Every day, robocalls, scam sites, and con artists plague society with their misleading ways. For as long as we’ve been civilized, cons have been around, duping people of their money. Today, fake entrepreneurs bother us with fake calls, text, emails, and most importantly, scam sites (or links). Because working hard for your wealth is overrated, these bottom-feeders wave enticing offers in our face, hoping we’ll take the bait. Also, who’s behind these spam calls and texts? Admittingly, it can be hard to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fake. However, GREY will teach you how to look out for scam sites and avoid falling for the trap! Here are some of the most common methods that scammers use.
Unfortunately, the internet made it a lot easier for cons to put out spam sites and messages. And, anyone can advertise on the web, whether it’s legit or not. Even legitimate websites could contain illegitimate ads, so you have to be careful no matter what site you’re on. Be especially aware on Facebook/Instagram as 3rd parties can collect your information and use it to craft bait tailored to you. The end result when facing a scammer varies. Either way, they have your card information and you don’t have your product. Or, your product will be of very poor quality. One of the most common types is the fake clothing store site. You see a cute shirt for only $10, and eagerly add it to your cart. You throw in a couple of other clothes because they’re so cheap. But alas, your “cute shirt” will either be god-awful or nonexistent. Avoid this by doing a little research! Often, these “brands” will offer the same products under different names.
Another tactic that can be used is the scare tactic. Emails such as “Act now or your account will be closed” are used by scammers to scare people into clicking that link or putting in their card information. Remember, these bad guys want two things: to hack into your device, and/or your credit card information.
Also, please be aware of fake job offers. Many fake entrepreneurs will offer “assistant jobs” or something along those lines. They typically offer about $500 a week with flexible hours. However, what actually happens is that they’ll send a fraudulent check for you to buy Visa gift cards with, which you then send to them. If there’s no interview or if they don’t ask about experience, run! Mainly college students suffer from this.
How to Avoid Scam Sites
Always use your best judgment as there is an overlap between well-made fake websites and low-quality legit websites. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Cons will advertise a highly-desired item for an extremely low price. It may be under the disguise of a sale. Typically, the ads themselves look legit, which is why it’s so easy to accidentally fall for it. However, if the website looks something like this:
Then it’s probably fake. These sites will be littered with ads, chat boxes, and pop-up boxes. It’ll be obnoxiously in your face. If you’re still not sure, send an e-mail. If there is none or no reply, that’s a red flag. Another thing to check for is the address. I’ve learned this personally: you may think that your product is coming from New York, California, or somewhere else in the U.S., but it’s actually coming from China. Then, the tracking link doesn’t want to work and the product won’t be there for a month, if that. Another sign is the models they use and photos. If you look closely, the models/photos look totally photoshopped. Every company photoshops, but if it’s to a degree where it looks fake, then it is. Lastly, look out for exaggerations. They are used in order to distract you from their shadiness. Over-the-top awards, tall tale comments, and claims such as “Over 1 million sold!” are probably a lie. Again, use your best judgement, and be safe!
Sometimes you can luck out and buy something online from a random social media ad and it works. Again, this isn’t a one-size-fits all guideline. After all, clothing stores like Shein look fake but they’re legit (although their products are not EXACTLY as pictured, but close enough). But, there are lot of fake websites and entrepreneurs out there, just waiting to take your money or to hack into your computer. If you can’t verify that it’s a legit site, block it out.
Let us know if you’ve had any experience with scammers or if you have any tips that others should be aware of! Be safe out there!
This article originally published on GREY Journal.