All websites on the Internet are real to a certain extent because they exist on the Internet. However, not all websites are run by legitimate companies or individuals. In fact, many websites are scams trying to get money or personal information from honest, hard-working people. Real websites represent legitimate companies. Just because a website is live on the Internet does not mean that it is run by a real person or company. Checking the validity of website before deciding to do business with the company it represents is an important step to safeguarding your money and your best interests.
Visit the website you are interested in investigating.
Look at the website including pages other than the home page. Does the website look professional? Is there a contact form? Is a physical address listed for the company? Is a phone number listed for the company? Is there an "about us" page that informs visitors about the history or purpose of a company?
Check the website to see if there is a Better Business Bureau logo. These logos indicate that the website owner is an approved member of the BBB. Call the BBB to inquire if there have been any complaints registered against the company.
Check the copyright date on the website. This is often listed at the bottom of the home page or the contact page. Current dates are more reliable than older dates, although some legitimate websites were created many years ago. These sites often update copyright information on a regular basis so the date should still be fairly current.
Call the number listed on the website to see if a person answers the phone. Speak to whomever answers the phone about the company, what they do, and why you are interested in learning about them. Leave a message if no one answers. Legitimate companies often answer inquires in two to three business days.
E-mail the company to see if they respond promptly to e-mails as well. Again, give the company two to three business days to respond. Companies that do not respond to e-mail inquiries may not be very interested in working with their customers to ensure their needs are met.
Real websites represent real companies that want to work with customers and clients. Verify as much information as you can before submitting any personal or financial information to the website of a company you are not familiar with. Do not use websites that you do not trust after investigating. Instead, search for other websites that offer the same product or service.