Are You Dealing With a Scam? How to Know the Difference

In the Internet Age, scam artists and companies have it both easier and harder than they did in prior decades. On the one hand, finding an audience is incredibly easy with clever search engine marketing and “grabby” headlines/ads. On the other hand, consumers have more resources now than ever before to do their research and crosscheck what a company says about itself online.

In the past, for example, if a door-to-door salesman showed up at your house, all you really knew was whatever the salesman told you. You either trusted him or you didn’t. Maybe you would have a phone number to call for more information, but that phone number would be a direct line to the company that the salesman represented. If the company was a scam company, you wouldn’t ever know.

These days, when you hear about a new product or service (either online or in person), it’s easy to perform a quick Google search to gather more information. However, sometimes it can be difficult to know if a company is real or fake. Oftentimes there are online reviews that go both ways. Some people say it’s a scam while others say it’s the Real McCoy. How can you be sure?

Authoritative Resources for Double Checking

We recommend these resources, which provide definitive, bottom-line answers that you can trust…

BBB.org: You should always check to see if a company is registered with the Better Business Bureau. Though registration is not required, it’s a smart membership that just about any truly ethical company will have.

USchamber.com: Many stand-up businesses have good relations with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Check this site to see if the company you’re interested in is associated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Remember, many startups – even legitimate ones – won’t have BBB memberships. This doesn’t mean you should discount them altogether. Do your research and be smart. Your instinct won’t lead you astray!

What to Do If You Have Been Scammed

If this resource list is reaching you too late, then you need to take follow-up action and seek legal restitution. Use the following resources and definitely consider filing a complaint on Complaints List:

USA.gov is a great one-stop place for consumers who have complaints against unethical businesses.
FTC Consumer Protection Services is another great federal site that can provide additional resources and support for you.

Also, check out this ComplaintsList.com page, which provides specific websites and resources for each state.

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