websites of BBB approved businesses.
How to Check and Find Out If a
Website Is Legitimate or Not
You find a site that you'd like to do business with and you wish to verify and determine that it's 100% legitimate before actually ordering, buying, asking for a quote, requesting for more information or doing anything concrete.
But how can you really tell? Are there any predicting factors that can help you confirm whether a website deserves your trust? Are there any major telling signs that may help us know whether a certain company or offer is legit?
We've compiled a list of general guidelines and tips that will enable anyone to better judge how safe (or not) a site is.
If the company you're checking fails several of these checklist's factors, it's a pretty good indication to move elsewhere and look for a different alternative.
>> Check The Site's Contact Information
Can you easily find the full contact info of the business: official company name, physical address, phone numbers, fax numbers, email (or contact form), etc.
Difficulty to come up with a business's contact info is a main cause for concern.
>> Can You Reach Customer Support By Phone?
Give it a shot even before doing business with the site.
Does anybody answer the phone during regular business hours or are you being directed to a voicemail box?
If you're being answered by a real person, ask a few questions and see if you're getting a satisfactory response.
>> Does The Site Look Professional?
Is it professionally built and designed? Do all the links actually work?
Does it contain typos, spelling or grammatical errors?
All these are important indicators for reliability.
>> Verify The Website's Certifications
Various third-party certifications may be a good indication of increased security, privacy or good business reputation.
Click on those seals and confirm that they are authentic.
If the seals are not clickable and they don't link to the certification or seal provider's web page, it's a red flag and their authenticity is questionable.
>> Look For a BBB Listing
Search for the company's rating on the BBB website.
If it doesn't have even a basic listing, it's a bad sign.
Having a poor grade and lots of customer complaints on their record is also a bad indication.
On the other hand, if a site has BBB accreditation, the business is legitimate.
>> Read The Site's Terms & Conditions
Make sure that nothing is buried in the fine print.
It often contains critical info like how the product or service will be provided and delivered and the company's return policy.
>> Check If The Website Is Secure
Sites that take payment through credit cards must have SSL security so all the information that you enter will be properly encrypted.
Secured payment pages will always begin with "https" instead of the usual "http" at the beginning of the site's URL.
>> Do Some Research
Throw the website's name or domain to your favorite search engine and snoop around.
Look for information, reviews and testimonials about the company and evaluate customer satisfaction.
In conclusion, in order to identify a dubious website, the user needs to develop a highly critical eye, pay attention to fine details and do some research online.
Following the above guidelines will help keep you safe and significantly decrease the chance of falling victim to a scammer.