A new online tool has been launched to help people avoid online fraud by confirming whether a site is legitimate before they visit.

Internet safety group Get Safe Online has worked with fraud prevention service Cifas to create the website-checking tool, which enables users to enter the address of any website to check if it a real site or a scam.

The tool is hosted on the Get Safe Online website and 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.

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: “For over 15 years Get Safe Online has been providing online safety advice and tips for individuals and small businesses to ensure all of us can use the internet safely and with confidence.

“The internet is amazing, but as with so many things, there are downfalls to look out for when using it: scams, fraud, people trying to exploit you and your personal information.

“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.

“We are also hugely grateful to our partners who have helped to make it happen. 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.”