How to Test A Link Is Safe Without Clicking On It
Links can be dangerous and are widely used to reel people into a cyber trap. You’ve probably received suspicious links through your email, text messages, or even social media, and didn’t even know it!
Whenever you receive a message with an enticing title, promising new or interesting information, or offering to help or give you something free, beware!
You may be taken to page you don’t expect and suddenly, your device could be filled with malicious content or software. Your identity and confidential information could be stolen… just like that!
Luckily, there are many ways you can test a link without having to click on it, so that you know where you’re going to be taken when you click on the link.
Today, I’m going to share a few simple techniques and recommendations with you to help you minimize the risk of being a victim of cybercrime or identity theft.
5 Simple Ways to Test A link Is Safe Without Clicking On It
If an unknown and unexpected sender is urging you to click, steer clear of those links for sure!
Find the URL. When you hover your cursor over the link on your computer – or hold your finger steady on your phone or tablet – you can see the URL (website address) without having to click on it. If the link is taking you to a destination that does not match the sender this could be an indication that it’s a phishing link.
Copy and Paste Directly. I always copy the link and paste directly in my browser to go to the specific website, rather than clicking on the link. I consider this to be a healthy cyber habit that helps us practice cyber mindfulness, because clicking automatically stops being our first response.You can either type the address directly in your browser search bar or use the bookmarks for your most visited links.
Use a Link Expansion Service. Sometimes links are shortened using services like bitly or tinyURL, so the destination link may not be clear, but don’t despair! You can use a link expansion service, such as ChecShortURL, to reveal the link destination. You can also enable your browser plug-in to show short link destinations when you right-click on the short link.
Use Link Scanner Services. I usually try scanning a link through at least two link scanner services before proceeding to open it. These excellent tools are available from some major companies in the cybersecurity industry, including VirusTotal, Norton SafeWeb, URLVoid, ScanURL and GoogleSafeBrowsing.
Use Antivirus and Antimalware Software. When you enable your antivirus or antimalware software, you can stay up to date on changing web protection updates. Real-time scanning can help you determine what actions you need to take immediately to protect your cyber world.
These 5 simple tips can help you develop the practice of clicking on links that are safe, so you can maintain peace of mind and avoid the risk of getting caught in the Cybermonster trap.
Do you test links before clicking?
Use the comment section below to share which suggestion is your favorite!