Internet marketing can be an amazing way to earn money online, but it’s also rife with scammers who want to take your hard-earned cash from you in exchange for nothing. Unfortunately, many people fall victim to these scams and end up losing large sums of money. To help you avoid being a victim of Internet scams, we talked to two techies Raghib Khan and Faisal Abidi, and gathered this list of scam signals and best practices to help you spot the potential frauds before they get their hands on your hard-earned cash!
Do your research
The internet is full of opportunities if you’re willing to put in a little work first. Be sure that any program you join is legitimate. Start by reading reviews—and not just on their official site. Sometimes people share their experiences on sites like Yelp or Reddit to help others avoid scams. It’s also a good idea to search online for any complaints against companies you are considering working with.
Trust your gut
Our gut reactions tend to be right more often than not—but it takes time for them to develop. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into creating trust in a community. The result is a trustworthy community or network. If you’re considering joining an online community, do some research on what people are saying about it before diving in. There may be red flags like spam activity, frauds and scams taking place within the network itself, or reports from other members unhappy with their experience.
If you’re doing business online, especially on sites like eBay or Craiglist where scammers abound, it pays to use Google’s search tools. Do a Google search with quotation marks around your keywords (searching for for sale instead of simply for sale). This will eliminate spam results. For extra credit go into Google settings and turn on SafeSearch Filtering—this makes sure adult content doesn’t show up in your search results.
Research their website
Before promoting a business’s product or service on your own website, do some research. Browse their website for any hints of fraud or spam—things like multiple spelling mistakes, broken links on their homepage or in contact information pages are surefire signs that something is off. If you’re unsure about anything else, just ask.
Research their domain name
It may sound silly, but anyone can buy a domain name for their company or product. The best way to avoid purchasing leads from fraudulent companies is by researching their domain name (the URL of their website). If they’re operating with a clearly deceptive or unprofessional-looking domain name (i.e., if it’s spelled wrong or if it ends in .cn instead of .com), chances are high they’re committing fraud or running a scam business.
Check for red flags (and check again!)
If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always check for red flags that could mean you’re about to be spammed (or scammed) or contacted by someone who’s not quite on the up-and-up. Beware of these warning signs to Avoid Scams: Upfront costs—You should never have to pay upfront costs before receiving a product or service.
The dark side of the web
No one likes spam. But it’s all too easy to open your email inbox each morning, load your Facebook feed, or search for something online to come across a scam or two. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. We can learn how to avoid spam in marketing by remembering four simple rules: 1) Question everything 2) Think for yourself 3) Do your research 4) Stay informed.