The internet is a wonderful place to do business. It’s fast and easy, and has a global reach unlike any other consumer channel ever created.
However, like anything cool (and powerful) … there are also drawbacks and dangers.
One of the most worrisome things about doing business online is the sheer multitude of scammers out there.
From Nigerian princes begging for help in transferring their recently deceased father’s estate, to Chinese manufacturing plants offering to unload excess inventory for pennies on the dollar, there’s so many things that sound just too good to be true… and they almost always are!
The internet is an amazing tool for communication and global commerce, but you need to exercise proper diligence and keep your wits about you. It’s the timeless, “better to be safe than sorry.” Do your homework and look into who you’re doing business with.
Most people online that have been around for a while will have a long trail of reviews and testimonials. Keep in mind though, that with the internet anyone can make up anything about anyone, and post it for the whole world to see. It’s opened up a whole new can of worms when it comes to slander and libel.
If you feel you’ve been scammed online you should immediately report it to your local police department and state Attorney General. From there, you can also report it to the FTC and FBI and follow their recommendations on next steps.
Any legitimate businessman is going to be willing to work with you to resolve a complaint and find a reasonable middle-ground. Most online scammers will have almost zero footprints on the web, and by the time you go to report them, will have set up shop under a completely different name or business. Work with people who you can identify and verify who they are. Ask them for references if you’re unsure, and look for reviews of their past business history and dealings.
Also be aware that scammers don’t just target potential consumer victims. Scammers also attacks vendors, companies, and professionals online. These types of scammers can be the worst kind and are simply out to hurt others for their own enjoyment or because they feel spited.
I’ve worked with literally thousands of people online over the years. While most of these experiences have been great, there have been a few bad apples and I’ve experienced the mental torture of dealing with scammers who are out to get you.
For instance, because I own web hosting companies and several brands of server companies… I constantly get attacked by spammers and hackers trying to signup for services to abuse my networks. When they get denied for signups, or caught abusing, they lash out and try and post false things about me and attack both my companies and personal character.
One recent example of dealing with an online scam situation comes from my own personal experiences of dealing with people online. Someone accused me of scamming them and stealing money, apparently just for the sheer enjoyment of seeing my reputation tarnished.
If this were actually the case, I would of course be in jail or have charges pressed at the very least for theft or fraud. Unfortunately, because this is the internet, they just went around posting false and slanderous/defamatory stories about me trying to attack me with these lies. Sadly, this is someone I knew personally. After doing this to me they realized what they were doing was wrong and reached out to me to apologize for their actions. They said they were feeling depressed and confused and were extremely sorry.
I was shocked beyond belief by what they did, and unfortunately because of the sites they posted on, there’s literally nothing I can do about it besides sue them for defamation and have Google remove the results. I couldn’t really understand their actions, but I was taught to look for the best in people and forgive people for their mistakes.
So, when doing business online always be sure to search for company reviews and give their past history a fair and balanced evaluation. Almost every company will receive a bad review at some point, and it’s all about how they deal with it to make it right. If you can’t find anything about them online (bad or good), that’s usually a bad sign.