Today we do a lot of our business and shopping online, which is why Internet security has become such a giant industry. But before you go putting your financial or contact information into a website, you want to make sure the website is secure. Even if a website is reputable, if they aren’t taking the proper precautions their site could be susceptible to malware and affect your computer and the security of your personal information. When you put sensitive information online you want to first make sure the website is safe. You can easily check that a site is secure by following the tips below.
What are the Online Dangers?
Online scammers ultimately want your bank information, your credit card numbers, your passwords, and other personal information like your social security number. They want this information either to use your accounts, or to steal your identity. The following practices are the main ways online scammers try and get your private information.
Phishing is when scammers try to pose as legitimate sites or organizations by using fraudulent websites in order to get your information. You can often tell if something is actually a phishing scam when their offers are too good to be true, if they’re pressuring you to rush into something, or if they try and get you to click on hyperlinks or attachments. Sometimes Phishers will even use fake websites that look very similar to the original website to trick people. Spam filters are a great way to protect yourself from phishing emails. Your browser also has settings to prevent you from accidentally going onto fraudulent sites in the first place. You’ll want to keep these kinds of settings on at all times to ensure safe browsing online.
The term malware actually stands for malicious software that is meant to access or damage your computer. The best way to protect yourself against infecting your devise with malware and viruses is to be careful what you click on, and use an antivirus program on your computer to sweep for such attacks.
Spam generally refers to constant emails, sent to mass amounts of people who did not subscribe or ask for those emails. They are unsolicited and come en mass, which is a problem because you didn’t ask for this barrage of useless emails in your inbox, and you now suddenly have a lot of them. Spam emails happen when sites make you log in, make a payment, or enter in your email. Spam used to just be an annoyance, but has grown into a criminal business. Spam’s purpose can be for advertising, or for spreading malware by trying to get recipients to click on links and attachments.
How are Secure Sites Made Secure?
When a website has https:// at the beginning of the web address, it means that site is secured using an SSL Certificate. SSL Certificates secure all of your data as it is passed from your browser to the website’s server. To get an SSL Certificate, the company must go through a validation process.
Website validation is important, because today we have rules and regulations that sites need to live up to in order to prove they’re real. You also want your website to be validated because then search engines, like google, will work correctly alongside your site so that people can successfully find you on their browser of choice. Everyone’s browser will be able to interpret the site and display it correctly on their screen. Website validation comes from meeting the standards set by the W3C Organization and passing CSS and HTML validations.
Domain Validation (DV) is the lowest form of website validation and only gives ownership of the domain name.
Extended Validation (EV) is the highest level of website validation and with this the beginning of the address bar will have a lock icon and sometimes a green bar to show it is secure.
They Keep Your Information Safe
Using a digital security certificate is important for any site. The sites listed below are technology companies that work to provide digital security for a websites. It is from these types of companies that reputable sites will gain their website’s validation and other programs that constantly sweep their site for malware. By using these digital security companies you can be assured your information is going to be kept safe and private on that website.
- McAfee SECURE
- BBB Accreditation
How to Stay Safe Online
- Don’t click on links and attachments from sources you are unfamiliar with.
- Look for a site’s physical address and phone number.
- Check that there are return and shipping policies listed for shopping.
- Be wary if the prices are too low or the offers are too good to be true.
- Look for a privacy statement somewhere on the site.
- Change your passwords every so often and don’t use the same password for everything.
- Look for a site’s certificates and accreditation (BBB). You will often find this type of information at the bottom of the webpage.
- Use an antivirus program on your computer to block malicious malware.
If you are shopping for loans, you should know that there are a number of characteristics of a safe lender that you can watch out for.
They are a Direct Lender
The best payday loans come from direct lenders. Check City is a direct lender, so when you get loans from Check City, the only people you deal with are our people. You want to use a direct lender because your payday loans should be as simple as possible, and indirect lenders add the hassle and insecurity of dealing with third parties.
The Problem with Indirect Lenders
- Using indirect lenders is more expensive because they have to go through the extra process of finding direct lenders for you to borrow from.
- Indirect lenders have more risks for the customer because there are more variables and institutions involved in your loan, application, and information.
- Indirect lenders are less likely to care about your loans and fixing problems for you because you aren’t borrowing directly from them.
- It is more difficult to become long-term members with indirect lenders, because essentially, they are only an unnecessary go-between. But with direct lenders like Check City, you can go to the same trusted place your whole life for ALL your loan needs.
They are a State Licensed Lender
Here at Check City we are serious about having a working relationship with the states in which we reside. That is why we have chosen to be a state licensed lender as opposed to being an offshores lender or tribal model lender. Going through this trouble is the final way to make sure you know we are a responsible, safe, and secure place for you to do your loan business. Because Check City is a state licensed lender you can have peace of mind knowing that we are doing everything right by the state in which you reside.
They Have Customer Credentials
If a site or a lender is reputable and safe to use, then they will have real customers and organizations affiliated with them.
- Check City has been in business since 1986 and in this time, we have helped hundreds of thousands of people meet their financial needs.
- Check City also has a Shopper Approved rating of 4.8 out of 5, in a pool of more than 31,000 ratings.
It isn’t hard to figure out whether a site is secure or not. All you have to do is know what makes a site secure in the first place, and look for those signs on each site you visit, especially if you’re going to do any shopping or other business on that site.
Read about how cell phone apps can help you secure your phone in, “Cell Phone Security Apps and Other Ways to Lock Down Your Phone.”
FEATURE IMAGE BY NIKITA KACHANOVSKY
OTHER IMAGES BY DANIEL KORPAI