Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategy

How To Avoid Online Scams

Photo by: GreythingIf someone you know contacts you and tells you that he has a guaranteed way for you to make money online, it’s probably a scam. I’m not accusing your friend of trying to rip you off, it could be that he has been duped into believing in the scam himself. Be careful.

Here’s eight ways to avoid being scammed online. Anyone looking for a job should pay close attention to this post too. Scam artists are after you first, then you do their dirty work and your friends become victims too.

These scams both online and offline tend to make victims waste so much of their time, and in some cases their money, that they can’t admit to themselves that they are in too deep. It’s part guilt and part denial. A great film about this seedy technique is Great World Of Sound, but I digress.

Today I was contacted by someone I don’t really know on Facebook via chat. He told me about a new great service being launched today that would definitely make me money. I researched it for him, because it didn’t sound right.

If you’re given an offer that sounds too good to be true it most likely is. However, if you really want to test the legitimacy of the offer keep reading…

1. Search for the company on RipoffReport.com, Snopes.com and Scams.com. Also, a simple Google search for the company may raise some red flags right away.

2. Look at the company’s website footer. They will likely have copyright information, perhaps a parent company. Note the parent company name and domain. (Repeat Step 1. and search for the other company name).

3. Read their privacy policy and terms of service. While these documents are often painful to read, it’s a lot more painful to have your time and money wasted.

4. Find out who owns the company’s domain by visiting:
www.whois.net/whois/ENTER_URL_HERE.com. The results should reveal who owns the domain and contact information. Is there a person’s name? Google the name of the person who owns it. The results may find the person’s LinkedIn account, personal website or other businesses. Search for those businesses in the same way as above. Anything shady? You should also note the email address on the person’s contact information, if it’s JohnSmith@BLAHBLAH.com, you should also search BLAHBLAH.com.

5. Use the power of social media to find out if it’s legit. Search for the company name on Twitter Search and Facebook’s search engine. What are your friends, fans and followers saying?

6. Search the company name in Google Blog Search. See what the blogosphere is talking about.

7. Check Yahoo! Answers and Get Satisfaction. If the answers to questions about the company are supportive and positive, you should pay special attention here. Click on each user who has posted something in the company’s favor, note how many questions they have answered previously. If it’s their first and only answer, or if they have answered many questions about the company then they may be a shill.

8. Go with your gut. Ask your loved ones and friends what they think.

Have you ever been a victim of an online scam? Do you have any tips of your own?

Photo by: Greything on Flickr

Dave

http://www.davemadethat.com

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