Avoiding viruses and other online dangers while surfing the Internet requires constant vigilance. The most common way scammers install malware on your computer or steal your identity is to get you to click on a link that connects you to a dangerous site.

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You can protect yourself by never clicking a link that goes to a site you don't recognize. But more and more legitimate links use Web address-shortening abbreviations that make it impossible to know where the link actually goes. For example, many genuine links that have been shortened begin with bit.ly, tinyurl or, in Newsday's case, nwsdy.li. The shorter links are used to make it easier to remember or because the original link is too long to print.

How can you tell if a shortened link is legitimate? Go to longurl.org and paste the shortened link in the search box. It will expand the abbreviated address and give you the full original link.