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4 ways to check if a link is safe before you click it

4 ways to check if a link is safe before you click it
© Joerg Habermeier | Dreamstime.com

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.

Click on a dangerous link from someone you don't know or on a dubious website, and you could be at risk for malware, ransomware, or other nasty online security issues.

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. Because once you click, you could be inadvertently opening yourself up to some very frustrating situations. Protect yourself and get ahead of the curve!

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.

It's very quick, so you won't be left waiting too long, and that way you've got instant feedback on whether you should go ahead and click the link in the text message, email, or page you've just stumbled onto. And since it doesn't take long, it's a good practice to get into using it.

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 Web

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. Plus, you get a special community rating from others who have visited the site in the past to paint a better picture of a website's reputation.

Check your link with URLVoid

URLVoid is an online tool created specifically to help you figure out which websites are malicious and which aren't. It works similarly to the other tools on this list, in that you can type in the URL you're questioning, and the site will run a check.

The results returned include an overall rating of whether the link is safe or not, domain information and registration, whether it's been blacklisted, where the site is based, and other helpful factors to ensure you make an informed decision whether to visit or not.

You must delete your personal information from this scary site now!

A simple search is all it takes for anyone (good or bad) to find all of your personal information, including your current address! It's part of a website that's meant for genealogy, but do you really want this information on the web for anyone to see? I know I don't!

Tap or click here and I'll show you how to opt-out of this unnerving practice.

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