Dot com, Dot gov, Dot net, Dot org, Dot edu, Dot mil, Dot tv = Possible Fraud
Many people use the phrase “The Internet has spawned…” and add whatever their message happens to be. Well, maybe the internet spawned problems or solutions, but in reality, who “spawned”?
Well, in this case, who spawned all the fraudulant activities online? The Internet? The Computer? Or, a more likely culprit…con artists. Whether online or offline, a con artist is still a con artist. They are going to try and get you no matter if it is coming or going…online or offline.
Con artists affect the way small home based business owners do business online. There are endless opportunities for consumers and businesses online, there are also endless challenges for both groups too. As in dot con.
Con artists have gone high-tech by using the Internet to defraud consumers in a variety of clever ways. Whether they’re using the excitement of an Internet auction to entice consumers into parting with their money, applying new technology to peddle traditional business opportunity scams, using email to reach vast numbers of people with false promises about earnings through day trading, or hijacking consumers’ modems and cramming hefty long-distance charges onto their phone bills, scam artists are just a click away.
According to the FTC, here’s what online consumers are complaining about most:
- Internet Auctions
- Internet Access Services
- Credit Card Fraud
- International Modem Dialing
- Web Cramming
Travel and Vacation
- Health Care Products/Services
For a more updated list, see this recent Report from the FTC.
What are consumers BIGGEST Problems with Online Businesses?
- The Bait: Be your own boss and earn big bucks.
- The Catch: Taken in by promises about potential earnings, many consumers have invested in a “biz-op” that turned out to be a “biz flop.” There was no evidence to back up the earnings claims.
- The Safety Net: Talk to other people who started businesses through the same company, get all the promises in writing, and study the proposed contract carefully before signing. Get an attorney or an accountant to take a look at it, too.
When you decided to check out home based businesses, what did you look for? What turned you off? What things made you feel like you were dealing with a trust-worthy company?
As online Business owners, how do we set ourselves apart from Con Artists?
- Don’t hide yourself from Consumers. If you are going to run an online business, you must put contact information up for them to see, and actually be able to contact you. Most times, you aren’t going to be getting calls, unless the customer has a question or complaint.
- Have a Return Policy and/or Guarantees. Spell these out in detail, and make sure that the customer can understand what you are saying.
- Let them know how long you have been in business online, what your other websites or business websites are.
I found this quote by Wendy Piersall, and thought I would share it… “I have an acquaintance who shall remain nameless who tried to sell a marketing training program, but I knew first-hand he wasnâ€™t teaching from experience. His web site had a Google Page Rank of 0, his Alexa rank was around 7,000,000. A Google search on his name produced his personal Geocities blog with his â€˜fatâ€™ pictures that he took as he was trying to lose weight from 2 years prior. If the person who wants to train you on internet business canâ€™t build his own link credibility, his own traffic, and canâ€™t even manage his Google reputation properly, you DONâ€™T want to hire him to teach you how to run a business online.”
There are 4 things that EVERY Online Business Owner should have available to visitors to check their online business reputation:
- Contact information available for visitors. This means a valid phone number, email address, and corporate headquarters.
- Guarantee or Return Policy.
- When the Customer does their due diligence in researching your company, they will find (possibly good and bad) the necessary information that proves whether or not they are doing business with a reputable company.
For More information on How to Join one of our Home Based Business Programs, visit The Global Mentors Team.