are asking for your personal information.

3 – Check their external reviews

The website is filled with review websites where users can share their experiences with websites, including discussions and reviews of their customer service and products. These reviews can be encouraging, but in cases of unsafe websites, it can be reviews of warnings of avoidance and scams. Significant places to check for reviews include Trustpilot, Facebook and Google to name a few. It should not take too long to work out whether the majority of experiences are positive or negative, and thus whether it is likely to be safe or not.

4 – Especially when dealing with financial websites, it is important to check that they are FCA registered

The Financial Services Register is a public record that documents whether a firm is regulated by the FCA. This means that the firm abides by and follows a set of strict rules to protect the interests of the UK financial system and their customers. It also means that money is protected if the firm goes bust. 

As such, when buying financial products like insurance, it is important to first check that the website displays an FCA certification. If you cannot find this, it is possible to check through the FCA’s register. The same applies if you are considering borrowing a loan and you want to know if an online lender is legal and legit. If the website is not legitimate, then your financial products cannot be cross-checked and your security will not be protected. 

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