No matter how many stories I hear about “vendors”  who are unethical, inexperienced or just straight up deceitful. I am still shocked when I hear a story regarding stealing from the church, the bereft, those in mourning or from beautiful brides planning their once in a lifetime day.

 

Oftentimes, all it takes is a little Google research to ferret out the phonies.

 

Check the website domain: Use WHOis to see who owns the domain name. If it’s set as private you have to wonder why they don’t want you to have their contact information.

Check the “About Us” page: Look for the owners names, do these names match the WHOis information? Run a Google search on the names to make sure no complaints come up.

Check the “Contact Us” page:  Look for verifiable addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. Watch out for free email addresses rather than company emails.

Look for fishy content: Fraudulent websites often look fly-by-night or are an exact copy of another website. Use sites such as Copyscape to detect plagiarized content.

Check for stolen images: Fraudulent websites use images stolen from search engines to make their sites look credible and professional. Use Google reverse image search to see if the photos are authentic by clicking on the camera icon in the search bar and typing the url of the image.

Look for fake reviews: Fraudulent websites write fake reviews, often times using stolen images. Unfortunately there is no guaranteed way to tell if the reviews are real other than using reverse image search to check the authenticity of the photos.