How many times have you hovered over the keyboard before entering your card details?
Ever had that nagging feeling that something doesn’t feel quite right?
Whether you’re the sort of person who goes with their gut, or if you tend to tread a little more carefully than that, our top tips on how to see if a company is ‘legit’ or not, should make for some pretty useful reading.
#TeamCES Tip Number 1 – Look for the Concrete Details
Is it fact or fiction? Does the company even exist to begin with? Was it all a dream?
OK, we’re not talking about companies who can bend reality here, we’re just talking about fraudsters, hell bent on getting your money for nothing, in any way they can. But you can stop all of that from happening by looking out for concrete proof of their existence (or lack of it…) You’re going to want to see evidence in the form of a physical address, not just a c/o address. If the address you find turns out to be a registered office, you’re pretty close to confirming the company exists, but don’t stop there. Look for a contact number, a landline if possible, give them a bell and do some digging!
#TeamCES Tip Number 2 – What Do Other People Say?
Testimonials, reviews, word of mouth – they count for so much these days. Can you count on a company’s reliability, or are they a liability?
Look for reviews across multiple platforms, including search engines like Google and the company’s own website. If it’s a case of 5 stars across the board, you could be on to a winner, but warning signs to look out for include things like; disparities between the reviews depending on where you look, and those kind of reviews that you’re sure you’ve read somewhere before. In other words, be on the look out for bull, and remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
#TeamCES Tip Number 3 – Are they on the FCA register?
This is a simple one. Our advice at #TeamCES is that, if a company isn’t on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) register, they’re well worth avoiding. What are they hiding? What are they up to? Carry out a search on the FCA website, or have a snoop about on Companies House. If they’re not there, ask yourself why, and then give them the swerve.
#TeamCES Tip Number 4 – Check the Website
A UK company that is UK based, certainly one that is worth its salt anyway, will have good copy throughout the website. Be aware of misspelt words and misused phrases, as these can often give the game away.
We’re not saying you should avoid companies from outside of the UK altogether, but be wary of those who try to deceive. If they can’t even play that card well, they’re probably not up to much with anything they do.
On top of this, are the reviews any good? Are there any reviews at all, even?
If this sounds like a lot, here’s a short cut…just check to see if they have https:// at the start of the url, and that a safety padlock is displayed at the top of the browser. If these aren’t present, click that little X at the top of your screen and put the bank card away.
#TeamCES Tip Number 5 – Don’t Risk It!
As we said before, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, and you should go with your gut over any doubts you may have over the legitimacy of a company. Trust yourself, especially now you’ve read our top tips!
#TeamCES Tip Number 6 – What to Do If it’s Happened to You!
If you think you’ve been scammed, act immediately.
Contact your bank and contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or via their website. The sooner the problem is addressed, the easier it will be to fix.
No one is immune from being scammed.
Even those working in the industry of fraud prevention and online scam detection, have found themselves compromised from time to time.
The signs are hard to spot (on purpose!) but our top tips should clue you up enough to help you be at least a little more guarded than you were before you read them.