Even the best security software can’t protect you from the headaches you’ll encounter if you click an unsafe link. Unsafe links appear to be shortcuts to funny videos, shocking news stories, awesome deals or “Like” buttons but often are designed to steal your personal information or hijack your computer. Here are some ways to check first:

1) With a mouse, hover over the link. The full URL of the link’s destination displays in the lower corner of your browser.

2) Use a tool like CheckShortURL to expand shortened links on social media to ensure that they go to the expected sites. Some URL shorteners give you the option of previewing the true destination. For example, if you have a bit.ly URL, simply add a “+” to the end of the URL to see the true destination, like this: http://bit.ly/10hVtvV+

3) Use link scanners, websites and plug-ins that allow you to enter the URL of a suspicious link and check it for safety. There are many free and reliable link scanners available such as URLVoid.

For more information:

(From The Florida Bar Practice Resource Institute and PC World)