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Website security

How to check a site's credentials

It's vital to protect your identity when you're online, and understand the nature of the sites you visit. This is particularly important if you are asked to provide any personal or account details, for example when buying items, or registering to use a service.

Check how safe sites are

Always check the security of internet banking and shopping sites before you use them, by following these tips:

Identity fraud - what to look out for

  • Always type the full web address directly into your browser
    By typing the full web address into your browser instead of clicking links, you greatly reduce your chances of being duped by a counterfeit or spoof site - one that looks like the real thing, but is controlled by criminals.
  • Always check for 'https' and any padlock or key symbol
    Genuine secure sites have addresses that start with 'https' and display a padlock icon or key symbol in your internet browser. This will usually be displayed at the top or bottom of your screen.
    Example of padlock and key symbols
  • Double click the padlock or key symbol
    This supplies information that can help you confirm that the site is genuine. If the lock is not within its valid dates or has been issued to a website you don't recognise, do not proceed.
  • Always log out of secure sites
    Never leave your computer unattended when logged in to a secure session, such as internet banking. Make sure you log out properly when you have finished a session, particularly when using online banking.
  • Become a smarter web user
    The more you know about fraud, the less likely you are to become a victim. Credit card fraud, telephone scams and internet fraud all use various mechanisms for doing the same thing: stealing your information.