Today’s world is a mixture of profound opportunity and unprecedented threats. The dangers come our way because we have created the Internet, a worldwide communications network that provides instant access to people and computers. But this same wonderful tool comes with a very scary dark side. This same doorway that gives us access to a universe of information can swing both ways. It can allow cyber-criminals to come into your digital house and steal all your most valuable digital possessions. It can give them access to your digital identity, your account numbers, passwords even your digital memories like photos and videos. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will explore how to vet companies and websites on the web to lower your risk of exposing your digital life to the ravages of cybercriminals and hackers. You will learn about websites and tools that allow you to check to see if a website or company is legitimate or a scammer waiting to sink its claws into your digital devices. So, let’s start digging into the research that shows us how to vet websites and companies online so we can avoid scams and stay safe while using the Internet.
Now I want to provide a word of caution about using rating sites in general. Don’t rush to judgment on a company or website because you see a few bad reviews. We live in a world where it’s common for competitors and other miscreants to post bad reviews on Facebook, Yelp, and other review sites. Try to look at the big picture and evaluate all the reviews. What I mean by all the reviews is to look in multiple places. I always check at least five different review sites and also do searches looking for reviews and comments from consumers. Read the entire review. Is the complaint about a specific product or service or employee the company has or is it about some political or social attack based solely on the company’s religious, political or social stance? Today, anyone who is angry, disgruntled, has a grudge or was wronged by someone can attack anyone, even the wrong person. I have seen many instances where bad reviews were posted on a business’ Facebook or Yelp page that was posted on the wrong company. The person who made the post was never a customer or had never even contacted that company. Their mistake was that they could not find the real culprit whose name was very similar to the business in question. I have even seen instances where criminals were impersonating a local business and then simply absconded with the customer’s money without doing any work. Who do you think got blamed and lambasted in social media for that?
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