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Here's how to check where that short link leads to

Because you shouldn’t click every link you come across.

Image: Shutterstock/Volodymyr Krasyuk

THERE’S NO SHORTAGE of web links that are shortened or claim to go one place but end up elsewhere.

You might not think it’s as important now since we carry out more of our internet activity through apps, but there will be times where you’re unsure as to where a link leads to. It could be a random message you’ve received on Facebook or WhatsApp, or an email, and depending on the sender, it could be a straightforward link or something more malicious.

Your instincts will tell you whether it’s a link worth clicking on, an email from an unknown source is going to set alarm bells ringing, but how do you check without risking yourself?

The easiest way to check is to simply hover your mouse pointer over the link itself and see the URL pop up at the bottom. All browsers do this and even if it doesn’t, hovering over it will eventually bring a popup URL for you to see.

If it’s a shortened URL, then you would likely need another way to check. The easiest method is to use a service like LongURL or Unshorten.it. Both will not only show you the original URL, but also a screenshot of the site and some additional information for context.

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Unshorten Source: Unshorten.it

It can be a bit of a pain to copy and paste a link just to make sure it goes somewhere secure, especially on mobile where copying a link is more difficult, but the extra time spent could save you a lot of hassle in the long-run.

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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