Don’t fall into the numerous online traps.
Let’s be honest, for every legitimate website online, there are probably a few sites that aren’t quite so trustworthy. If you have ever looked into making money from the internet or buying some cheap item, I am sure you have seen a few sites that didn’t make you feel very safe. Hopefully, you didn’t fall into a scam.
However, the fact is that people fall into scams every single day. Here are some tips to avoid this in your online journey:
1 – Anytime You Are Prompted For A Payment – Be Weary
This point is especially true for membership websites or websites that offer you the opportunity to make money. Many of them say that they will teach you how to make cash online or let you in on some secret for a small price.
The fact is, many of these sites are just trying to make a few bucks themselves and don’t provide you with any true value.
I have seen this a lot in the industry that I am in: paid surveys. Many online survey panels offer you the ability to make tons of money, but then require an upfront payment to join the program. While these aren’t ALL scams, I generally don’t recommend signing up for them.
By paying up front, you are not giving yourself a chance to try out the program and make your own decision.
2 – Do Your Research
With the abundance of research available on the web, it is really foolish to jump into anything that you are skeptical about without doing thorough research.
Try looking up whether or not the site is an accredited Better Business Bureau member. See if there are any reports of scams on the web. Maybe check Wikipedia to see if the website is legitimate.
There are TONS of ways to investigate online, so you should be sure to use them.
3 – Read The Ratings and Reviews
Now, you can’t ALWAYS trust ratings and reviews online. Who knows if someone really wrote them or if they were placed as a marketing campaign. However, if you see consistency in a certain review across numerous sites, you may want to investigate further.
Coupled with your prior research, you will be able to form an accurate judgement about the product or service.
4 – Ask Your Friends and Family
Consulting your immediate network is a great way to get honest feedback and opinions on a product or service. They are the ones who are going to give you the most trustworthy information.
Consider posting a question about the product at hand on Facebook or Twitter. For example, “has anyone tried XYZ product? Any thoughts”. Chances are, if someone in your immediate network has experience, they will be more than willing to reach out and help you out with some info.
5- Ask the Website Directly
This is an often-overlooked technique to figure out if something is a scam. Simply find a contact email on the website and send your concerns. Certainly, if the website IS a scam they are not going to tell you, but the speediness and thoroughness of the response will give you a great indication. For example, if the website never responds, you might want to think twice about them. On the other hand, if they respond with detailed answers to your question, you might gain a bit more trust for the company.
Use Multiple Techniques
Don’t just rely on one of these methods when trying to avoid scams. Use all of these methods combined to get a full picture of a company and protect yourself online.
The fact is, there will always be scams and unethical business practices online, but by sticking to these tips you will minimize the risk of falling into one of these traps.