For most people the Internet is a fantastic tool that connects users from across the globe and allows people to explore and learn like never before. Unfortunately, since the Internet isn't regulated by a legal body, some people see the Internet as a scammer's paradise. Millions of people have their identities and credit card information stolen every year.
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Check the Better Business Bureau for the business in question. While not all legitimate businesses will be listed with the BBB, a majority of them are. If you do not find the company in question but still suspect they may be legitimate, email or call the company and ask for references. Never give personal information until you are positive a business is safe.
Research the business's web address. There are many sources to find out who began a website. If the owner seems airtight and legitimate, okay. But if website ownership seems confusing, this could be a sign of fraud.
Call the business directly after learning its contact information based on your own research. Never answer emails from suspicious businesses you do not normally do business with. If your bank notifies you by email that your statement is ready, you can be confident you are safe. If an unknown email address tells to you click on their links to lower your debt, be very suspicious.
Contact the secretary of state's office in the state in which the company is based. Companies that are corporations, limited liability partnerships or non-profit groups must be registered in a state to legally be operating as such.
Search the company's name in a search engine. If it appears, you can be more at ease of its legitimacy. However, many scam businesses are still listed with search engines, so be cautious.