So many people are getting scammed these days, not just because of the explosion of scamming schemes in various forms but also because we forget to do some due diligence before proceeding.
Here are ten ways to check if a website is a scam or legitimate.
1. Check if the Website is Secure
You will need to check the URL or address of the website has an “s” after “http”. The “s” or the “https” would mean the website has some form of secured encryption employed in the processing of data. This does not mean a 100% safe site but is a basic security provision. There would still be some scam websites using a secured encryption so its best not to stop here.
2. Check the Grammar, Spelling, Punctuation of Words
An easy giveaway to a potentially hazardous and un-secure website would be if its words and statements come in broken english and/or poorly spelled our constructed sentences. Errors would usually mean haste in building the website or it wasn’t professionally done.
3. Check the Contact Page Details
By visiting the “Contact”, “Contact Us”, or even the “About” pages of the website you will be able to appraise whether the website has some form of physical location attached to its existence. If this is present, you can proceed to do further verifications on the physical location with Google Maps.
You would also want to ensure there are multiple ways to contact the website and/or its administrators should there be any issue. An email, contact number, address, and social media links are basic contact information for any legitimate enterprise.
5. Cross-check with Social Media Pages
While checking the website, check the various social media presences of the company in facebook, instagram, twitter, and LinkedIn. A simple search of the website or company name will often times yield various reviews and posts from other people. This can instantly give you an idea whether the website product or service is legit and you can make a more informed decision.
6. Do a Basic Google Search
Yes, by doing a basic search in Google to the sound of “Is XXXX a scam?”, where XXXX is the name of the suspicious website name product/service, you will be able to see various posts in other websites that can help determine if it is indeed a scam.
Results from Quora often times come up if others have already suspected the website in the past.
7. Do a WHOIS Lookup
By doing a “WHOIS” search of the website address, you’d be able to get information on the website including who the domain name (website address) is registered to, where they are, and how long the website has been active. If the website was created fairly recently you could surmise it was done hastily and for the purpose of scamming the public.
A WHOIS Lookup or search is free. You can use one like this from DomainTools at https://whois.domaintools.com/
8. Use Free Online Scam Checking Tools
Run the website address or URL with the following free online checkers:
9. Check with SEC
Check the Philippines’ Security and Exchange Commision (SEC) Advisories page to see if the website has already been flagged as an illegal investment scheme or a scam. You can go further by contacting them directly through their website at https://www.sec.gov.ph or contacting their hotline at 02-8818-0921.
10. Ask Questions and Be Smart
Finally, you can always make sure to ask questions from whomever is referring you to take-up a scam offer through a website. Often times, if you they are hesitant to answer specific information or are “psyching you up” by persuading you with appeals to emotion or guilt tripping, you shouldn’t proceed. Knowledge is power and if you do the due diligence of ensuring the safety of any investment you’d save yourself from any scam.