FEBRUARY 2013: How can you tell if a shortened URL link will send you someplace scary? Expand before you leap!
Shortened URLs are redirects from original web pages. If a web page has a long or confusing address, you can assign it a shorted URL using a shortening service like Bitly.com or goo.gl (Google’s URL shortener). Anyone who clicks on your shortened URL will be automatically redirected to your page. It’s great for social media.
But tech-savvy frogs know that fraudsters use shorteners, too. Which means their links can take you anywhere, including pages designed to automatically download nasty malware onto your lovely device.
To find out if a shortened link is legitimate, paste it into a free URL expander and worry about shortened links no more! You can find out a little information about it, or a lot, depending on which expander you choose. Here are four good options:
1. Where Does This Link Go? shows you the actual long URL.
2. LongURL also shows you the webpage title, keywords and meta description (content summary).
3. CheckShortURL also checks to see if the expanded URL has been listed as suspicious.
4. unFurlr will show you the path that gets you from the shortened URL to the long one, including the HTTP headers for the destination page and an analysis of the domain.