New website checker set to combat online fraud

Not sure if a website is genuine? A new tool can help you check if it is a real site or a scam. We explain how it works

Alarmed man taking off glasses looking at laptop
(Image credit: Getty images)

With scams and online fraud the rise - like Whatsapp scams or ones relating to the council tax rebate - it's easy to get caught out. But a new tool from internet safety group Get Safe Online could prevent you from losing money to a scammer by letting you check if a site you are about to visit is genuine. 

Known as Check a Website, you simply enter the address of any website to check if it is a real site or a scam.

According to the most recent data from Cifas, which helped create the tool, 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.

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: “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. 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."

How does the Get Safe Online website checker work?

Visit Check a Website via Get Safe Online and type or paste the website address into the search box and then click the button labelled 'Check this site'.

If a website is legitimate, you’ll get an automatic response saying  'we think the website is likely to be legitimate with no malware'. Alongside that you’ll see positive verifications from 10 other domain name system (DNS) intelligence services.

The Money Edit checked several legitimate websites this way.

If it’s not legitimate, you may get a response along the lines of 'we have not found any data', and there will be no positive verifications from other DNS intelligence services.  

The tool 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.

Katie Binns

Katie is staff writer at The Money Edit. She was the former staff writer at The Times and The Sunday Times. Her experience includes writing about personal finance, culture, travel and interviews celebrities.  Her investigative work on financial abuse resulted in a number of mortgage prisoners being set free - and a nomination for the Best Personal Finance Story of the Year in the Headlinemoney awards 2021.