How to Find if a Website Is Legitimate
1) Call, write, or email the website using the contact information provided on their website to check for legitimacy. If you reach an automated voice messaging system, find that the number is not in service, or nobody answers during regular business hours, the website may not be legitimate.
2) Visit the Whois website featured in the Sources section of this article to validate and assess the company's information. Type the company's website or domain into the "Lookup" box provided on the Whois website and click on the "Go" button. Scroll down the Whois Lookup results page to verify if the information provided matches up with the information on the company's website; such as their country, official contact information, the amount of time they have owned the website or domain, and the date the website is set to expire. Check to see if the Whois contact information is made public for viewing. If the contact information is set to private, the website may not legitimate.
3) Click on various links throughout the website to verify that they work properly and redirect you to the correct pages. If the majority of links are broken or if they take you to a page with unrelated content, the website may not be legitimate.
4) Click directly on existing logos that feature the company's awards, certifications, or security seals to test if the links are live. The link should usually take you to a separate page that verifies the website is associated with that program or award.
5) Look at content and photos on the website to make sure they are original and related to the company's products and services. Legitimate websites will usually publish detailed content or information about their business and products and will not copy and paste content from other websites.
6) Look at the website address in the address bar of your Internet browser to verify that the website or links you have clicked on did not redirect you elsewhere.
7) Read through the website's terms and conditions before doing business with them to check for understanding and to verify the terms and conditions make sense.
8) Verify that the website's checkout or payment page is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) secured to protect your credit card number and other personal information you enter. SSL secured pages will begin with "https" instead of "http" at the beginning of the web address.
9) Type the company's name into a major search engine to see if they appear in search results and to see if they are mentioned anywhere else on the Internet.
Grateful acknowledgments to Wikihow.com, you can find these points online here: