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More and more people head straight online when they need a product or service. Among the legitimate businesses out there, a handful of people will try and take advantage of you. On the surface, they may appear legitimate, but you could lose time and money and gain a lot of stress if you get scammed.

Below we have listed three ways to try and avoid getting scammed. It never hurts to be vigilant.

scammed

1. Licenses

This one is something you need to do a bit of research for. Certain businesses and service companies need licenses in order to sell their wares.

If a business is unlicensed it means they aren’t necessarily a registered or even legitimate company. If a company is licensed it means they have met the minimum requirements the government has in place to provide their service or sell their product. It will also protect you as it means they have to perform their job according to the requirements set and that the business chosen has the correct insurance in place should something go wrong.

As mentioned, this will require a bit of research on your part. For more information on what licenses a business or contractor requires, have a look around online or ring the government sector to check. Also, if you are really worried about the legitimacy of a person you are hiring, ask them to prove they are licensed. If they have nothing to hide, they should be more than happy to produce documentation to prove they are up to date with their paperwork.

The work of an unlicensed contractor is often shoddy as they can get away with the bare minimum amount of effort. You are also left responsible for any injury or damage caused as they lack the correct insurance to cover them should the worst happen.

Always double check to save you stress, money having to fix mistakes and the possibility of getting scammed.

2. Website

This may sound like a weird thing but if you find a website that looks like it hasn’t been touched since 2001, maybe avoid it. Obviously, some business owners don’t update their site often so here are some things to look out for.

  • Secure sites: Computers nowadays often tell you when they think a site isn’t secure. Look at the address bar. If it doesn’t say https// it might not be a safe site. Also, in the address bar look for the little padlock. It is open or ‘unlocked’, the site isn’t secure. If this is the case don’t put personal details like your address or payment details in.
  • Poor grammar and spelling: Everyone makes mistakes, but if there are a lot of problems with spelling and grammar, get out of there. You could be stepping into a trap.
  • Contact information: Make sure the contact info for the site is legit. Do they pick up the phone? Do they have pre-made emails or do they answer your specific needs? Do they only have online communication? Go in cautiously and suss out what’s real and what’s not.

3. Is it too good to be true?

We have all seen amazing deals online that we couldn’t resist. Some sites like Amazon, eBay and other eCommerce megastores have online deals like ‘2 for 1’ or Black Friday sales. However, when it comes to smaller sites where things look a little sketchy, some deals are just too good to be true.

If the deal looks like it’s a little perfect, walk away. If you find a company offering roofing for a crazy low price or find the latest smartphone at a massive discount, walk away. Don’t put in your details and don’t give any money.

To add to this, if you get an email from a site you don’t know with a coupon for some free samples or a huge discount, there is a chance it could be fake.

Conclusion

The simple takeaway from this is to always be careful and always do your research. There are unfortunately a lot of scammers online – only give your details and payment information to trusted sources and it will be easier to avoid getting scammed.