By Shedrach Kongvong
The world is becoming smaller because of the use of internet. There are more opportunities online now than there are offline. However, for every good thing there is a counterfeit. This means that there are fake websites that are out there to scam you of your hard earned money in the name of investment websites.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines scam as ‘an illegal plan of making money, especially one that involves tricking people’. businessdictionary.com defines it as ‘a fraudulent scheme performed by a dishonest individual, a group or company in an attempt to obtain money or something else of value’.
Knowing how to identify such websites and know the genuine ones will greatly improve your security as you use the internet especially for financial purposes. Below are important things which will help you in identifying scam websites.
- A scam website does not provide contact details: If you want to do anything with a website, the first thing you should check is whether they have valid contact information for the website such as email address at the least. Such email address should have a custom domain name e.g. @naijalearn.com not @gmail.com or @yahoo.com. Email addresses with free domain names are easy to delete so the scammers use them so that they can delete once they get you.
Though so many legitimate websites especially media houses still use gmail, yahoo etc, but it is very common with scam websites. So if your favourite website is still using free email, as long as they have reputation and history, you have nothing to worry about.
2. Scam websites don’t have presence on social media: If a website is genuine, they will have links to other websites and social media such as Facebook, Twitter and the rest. Check to see if they have anything like that. Do their staff have profiles on Linkedin? Scammers wouldn’t want to show their identities too much so the absence of such people on social media is a big red flag.
3. Is the company registered with the appropriate authorities? Check to see if the company is registered with regulatory authorities. If they are not registered then be careful until you have sufficient information to prove otherwise before proceeding with what you want to do.
4. Check how long the company has been in operation: Scammers don’t hang around for too long to avoid being found out. Check the company details to find out for how long they have been in existence. Lack of this information is also something of concern that should make you hold back. The longer a company has been around the better. Go with older companies than with younger ones.
5. Check reviews: There are websites dedicated to reviewing other websites. Type the name of the website and add reviews on google e.g. “naijalearn reviews’. You will then see all the comments people are posting about the company and the website. This will tell you clearly if you should continue with what you want to do or not. Although some of the sites do not post accurate information, it is still a good way of verifying if a company is genuine or its website is genuine.
With this information it should be easy for you to tell which company websites are real and which ones are scams. The list is not exhaustive though so you should do more research because internet scam is real and you have to be careful not to fall for such scam. Stay safe!.