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How do I identify untrustworthy websites?

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The following signs may indicate that a website is untrustworthy. Check these carefully before inputting personal or financial details:

  • The padlock symbol is missing from the browser (even though there is a padlock on the website itself), indicating that there is no SSL certificate for the website. SSL certificates activate the padlock and the https protocol and allow secure connections from a web server to a browser. Typically, SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer and logins, and more recently is becoming the norm when securing browsing of social media sites.
  • There is no https:// in the address bar, meaning that your data will not be transmitted securely.
  • The URL doesn’t match the name of the shop, which is suspicious.
  • The checkout page is asking for your PIN number, no website should ever ask for your PIN number.
  • There is no privacy or returns policy, which means the website may be illegitimate.
  • There is no contact information on the website, meaning you may not have anyone to contact in the event of an issue or a problem.