Step 5 – No Physical Location
Due to fears of, (I don’t know what) some people never list their business’s street address on their websites. Bad sign, folks. I always look for an address. No “addy”, no “moola”.
Now the street address could be as fake as “1313 Mockingbird Lane” (the Munsters home address) for all I know, but human nature being what it is, most are probably mailbox deliverable.
Instead of a street address, some people use a Post Office or private mailbox address. No problem but they had better have a working phone number to act as backup.
Have I ever called a number posted online just to see who picked up? You bet ya. Called this one guy once at o’dark in the morning and got a very groggy solopreneur (wrong number, don't ya know). But hey he sold me a book, because after the call, I knew he was "real" person.
Called another and got a "this number has been temporary disconnected". Hmmm….can we say "bugged out"?
Step 6 - Try WHOIS
Who's on first…? Huh? What's a WHOIS?
The idea is the surf to www.whois.net, plug in "Technoweasel" in the "WHOIS Lookup" you will find my website's Registrant (that would be me) the address I used when I created my domain name, and the domain (website) host that I am using.
Now all of this could be bogus…but since you have to pay for a domain name with a working credit card, the address and name were legit at the time of registration.
Check out the age of the site. I created my domain in 2001. If a site has only been in "business" for a few months…do a real gut check before passing out any credit card info.
Step 7 - Are they are a Blacklist?
Is the web host in China, Eastern Europe, South America or South East Asia? Fifty percent of all spammers are Americans but they like to host their "ugly American" email and websites overseas.
Step 8 - The last one...
Yeah, I know I only promised seven, but it's an oldie but a goodie…"If it's too good to be true…” Just remember that bogus sites, email scams and all internet fraud in general rely on your human nature to want pick the sweetest berries without the thorns.
Honor your feelings. Your best defense is often your own intuition. If something about a website or email gives you that itchy-scratchy on the back of the neck or that sinking in the belly then don't buy from them. The only times I have regretted buying something on line has been from violating this last rule! Honor your feelings.
Take five minutes and check out a site using the above steps before you just jump in and plop down your hard earned cash.