Bogus websites can damage your reputation

Scammers are using details of legitimate businesses to set up bogus sales websites that look genuine and professional. These websites often ‘sell’ popular products at discounted prices to unsuspecting businesses and consumers, who pay for goods that never arrive.

With many online tools available, it is easy for a scammer to set up a domain name and create a professional-looking website from anywhere in the world.

If you run a business and order from other businesses online, here are 10 tips to help you identify a bogus sales website:

  1. Be suspicious if the only payment method offered is direct money transfers. If you pay this way, it is almost impossible to get your money back.
  2. Check if the business is registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).
  3. Research the business – read the ’about us’ or ‘contact us’ information on the website. See if the contact details and descriptions match details you find through an independent online search or through organisations such as ASIC.
  4. Check that website links work. While it is common for an occasional link to fail, be suspicious if a high proportion of links on the website do not work.
  5. Click on any social media links to see if these accounts exist and, if so, that they have recent posts. Be wary if the accounts were recently established.

Check if the business is registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission.

  1. Check if the business has a ‘refund policy’ and find out how they resolve disputes.
  2. Search the website name with the word ‘scam’ to see if anyone has posted reviews or alerts about the business or website.
  3. Be wary of websites that sell popular high-end products such as smartphones, tablets and luxury goods at discounted prices – especially if the prices seem too good to be true.
  4. Check that the website has a Secure Socket Layer (SSL), which helps to ensure that any data you submit through the website is encrypted and secure. Look for ‘https’ in the prefix of the webpage address and click on the ‘lock icon’ in the status bar of your browser to see details of the site’s security.
  5. Are there a lot of spelling or grammatical mistakes? Are the images presented blurry? Professional websites generally provide accurate content with high-quality images.

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