There are many ways hackers can do to steal your important information. The most common strategy that they will use is to create a phishing website that resembles a legitimate website and then lure you into visiting such site and putting your important information on it. Usually, their end goal is to steal your username and password so that they can take control over your account and do whatever they want with it. This is why you should always be vigilant when you visit any link provided by a suspicious person that you just met online.

Many people still cannot differentiate between a fake site and a legitimate site. That’s why they’ll just enter their username and password without even thinking. After that, they will complain that their account got hacked, while it was actually their carelessness which was the cause of the incident. This is why you have to educate yourself about this matter. Here are 5 ways to tell the difference between a real website and a phishing website:

1. The Domain Name

First of all, the domain name is the one thing that you need to look at. All the legitimate websites will have at least an https domain name, which means that the protocol that it uses should begin with https. This is especially true for sites that require you to log into your account. On the other hand, the phishing site will only provide you with the http domain name. Their name might also be similar, but with very slight alteration to the letters. For instance, the real site might have an address like https://www.google.com/ while the fake site will have an address like http://www.go0gle.com/. So, take a look carefully at the domain name in the address bar.

2. The Website Security

A good, legitimate, and secure website will usually have a strong security protocol that protects it from various online threats. The SSL security will always exist in any legitimate website that requires your login information. Remember that unless the company is legitimate, the SSL certificate will not be handed to the company since it requires rigorous tests before their application is accepted. Meanwhile, the fake site will not have any security protocol installed on it, thus confirming that the website is not trustworthy. Take a look at the address bar of your browser. If there is a green lock at the left side of the address bar, and you can see that the site is verified by a legitimate security provider, then it means that it is a real website.

3. The Link Sender

Most of phishing websites are “promoted” via spam emails to their victims. They might also be promoted via direct messages in various social media platforms. If you get a link that asks you to log into your account, make sure that the one giving you link is a trustworthy person or company. This is because many people that fall into this trap gave their private information via a suspicious link. Instead of verifying its trustworthiness, they decided to ignore it. So, make sure that you really trust the person or company that gives you the link to the website. If you are asked to log into your account in any website, make sure that the one giving you the login link is the company itself.

4. The Site Design

Another thing that you have to take a look to differentiate between a real website and a phishing website is the overall site design. Of course, a fake website will try to imitate the real one as much as possible, but it will always be imperfect. Even though they can imitate the site design at first glance, they can’t fool the people if they really compare the design of the real and fake website. So, take a look carefully at the site design. If you see something off, then it might be the sign that this is not the real site that you usually use.

5. Available Website Pages

A fake site will never be able to copy the entire web pages of the real one. So, when you visit a suspicious website that resembles a real one, you have to click on various links available in that website. If they cannot display any other pages other than the login page, then it is certainly a fake site. But, if you can browse the website as usual without any problem, then you are dealing with the real one. So, take some time to browse the website and see if you can access the web pages as usual. Otherwise, stay away from that site.

Those are the 5 ways to tell the difference between a real website and a phishing website. When you know more about these differences, you can protect your online privacy more easily. However, the most important thing that you need to do is to avoid any type of phishing incident by being aware of the people that you interact with online and be wary of the links that you click as well.