Protecting Yourself From Scams

I have been wanting to write this post for about a year after many massage therapists found themselves a victim of a scam, fraud and identity theft last year.

How do you know if you are buying something from someone who is an honest person?

How do you know if someone will just take your credit card and keep charging it for goods not received or use it to buy other things for themselves?

How do you keep yourself safe from the many online scams and scammers trying to take advantage of you online especially?

Think and investigate before you leap into a purchase.  Just because someone has a website and a Facebook/Twitter account to go along with it does not make them legit.   Here are some things to look for:

  1. First up, the person will clearly identify themselves and have pictures of themselves on the about page of the website.   If they don’t say who they are, ask them.  If they don’t want to tell you be skeptical.  If they are not up front, they usually have something to hide.
  2. Check the whois.com listing for the domain to see if their name matches who owns the domain.  We do have domain privacy now so that is not always an indicator.  Domain privacy helps today because so many scammers will start contacting you because of your public domain listing.
    Choo
  3. If they have a Facebook page, check to see if they are a real person. Often scammers will use stock photos and will also steal photos from other places online.  You can take a photo and put it into Google Images and check to see where else it shows up on the internet.https://images.google.com/
    Google Image Search

     Choose a Search Option :
    – Paste Image URL when you have the url of the picture

    –  Upload an image (First Download image and save to your computer from Facebook profile or Website) and upload image in question.

    googleimagesearch2
    Click Search and look at Results

  4.  Be suspicious of unknown people who just start following you or request Friend status.
  5. Be suspicious of emails sent to you from unknown sources.  (A recent scammer started hitting on massage therapists to sell soap.)
  6. Check their Facebook profiles/pages.  A reputable business owner with a Business Facebook page, will have show their personal profile in the About tab on the Facebook Timeline.
  7. Look to see who their friends are on Facebook.  Look and see what pages they have liked.  Check to see what Groups they belong too – if they belong to groups like Get More Friends, 1000 likes in one day, etc

What to do?

  • File a complaint with the Internet Crime Division : http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
  • File a complaint with your Local Attorney Generals Office
  • Call your local police department if they are local.