Is This A Scam?

November 12 2013 by Borja Saldana

Some Tips And Resources For Identifying And Fighting Internet Fraud

FAKE COMPANIES WEBSITES Many scam artists will construct a real-looking website, complete with all the bells and whistles and certificates. Their idea is simple: If people see it on the internet then it must be real, right? Here are some of the things to look for when you’re checking out a website… Are they registered? Where? In most (if not all) countries, financial institutions and services (banks, escrow companies, insurers, etc) are required to be registered with the proper authorities and / or regulatory bodies. For example, if a bank in the USA is not registered with FDIC, they’re not real. Any legitimate business will be delighted (and is often required) to provide you with the details of who they’re registered with and how to verify such registration. Only a scammer will provide things like excuses or take offense to the question when you ask them to verify their legitimacy.

Links to other sites: Many fake sites (just like the real sites) will put little symbols like FDIC, VeriSign, major credit cards, and other official-looking images on their pages. Try clicking on any of them: If they’re legitimate they’ll take you right to that business’s page and verify that the business you’re dealing with is authorized to use the logo. If the click doesn’t take you anywhere, that’s because it’s fake.

How and when they want payment: That can be a huge indicator. Firstly, if they require payment before giving you any verification of anything, it’s a scam for sure. Their method of payment will tell you a lot too: If payment is to be made to an individual instead of to the company, something is wrong. If payment is only to be made by Western Union or Moneygram, something is definitely wrong!

Are they a copy of another site? This is easy to figure out. Just go to and type their web address in the box, then hit the “Go” button. A list of sites with similar or matching content will show up on the screen. If the business you’re dealing with has exactly the same content as several other sites on the web, that’s a pretty good indication that they’re a fake. Scammers love to copy other website designs, mostly because they’re too stupid and lazy to write their own material. Note: Not every site that copies its content is a fraud operation, but it’s something to look for.

Personal Information: Lots of websites ask for personal info like name, address, phone number, even birth dates and credit card numbers. So how can you tell if they’re real or not? One way is to look at the address right above the page. If the page address starts with “http”, you are not on a secure page and should leave immediately. No legitimate business collects personal information without a security certificate – ever.