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How to Check If a Company is Legitimate

February 11, 2014
| Articles

Nowadays the internet is full of frauds, therefore less experienced internet users choose to keep away from little known companies. These companies are striving to find their place online and connect to their potential customers, however, they are often rejected due to this mistrust.

It is a healthy attitude to be cautious when evaluating an offer that simply sounds too good to be true. On the other hand, if you’re really interested in the product or service that this never heard company has, there’s no need to decline the offer without checking the company’s legitimacy first. Below are some simple tips on doing that.

1. Check Address and Phone Number

One of the easiest ways to know whether a company is fake or genuine is to check its registration information. If it has an official business address, it’s a good sign. However, many companies are international, so knowing the address does not prove anything unless you are able to go there and see for yourself.

Therefore you should take another step and call the phone number provided in the company’s website. If no one answers the phone during work hours or your call is redirected to anonymous call center, it’s the first sign, that this company should not be trusted.

2. Search on Google, blogs and forums

Google knows everything. So if the company is fake, you will definitely find some information to prove that – may it be negative feedback from people who were tempted to try a fraudulent offer or the company name mentioned in a scam-related context. Bloggers and forum participants are usually sharing such information with fellow readers, so just put a decent amount of effort and time, and you’ll find the answer out there. You might as well stumble upon positive reviews and comments about the company, so give it a chance – Google Search can be a real help when investigating company’s reputation.

3. Check the website

One of the most reliable evidence that the company is not trustworthy is the huge amount of spelling mistakes in its website. Credible companies respect their potential clients and don’t try to reduce costs by saving on website content quality. Of course, everyone makes mistakes, and the occurrence of them is a natural thing in the global world, when people of different nationalities work in other countries than their homeland. Therefore the most important thing when evaluating this factor is to pay attention to the amount of mistakes – if the overall text looks like it’s been translated with Google Translator, it’s likely to be a fraud.

4. Overview Terms of Service

Another step towards better understanding whether the company is to be trusted is checking its Terms of Service (TOS) and Privacy Policy. Every genuine online company has these documents, whereas fake companies don’t bother to provide this information. However, the presence of TOS is also not to be accepted as a 100% proof of company’s legitimacy – some impostors take time to copy-paste the TOS from real companies and use as their own.

5. Payment methods

If you are considering buying a product or service online, it’s worth to spend some time to understand how the payment process work in this company and what are the refund conditions in case the purchased item is not up to your standards. Credible companies usually support several worldwide recognized payment forms, such as PayPal, which is one of the most popular and safest ways to buy something online. If you find PayPal as supported payment gateway – it’s a good sign.

You can smell fraud if you’re offered to pay for your order directly to someone’s bank account or, even worse, via cash transfer services such as Western Union. These ways are highly risky, because in case you realize you’ve been tricked, there are almost no way to get a refund.

6. Reviews and Recommendations

Prior to making the decision to have business with a company, you can always ask them to provide references or recommendations from their clients or partners. It’s a delicate request, because this way you show your mistrust, on the other hand, this mistrust is justified when the company you’re considering is poorly known or newly founded. A real transparent company will see no problem in providing you with recommendations that can help them gain a new customer.

So if you’re in doubt, you can always check the company’s legitimacy and avoid getting into fraudulent business. It costs some time and effort, but it’s worth to pay this price in order to protect yourself. And such effort can really pay off, because you might find enough credible information to encourage you and accept a great offer from a company that is not yet famous, but might soon become. The only thing you have to do is play a detective and make decisions only when you’re convinced the company is legitimate.

Image Courtesy: 123rf.com

By Gina
Categories: Articles
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