How to check if a website is legitimate

How to check if a website is legitimate

Q: Is there a way to see if a link is legitimate before you click it? I’d hate to get malware from just clicking the wrong thing.

A: Navigating the internet can be especially tricky sometimes, and it’s getting even worse as the days go by. It’s hard enough to watch out for phishing scams that seek to pilfer your private information, but you’ve also got to make sure something as simple as clicking on the wrong link won’t send you spiraling down into a terrible rabbit hole.

Luckily, there are several ways you can verify if a link is legitimate or scammy. If you’d like to be more vigilant about your online safety, try one of these reliable ways to see if a link is safe before you click it.

Run links through ScanURL

One of the easiest ways you can check a URL is by copying it and then pasting it into the confines of ScanURL (, a website that takes your link and runs it through several queries via secure HTTPS connection.

It checks Google Safe Browsing, PhishTank, and Web of Trust, the website’s online Whois record about the owner, and combines them to provide an instant approval or warning if you should visit the site or not.

Kaspersky VirusDesk

Kaspersky is a trusted name in the world of online security, especially when it comes to viruses. That means another great source to cross-reference if you’re looking to try and figure out if a link is legit is Kaspersky’s own VirusDesk tool (

It will scan links you provide it with as well as actual files you can upload. It’s all very simple to use and done right from your browser, making it even easier for you to check anything you’re unsure about.

All you need to do is grab the URL you need to be scanned, paste it into the box, and click “Scan.” After that, Kaspersky VirusDesk will let you know if your link is safe.

If for some reason you believe the link may be safe, you can click the “I disagree with the scan results” option to help Kaspersky employees better tweak their findings, and even contact you via email with what they figure out.

Check Norton Safe

Like Kaspersky, Norton is another trusted name when it comes to online security. Its online tool, Norton Safe Web ( will scan a site for malware at your discretion. You just need to copy and paste the link into the browser bar.

When you proceed, you’ll get a special rating that will let you know whether the site is safe to visit or not.

It features a summary of potential computer threats, identity threats, or “annoyance factors” that could result in some particularly frustrating visits to a website.

For information on Kim Komando on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks, visit her at

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