It's easy to do a lot of things on the Internet, and unfortunately, falling victim to online scammers is no exception. Crafty advertisers use many deceptive tactics to get you to buy their products. Don't be lured by free trials, glowing testimonials and celebrity endorsements. You might be surprised to learn that many of these claims, even the most convincing ones, are completely false. It's enough to make you want to close your laptop and go home for good, but don't despair -- there's plenty you can do to protect yourself during your online travels.
Here are some tips to help avoid Internet scams:
Go with your gut instinct. If an offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. If a product promises incredible results or a "miracle solution," it's most likely a scam.
Research the business first. Before paying for any services or products, make sure the company is legitimate and has a good reputation. The Better Business Bureau is a great, impartial source for verifying a company's credibility. Look for the Better Business Bureau's seal of approval, or contact the BBB and ask for a reliability report.
Read the fine print. In most cases, the fine print will list disclaimers, restrictions and limitations that advertisers will likely not reveal to you. Companies will use these loopholes to rack up charges once they've obtained your credit card information. Determine whether a free trial will eventually convert to a paid subscription (they often do) and watch out for additional fees.
Beware of bogus celebrity endorsements. The acai berry scam is a prime example of such misrepresentation. Because the acai berry has been discussed on TV by Oprah, Dr. Mehmet Oz and Rachel Ray, many sites claim that their products are endorsed by these celebrities. They may even include a celebrity's photo or quote on the packaging. According to ABC News, Winfrey and Oz have filed lawsuits against 40 companies that falsified information to create the impression that they endorsed their products when, in fact, they did not.
Beware of phony blogs. Companies design phony blogs to look like independent websites, so they can surreptitiously plug their own products. These blogs may include testimonials, before-and-after photos, product reviews and news articles, all of which are fake.
Beware of fake reviews. A manufacturer may also instruct its employees to post glowing but fake reviews on retailers' websites. These types of reviews are even trickier to spot because, unlike fake blogs, they typically appear on respectable sites like Amazon.com.
Sponsored Links are keyword-targeted advertisements provided through the Google AdWords™ program.
These listings are administered, sorted and maintained by Google. For
information about these Google ads, go to adwords.google.com.
Google may place or recognize a unique "cookie" on your Web browser.
Information from this cookie may be used by Google to help provide
advertisers with more targeted advertising opportunities. For more
By clicking on Sponsored Links you will leave ConsumerSearch.com. The web site you will go to is not endorsed by ConsumerSearch.