As of June 21, 2024, we are experiencing a network interruption. Our goal right now is to fully investigate our systems and make sure all devices remain secure. To date, there has been no evidence that any systems were subject to unauthorized encryption, and we have not lost access to any of our data. We anticipate key systems will be brought back online on a rolling basis over the coming days. In an abundance of caution, all branch locations will be closed on Saturday, June 22, 2024.

In today’s world, where many people spend hours of each day browsing the internet, staying safe online is paramount. The web is rife with scammers employing sophisticated tactics to get at your money and information. Fortunately, with protective measures, you can easily avoid unsafe websites.

Here are six ways to tell if a website is safe.

1. Look for an SSL certificate 

Secure websites have an SSL, or a Secure Sockets Layer. An SSL is a digital certificate that verifies a website is authentic and will automatically encrypt all personal information and financial data. There are two primary indicators of an SSL, and both are clearly visible in the site’s URL:

  • An ‘s’ after the ‘http’
  • A padlock icon
     

2. Evaluate the URL structure

Review the URL carefully. Are there misspelled words? Does the URL mimic a well-known site? Scammers often lure victims by creating bogus sites that look like they represent well-known companies. However, careful scrutiny of the URL will reveal basic spelling errors that give the scam away. 

3. Look for the company’s contact info

Legitimate companies are eager to have you connect with them for any reason. They’ll generally display their contact info on their home page or provide a link for easy access. Scammers, on the other hand, try to keep themselves as invisible as possible. You likely won’t find any tabs that say “Contact Us” or “About Us” on their website. 

4. Check the spelling and graphics

Authentic companies will take the necessary steps to make a professional impression on site visitors. Scammers, on the other hand, will not. Use their carelessness to your advantage by looking out for spelling mistakes and typos throughout the site. You can also be on the lookout for cheap design elements, including recycled images and logos that are poorly created. Each of these clues can signify a scam website. 

5. Heed your device’s security warnings 

If you put a site’s address into your computer, and a warning pops up alerting you that the site you’re attempting to access is unsafe, don’t ignore it. Unless you’re absolutely sure the site is secure despite the warning, it’s best to not advance to the site. 

6. Opt out of sites that flood you with pop-ups 

Scam websites will try luring you into downloading malware through pop-ups and embedded links. Sometimes, the links will be used to generate ad revenue through clicks. Whatever the intent, it’s important to know that reputable sites will not flood your screen with pop-ups and random links for you to click. If you encounter a site like this, you’re likely looking at a scam. Exit the site, close your browser and have your security system run a scan on your device.

Stay alert online and stay safe!

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