Tips for Avoiding Online Scams
Like the TV commercials say, “Free is better.” The only problem with the Internet is that it’s not always free, and sometimes the price can be steeper than you’d ever want to pay.
That’s the warning offered from Todd Drowlette, Chairman of classified listing site Move That Block (www.movethatblock.com <http://www.movethatblock.com/> ). Drowlette said that his research into the consumer-to-consumer advertising space on the Internet revealed a wide variety of practices that exist for the sole purpose of deceiving the consumer.
“We all tend to have faith in the ‘truth in advertising’ laws protecting us from bait and switch scams,” Drowlette said. “The problem is that the Internet is so saturated with bait and switch sites, the government would never have enough resources to prosecute them all. So, it’s really up to consumers to beware and be aware of the kinds of sites that are out to get their money, get their email addresses or just flat out rip them off.”
His tips include:
·Free or Premium -- Before signing up with a listing site, surf it carefully to ensure that all their user listings are free. It’s common for them to charge companies for display ads and banner, but that’s only one of their revenue models. Many sites advertise free user listings, but in reality, only the first one is free and only after you sign up for a paid membership. Make sure you understand exactly what you will be getting for free before you sign up.
·Credit Card for ID Purposes -- Some sites will ask for your credit card information to determine that you are of legal age to place an ad. Don’t believe it. If someone wants your credit card information, it’s because they want your money, not your ID. In some cases, you’ll find an unauthorized charge on your card, but because you didn’t read the fine print when you signed up, it’s impossible to get the charge reversed.
·Free to Post -- Sure, it might be free to post, but that may be all you can do. Many sites use that as the come-on, and then advise you that only premium (paid) members can see your listing, or that you cannot get responses until you pay for a premium membership yourself. Make sure everything is free before you post. After all, what’s the point of posting if you can’t communicate with anyone who sees it?
Todd Drowlette began his entrepreneurial career at age 11 with a morning paper route in the Canadian border town of Malone, New York. In 2003, he went on to graduate from Siena College with high honors before becoming a member of Siena College’s Associate Board of Trustees. In 2010, Todd authored the book “Everything I Needed to Know About Real Estate, I Learned on my Paper Route.”