7 Tips to Tell If an Online Biz Is Safe

Deceptive Web Sites

The Internet may be fertile ground for some innovative new startup companies, but it is also a breeding place for deceptive businesses. In recent years, users have fallen victim to many sites that promise to auction or sell you goods only to fail in delivering it once you’ve handed over the money. Other sites are particularly devious and will actually imitate reputable organizations. One of the more notable examples is IRS.com, a site that masqueraded as the official site of the IRS (which is actually IRS.gov) and tricked customers into paying for services that the real IRS offers for free. Last month, the Federal Trade Commission decided to educate consumers by creating a series of fake sites illustrating some popular online scams. There’s FatFoe, an online business that claims to be the long-awaited diet solution that relies on a mysterious eggplant extract, and Esteemed Lending Services, which promises to give you a loan regardless of your credit history. Fortunately, there are several telltale signs for deciphering whether an online business is trustworthy. We reached out to SiteJabber for a few tips and added in a couple of our own. SiteJabber is a consumer protection service that allows Internet users to rate and avoid deceptive Web sites. Photo Credit: Don Hankins