A new website-checking tool has been launched to help users confirm whether a site is legitimate before they visit.
Internet safety group Get Safe Online has worked with fraud prevention service Cifas to create the tool, which enables users to enter the address of any website to check if it a real site or a scam.
The tool is hosted on the Get Safe Online website and uses an algorithm based on more than 40 data sources and malicious website reports from law enforcement agencies, regulators and consumer brands to identify and vet the sites entered by users – providing a trust score for the website.
Fake or malicious websites, often impersonating genuine sites, are used by scammers to lure people into sharing personal and financial details which can then be used to facilitate identity theft.
Tony Neate, Get Safe Online’s chief executive, said: “For over 15 years Get Safe Online has been providing online safety advice and tips for individuals and small businesses to ensure all of us can use the internet safely and with confidence.
“The internet is amazing, but as with so many things, there are downfalls to look out for when using it: scams, fraud, people trying to exploit you and your personal information.
“Launching Check a Website today is revolutionary and we are very excited to be able to finally offer individuals the opportunity to literally check a website before they use it.
“We are also hugely grateful to our partners who have helped to make it happen. Now, we just want to let as many people know about it as possible so the UK can benefit from this new capability and help improve the united fight against scammers.”
According to the most recent data from Cifas, there was a 43% increase in cases involving identity theft filed to the National Fraud Database in the first three months of 2022, compared to the same period last year.
“This is a great tool for aiding consumers in the continuing fight against online fraud,” Cifas chief executive, Mike Haley, said.
“The devastating impact of fraud can result not only in the loss of income or sensitive personal information, but also a loss of confidence when navigating an increasingly digital world.
“By being able to quickly check whether the website you’re visiting is credible, you can be safer online, reduce your exposure to illegal websites and have peace of mind knowing that you are defending yourself from cyber criminals.”
The Get Safe Online website checker tool can be found at www.getsafeonline.org/checkawebsite.