How to identify a fake online business

Posted at 12:51 PM, Jun 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-16 13:07:15-04

Shopping online? The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips on how to spot a fake business:

Check the company's social media links.

If the company lists its social media accounts, check how active they are, and if any followers have posted reviews or complaints recently. Also make sure the links actually work. For example, some scam websites will link to instead of

Scan the images.

Take a look at the images and photos on every page of the company’s site. Make sure they’re properly sized and check for any spelling or grammatical errors. The BBB says an entire website littered with errors could be a scamming red flag.

Give endorsements a second look.

Fake companies will use phony endorsements to give their product or services credibility. For example, they may use a local media station, or add a fake BBB Accreditation to gain your trust. Be sure to verify these claims directly with the source.

Search the company’s address.

Check the company’s address online with Google or Apple Maps. Make sure they’re not actually located in an empty parking lot by calling area businesses to verify the location.

Contact your local BBB.

Search the company’s customer reviews, ratings and complaints at before making a purchase. If you can’t find a particular company, contact your local branch via email or on Facebook.

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