How to Report a Website Scam
Victim of a Website Scam? Help Others Stay Safe!
Scam websites abound. It is often hard to tell the difference between a legitimate site and those hoping to steal personal information. However, here are some steps to help decipher between scam websites and safe ones.
Find a Real Person
Start with some simple verification techniques. Call, write or email those listed on the contacts page and make sure you haven’t been redirected to some bogus web address. If getting in touch with a breathing entity doesn’t occur, then it’s safe to assume you’ve landed on a scam.
In addition, if the address at the top doesn’t match where you thought you were going, get out quick!
There are several online tools that help validate a site. Consider using
Google Safe Browse or Whois. These sites are specifically designed to provide you with reports on the site you’re researching. They will tell you who owns it, what country the owner is located in and other useful information.
HTTP vs. HTTPS
Check to see if Google has verified the site and if it uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to protect you. These bits of information help to establish a site’s validity significantly. If you’re unfamiliar with SSL, just make sure the web address starts with https rather than http.
Check the Images and Content
Read through the site. Look at the pictures. If the content is original then there’s hope. If it seems like a cut and paste job, or if the pictures don’t match the subject matter you should be hesitant to continue.
This includes reading all the fine-print-contractual-bits to make sure the services rendered are aligned with the organization.
Search for a Bad Review
As a last attempt at verification, type the company’s name into a search engine. See what’s out there on the web.
Also, check with the Better Business Bureau. A lot of scam websites have been exposed already.
If bad reviews show up when you use the search engine or browse through the BBB, you’ll know for certain. That’s when things get really interesting. Bad sites need to be exposed. People need to know how to report a website!
How to Report a Website
People are hesitant to report consumer fraud. They might be worried about the backlash they’ll receive from the company or embarrassed about the fact they became a victim.
However, if you implement online fraud prevention techniques—which involves reporting a website scam—you can help other people stay safe too. It’s important to put your own personal hesitations aside in order to bring the fraudster to justice.
- Even if you aren’t 100% sure, it is important to report internet fraud. Drawing attention to suspicious behaviors could end scams before they begin.
- There are a number of places you can seek out help. Facebook and eBay have their own security methods that will allow you to report hacking, spam, scams and other unscrupulous issues therein.
- If you discover you are a victim of identity theft, there’s an organization partnered with the FBI ready to assist you. The Internet Crime Complaint Center deals with major cyber-crimes like extortion and financial espionage.
- For less serious issues, you can share your concerns with the Better Business Bureau. They are interested in hearing about internet retailer problems, email scams, fictitious and malicious internet marketing, etc.
- If you’ve actually handed money over to the fraudster, contact eConsumer Services® via the form to the right. By utilizing our extensive merchant network, we’ll work on your behalf to get a refund quickly and efficiently.
- An informed consumer is a powerful consumer. Don’t let scammers rip you off and don’t venture blindly onto any website. Learn to recognize scam websites and then help others stay safe too.