In order to prevent ourselves, as well as our family and friends, from being more susceptible to online scams, it is essential to understand how to identify organizations that we can trust.
One of the primary factors to consider when deciding whether to trust a company is its credibility, which can be verified through online research. The business being well-known could be a good indication that it is trustworthy; this can be determined by a simple search of its name. Despite this, according to the 2019 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report, there is still the possibility of being scammed by an imitation of an organization that is familiar to many people. Companies often impersonated for scams include the Social Security Administration, Publishers Clearing House, and Microsoft. Although it may be tempting to immediately trust businesses that are widely known, it is important to continue to be wary. In order to account for both situations, the most viable action to take is to also search “scam” along with the company name. Another option would be to read the description—often detailing patterns following that business—that bbb.org provides.
The content itself can also help one decide whether to trust the business or not. Many fraud websites have little to no photos of such components as the company building and employees; rather, they mainly include counterfeit logos and photos of their supposed products. In addition, it would be sensible to identify the method of paying. Trustworthy online businesses usually utilize “secondary electronic payment providers” such as Paypal and offer reimbursements if the transaction somehow fails. In contrast, illegitimate ones may only allow for payments through checks or cash and may request buyers to provide overly personal information.
Although we may not always be able to prevent scams from occurring, it is important to be aware and to take caution.