Internet fraud has many forms, from retail websites that do not deliver, to phishing email for credit card or bank information, to technical support cheats that take over the desktop and everything in between. However, they share a common goal: to extract money or personal data from an unsuspecting user.
If you come across something that seems sketchy, then here you can check it out before you spend your money.
Three Signs That A Website Is Legitimate
Hopefully, most websites you encounter are legitimate. There are two quick ways to tell, plus one that requires just a bit more leg work.
first URLs that begin with "https" mean that the site is a secure site. This means it is encrypted with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates that protect private data traveling between a data server and a browser.
2nd In addition, some websites are independently certified to be secure by displaying trust such as Norton Secured Seal (managed by DigiCert) or McAfee Secure certification (managed by TrustedSite). In China, an Internet Content Provider (ICP) license indicates that a website is registered with the government and may operate.
3. Check WHOIS information for website owners names and locations. As defined by the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) organization, WHOIS is not an acronym. It literally means, "Who is responsible for a domain name or IP address?"
Go to WHOIS and enter a URL in the search box and then click the Lookup button. ICANN displays the WHOIS information on that site, unless the site is protected by a domain's privacy service (also called a proxy protection service).
Note the date of site creation: Older sites that have been around for a long time are usually considered.
Finding fraudulent websites
2nd Check the location information on the website – that is, the phone number, address, e-mail address etc. are valid. This is simple enough to check with an internet search or call phone number.
3rd To find out if a website is suspicious, check out the Better Business Bureau, the Consumer Protection Agency, the Federal Trade Commission, or one of many Internet fraud detection lists for complaints or incidents of fraud.
Rules of thumb
You can't be too awake when shopping online, especially if you start digging into obscure websites through internet search.
first Read the fine print on customer agreements, agreements, product information and return policies. I know these contracts are long and tedious, but it is worth your time if it saves you from being swindled.
2nd Don't be fooled by incredible prices. If it's too good to be true, it probably isn't.
3rd Read customer reviews on that site, but don't be fooled by an incredible number of good reviews. First read the bad reviews and pay attention to what the customers say. If there are many bad reviews, companies hire people to write hundreds of "fake" good reviews in the hope that a case of goodness will interrupt the negative responses. Customers tend to complain more than compliments, so believe the complaints, especially if the reviewer provides contact information for further discussion.
Companies that personally address bad reviews and offer to get a refund, replacement product or agree to discuss a resolution are worth a second chance. At least they try to keep their customers happy.
4th Check the delivery options and the shipping company. If the company is unknown to you, or if it does not contain tracking numbers or a reasonable delivery time frame, find another supplier. Recognized companies use well-known, reliable supplier contractors such as USPS, FedEx, UPS and DHL.
5th Always pay with a credit card, as you can question the fees if you are deceived by an unethical company or if one of these companies sells your card number to a third party that makes a number of unauthorized charges. Most banks treat debit cards with the same courtesy. If your bank follows this, a debit card can be a safe alternative.
NOTE: Federal laws limit unauthorized charges to $ 50 if your account is misused.
6th Do not click on email links for special "offers", shopping or prices, and reveal absolutely no personal information such as credit card or bank account numbers, passwords or user IDs for any of these email campaigns. If you receive an email campaign, use a search engine to check the site's URL. Visit the site directly through your browser and then search for the marketing product on the site.
7th Another practical trick is to validate email links. Hover over the link so that the actual URL is displayed in a popup box. If the promotional ad says "Win a Free Trip to Paris" and the actual URL doesn't show anything like a valid contest or travel agency, it's probably a scam.
8. Hackers often cut users' address books and send out infected e-mails that appear to be from friends, family or colleagues. Never open an email attachment unless you know a person or organization sending the attachment, or if you expect an attachment as a result of a previous arrangement. Although both of these are true, you should still call or email the sender and confirm that they intended to send an email attachment.