In this day and age, virtually anything can be purchased online. While it may seem like an ideal circumstance for the consumer, it can get a bit tricky at times. As with all money-making platforms, the world of e-commerce has a lot of scammers looking to trick you out of money and personal information. Here are a few ways that you can determine which online businesses should not be trusted.
If you are searching for a business’ credibility and cannot find any reviews at all, a red flag should go up immediately. Most legitimate businesses have at least some feedback, whether on Google, social media, YouTube or another popular platform. Also, beware of businesses with fraudulent reviews. These are usually easy to spot as they often document overexaggerated and unconvincingly enthusiastic responses in efforts to bait potential customers. You will also find that the overplayed reviews look similar to one another and there often isn’t a negative comment in sight, which is unrealistic for a legit business.
Shady or Unfamiliar Web Addresses
If the URL looks suspicious or is overly complicated, exit the site immediately. Many times, scam businesses will borrow the name of another business in order to trick people into thinking that they are that company. A common way of doing this is by taking the name of a popular business and misplacing a letter. This small change often goes undetected, causing one to purchase from the illegitimate company. Also, if a site does not have “https://” at the beginning of it, it is should not be trusted. Scammers will often leave it out or use “http//” or something similar instead.
If the business page is loaded with strange, unrelated content like paid ads, pop-ups, or links that lead you to suspicious places, it should not be trusted. This is not only a sure indication that the business is not credible, but also, giving in to this strange activity could attach certain viruses or even allow online hackers to access important information stored on your computer.
Requests for Personal Information
It is normal to require billing information and a phone number to process your purchases, but if said retailer requests personal information such as an SSN or a driver’s license number, the business may be untrustworthy.
Questionable Customer Service
If you are hesitant about making a purchase online, try calling the customer service line and asking a series of questions, including information on the refund policy. If you have a sketchy exchange with the representative or fail to reach one after attempting to make contact, take your business elsewhere.
Though there are many legitimate online businesses, there are just as many dishonest ones. Always keep an eye out when doing business with new companies and steer clear of any with a questionable nature.
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