Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Real Thing

Scamming has never been easier.

Once upon a time, if you wanted to set up a business scam, you had to go throught the process of finding a physical location to set up your business, and you'd have to have someone be there etc. It was an expensive process and a risky one.

These days, it takes nothing to fake it. A webpage, that you can design yourself, and you're on your way. Noone sees your face, and you're safe.

How does a consumer protect themself these days?

It's simple really. Before you jump in, check it out. It takes a few seconds longer, but it's worth it. You wouldn't buy a pair of shoes without trying them on would you?

There are companies that help you with this. You can easily search "Verification Software". These can check a websites security certificate.

Do an independent search of the company or person. I am always amazed when people forward emails to me with fraudulent information, then when I input it in a search engine, the first 20 results say hoax or virus.

If possible, call one of the phone numbers they list.

Look for links to other agencies you can trust, or umbrella organisations that the company belongs to.

Where's this all coming from? I just discovered a new literary agency. They're running a fiction contest, and I'm very tempted to enter. On top of that, they're a new agency. They probably don't have the volume of work that an older, established agency does, and it might be a foot in the door.

But I'm waiting to find out. Is it the real thing?

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