Telltale Signs of Untrustworthy Sites

Paige Omandam
Aug 22, 2018
The internet can be a positive, informative place, but if you're not careful you could fall victim to hackers and scammers. Luckily, there are signs to look out for that tell you immediately that a site cannot be trusted. As long as you can to distinguish between a safe and unsafe website, you'll have no issues surfing the web. Here are some of the telltale signs of untrustworthy websites:

Browser Warnings

Most browsers will spot out unsafe links before you do. Google Chrome, for example, will give you a warning message telling you that you've clicked on an unsafe link. If you ever see this message, you should proceed with caution. You never know if a virus could be waiting for you on the other side.

The Domain Name

A quick glance at the domain name can give you a big hint as to whether you can trust the website. One of the telltale signs is whether the domain begins with HTTP or HTTPS. HTTPS stands for "Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure", which means that there is an encrypted connection between the web server and your browser. Without this extra "S", you can't be certain that any passwords or credit card information will be secure. Some browsers will indicate when a website does not have HTTPS with a red padlock icon.

Questionable WHO.IS

You can find the owner of a website by looking up the Whois Information. Some registrars, like Dynadot, will put the company's contact information on the Whois lookup for your domain when you add privacy to your website. When a website doesn't have privacy, the registrant's information will show. If you find that the location in the Whois information does not match the website's description, that could be a red flag.

Online Reviews

If anyone has been scammed by a website before, they might take their frustration out on the web. If online reviews show that others have been scammed, take it as a warning not to do business with that website. Similarly, look out for reviews that look like they have been fabricated. Take online reviews with a grain of salt, but when there are a large number of bad reviews, that can be a big warning sign.

No Contact Info

A website that is trying to scam you won't want to give you much information about how to contact them. For example, if you're looking at what seems to be a business, but they have no contact info for customer service, an address, or anything else, you should be cautious about doing business with them. A reputable company will have very clear instructions on how to get in contact with them.

What if I find an untrustworthy website?
If no contact records are listed other than the website's registrar's, you can contact them with an abuse complaint. For example, if you ever find an untrustworthy website registered with Dynadot, you can email so we can take action. Other registrars will have a similar protocol for preventing abuse on their domain names.

Protect your information online by keeping in mind the signs of untrustworthy sites. These tips can help you and your loved ones browse the internet safely. Navigating the web can be a fun and easy experience when you know what to look out for.

Written by Paige Omandam