Online scams, con artists and other fraudsters poses a great danger to the success of any online business venture. Too many start-up online entrepreneurs have lost huge amount of money or indeed their entire business to criminals who disguise as genuine online businessmen.
Of recent, I have been receiving lots of unsolicited emails from complete strangers. They use differs kind of tricks and make lots of fantastic promises. They always pretend they want to do business with me. While some of the emails sounds genuine some are outright ridiculous. I guess the con artists are unaware that I constantly educate myself on how to protect myself and my business online.
Like it or not, you cannot shy away from using the internet for business. So the only option left for you is to get yourself educated. You must learn how to protect yourself from online scams while carrying out your legitimate business.
How to deal with Emails and Phone Scam
My first advice to you is that you should not be greedy – Yes, you will reduce the risk of falling prey to scammers if you make up your mind not to reap where you did not sow. Why should you agree to share the loot starched oversea in a secret account with an African banker. So, many foreigners have been defrauded with that story. I have several emails requesting that I supply my bank details so that stolen loot, inherited fortune can be shared with me in the ratio 60:40. Why should I be interested when it is not my father’s money. Such tricks only succeed when the so called victim is greedy.
Do well to suspect every unsolicited email. Make it a personal policy not to open emails from strangers especially when such emails have attachments. This is a trick often use to get your computer infected with spywares and Trojan which can easily steal your personal information and send them to the con artists for further processing. Eventually, the stolen information will be employed to convince you that the con artist is genuine. You can protect yourself by installing a good anti-virus software that is capable of combating spywares and Trojan worms.
Do not get carried away with flattery – On several occasions, con artists have contacted me on phone painting a pathetic story and assuring me that the only reason I was contacted is because I am trustworthy. Hey, be real, a total stranger telling you that you are trustworthy or pious should send the alarm off in your brain that you are about being swindled!
How to deal with Fake Websites Scams
Always double-check and ensure that the website you are dealing with is the right one. With less than $20 dollars, anyone can set up a flashy “genuine” looking professional website. So be careful where you submit your personal data. I was deceived once into interacting with a fake website that disguised as my bank’s website. The domain name was quite similar such that I did not notice the difference. Also, the layout and design was the exact replica of the original website. Too many people have falling victim to this trick.
Avoid doing business with one page websites that makes fantastic promises such as “You can become a millionaire overnight”. Just pause for a minute, if their claim is true, why will they need your $10 subscription fees? Always be cautious when you see those flashy colorful banners screaming for your attention and promising you a lifetime retirement in Bahamas once you part with a few dollars. Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it is most likely a scam.
Do not get carried away by pictures and video testimonials of how a website has turned around someone’s fortune. While there are genuine testimonials online, too many are fake. Ask yourself, what will it cost to put the picture of 6 strangers on a website as testimonials of people that have benefited from the magic get rich quick formula? A testimonial should only be worth a thing if you can identify the person giving the testimony. Is the person trustworthy? What is the reputation of the fellow? Just as it will be consider foolish to believe the claim of a total stranger offline, so it is online.
Stop giving detailed information about yourself and family members on social media sites. Too many people get carried away by the promise of security offered by social media sites. They willing paste personal details of not just their person, but that of their beloved ones on such sites. I can tell you categorically; that it is the first place a con artist will want to check so as to get background information on you. Why supply detailed information about yourself when nobody is pointing a gun to your head? Give as little information as is needed. If possible, use nicknames instead of real names.
How to deal with Fake Companies and Organizations Scams
Since I started this blog, I have received at least two invitations to join in partnership with some unknown international businesses. Of course they were scam. If only I was a little greedy or foolish, I would have fallen victim. Here are some little checkups that often reveal the truth:
- Check the email address. Serious organization rarely use free email accounts.
- If there is a website, check how long the website has been in existence and who registered it.
- Google the organizations name plus scam, e.g. “Naijaecash Scam Fraud”, often that is all you need to discover if it is genuine or a fraudulent organization.
There exist too many sad story of genuine foreign investors losing money to con artists who present fake companies to such unsuspecting investors. It pains me that Nigerian scammers are notorious for this kind of fraudulent activity. Since Telecommunication in Nigeria is still at an elementary stage, it is next to impossible to quickly verify the claim of any Nigerian businessman. Most of the information that are required to verify the authenticity of a business entity are manually filled in the Nigerian Corporate Affairs Commission Headquarter in Abuja. That singular deficiency in our business sector is helping the fraudsters have a loophole for perpetrating their crime. But there is good news!
Last week, while surfing the net, I stumbled on the website of a Nigerian company DDCheck, that is fighting scam in the business sector. They perform due diligent searches on any registered company in Nigeria and they work in collaboration with the government agency EFCC, Economic and Financial Crime Commission. I can recommend their service because I checked them out and I am happy that they are genuine and serious about their service. You will only pay for their service if the company you are conducting a search on is existing. That means you no longer need to go into any business relationship with a Nigerian businessman blindly. Check the company first and be sure it is genuine before parting with your money.
This post is too long, but I think it is worth it. It is my sincere wish that it will help prevent someone from falling victim to the online scam artists and their counterparts in the business sector. If you have a story to tell, please share in the comment. If you have a tip that can help one from falling victim, please share in the comment section. Wishing you success in your online ventures. See you at the top. Cheers.