Spot online frauds and scams with these tips to save your personal information
Research the Company Name Plus “Scam”
Searching for the company name is a great first step to identifying scams. Look for a pattern – if there are many unhappy complaints, chances are the company is not legit.
Check for a Phone Number
Look on the website for a local or 800 number, then call it. If no one answers during normal business hours or you always get a voicemail, that is a red flag.
Look for a Physical Address
Never do business with a company that does not list its address or location. A P.O. Box does not count. Legitimate companies tell you exactly how to contact them.
Check the Copyright Date
Scroll down to the bottom of the website and search for a copyright date. If the website was built in 1998, for instance, you should see a copyright for 1998 to 2012. If the site still says “copyright 1998,” they may not even be in business anymore.
Look for Signs of Security
Websites that ask for personal information should be secure. Look at the website address; if it starts with an “http” instead of an “https,” do not share your info. Secure sites also have a lock symbol in the address bar.
Don't Fall for Impostors
What should you do if your bank sends an email asking you for your online banking password? Think about it – the bank should already have that information, right? This is a sure sign of a phishing scam. Never give out information that should already be had by the person asking for it. If you question whether a request for info is legit, call the company (in this case, the bank) directly.
Have you been the victim of an Internet scam? What tips do you have for avoiding them in the future? Share you advice with our readers in the comment section below.