How to Spot Red Flags for Online Scams & Frauds

The internet is a busy place and there are countless people among the clutter who are hiding behind websites and trying to sell you things, often which are total rip offs or scams. One of the most insidious services you will find offered online will involve “better hosting” services, advertisement placing, or online marketing schemes. To help you separate the charlatans from the honest businesses, we’re going to point out a few red flags today.

Online advertising can take a lot of different forms.

online-scams1Of course there is the ubiquitous and highly annoying spam emails we all see cluttering our inboxes every day. Any product worth its salt will never come to you advertised in this manner! There are also those exasperating flashing or pulsing advertisements that will be pasted all over the sides or tops and bottoms of websites, often involving people dancing or shaking their fists in apparent fury when your cursor hover over the ad (and what does dancing really have to do with a potential opportunity to refinance a mortgage or auto loan, anyway? We think that’s more a time for pen, paper, and calculator, but maybe we’re just being dour…).

The next type of scam advertising to watch out for is the ad that tries to portray itself as an article.

You know the type, they say something like “Single Father from Pittsburgh Figures Out How to Work from Home and Make Thirty Nine Thousand Dollars a Week.” You can sniff them out if you’re being alert, but they’re still a sneaky waste of time.

The only online ads we recommend you trust are those that are very straightforward, direct, and easy to understand: they make it clear they are an advertisement for a specific type of product or service and make it simple for you to find out where you can learn more about said product or service or where you can go ahead and become a customer. And the other thing you will note about good online advertising is its thoughtful placement. You didn’t log onto your email account to find out about an adjustable rate loan offered by some bank you’ve never heard of, you wanted to check your email; but if you are searching for, say, a specific type of vacation rental property in a specific location and an ad pops up that is directly related to the area and type of accommodation, well now that’s helpful.

Next, you have to beware the online scam of people offering your services you don’t need.

If some company contacts you or lures you in with a great looking ad or a seemingly legitimate article and is suddenly trying to convince you that without this or that type of hosting service or this or that marketing campaign, your company or brand will suffer and fail in its online presence, then you can just click on away because the rip off artists are at work! What your company needs online is just what companies have always needed in the “real” world: good real estate, solid brand promotion, and a good  business plan. Now, on the internet, of course, those words have different meanings in cyberspace. Think of real estate as your website: your homepage, your About Us and Contact Us pages, maybe a video or two, and the meaningful graphics and content you want to share with your consumers.  Your brand promotion? Just think of the type of online advertising you trust, and use that as a model. That means getting good, honest reviews from customers, placing ads on trusted and reliable websites, and figuring out the types of sites your ideal potential customer would frequent. As for your plan? Think of that like a marketing plan from any era, just transposed to the digital realm: what are the few main things you need your customers to know about you? What are your company’s strongest assets (maybe your years of experience, maybe your location, etc.). You may have  only a few seconds to hook a potential customer, so make sure that unlike the cheap looking, annoying ads the scammers tried to get you with, you have attractive, simple to understand ads placed in prominent but not frustrating locations.

And if you are not comfortable with executing this type of plan, or if you are not sure where to start, then give us a call or send us an email and we will be in touch right away. We standing by to help our customers create or expand a great quality online brand and firmly establish your company’s presence on the internet, or to help you re-brand your company (or any of its products and / or services) if it is time for your established company to turn in a new direction or open up new streams concurrent with your established organization. Web Precision is your online scam guide, watchdog, and workhorse!