Online scams are more prevalent than ever in this technological age. You don't have to be in a constant state of paranoia, however. Here are some easy ways to evade Online scams and safeguard your wallet, identity, and sanity. To make it even simpler, I've come up with an easy to remember acronym to keep in mind for those times when you are not sure if you've encountered a scam:
It spells out SCAM! How easy to remember is that?
Search the internet (search engines are always a good idea) for more information about the product/service. There are many forums where you can check to see if a scam has been reviewed or not. Perhaps one of the most notable is Scam.com. You can browse the site's many different categories of scams such as Internet, Investment, Pyramid, Religious, Data Entry scams and so on. Search for similar products/services on other sites and, if possible, testimonials.
This is crucial in avoiding Online scams. Make sure you check a website's certifications to make sure that it is legitimate before you buy a product/service from them. The most common certification is one from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Look for the seals of certification at the bottom of a webpage. Also, check that the site is secure. Even when using a secure payment system like PayPal, it is possible that personal information can be acquired through purchases on a site that is not secure. Look for the prefix "Https" (especially when making purchases on the site) to know that you are browsing a site in a secure session.
Does the webmaster give an email address? If so, try sending an email and see if they respond in a timely manner. If they respond using poor english, an autoresponder replies for them, or they do not reply at all, that is a hint that you should be wary of that website. Ask yourself questions as well and see if they can be found in the FAQ (Frequently Answered Questions) section. If there is no "Contact Us" or "FAQ", that is another sign that you should not trust the site to handle transactions.
Does the site ask you to pay a subscription fee for information? Are you asked to pay a "One Time Fee"? If so, do not give your money or information without going through the steps.
Other Things to be Wary Of
- Fake reviews: Some sites actually assign people the task of making fake splash pages with fake reviews. Watch out for these.
- Fake certifications: Make sure to find out as much as you can about the webmaster.
- Fake promises: Everyone knows this - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Whether you're shopping online, working online, or just surfing the web, keep these things in mind and you won't have to worry about ever being scammed!