Top Tips to Avoid Online Scams

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with RE/MAX Preferred Associates

Top Tips to Avoid Online Scams

RISMEDIA, April 28, 2011-Like the TV commercials say, "Free is better." The only problem with the Internet is that it's not always free, and sometimes the price can be steeper than you'd ever want to pay. That's the warning offered from Todd Drowlette, Chairman of classified listing site Move That Block. Drowlette says that his research into the consumer-to-consumer advertising space on the Internet revealed a wide variety of practices that exist for the sole purpose of deceiving the consumer.

"We all tend to have faith in the ‘truth in advertising' laws protecting us from bait and switch scams," Drowlette comments. "The problem is that the Internet is so saturated with bait and switch sites, the government would never have enough resources to prosecute them all. So, it's really up to consumers to beware and be aware of the kinds of sites that are out to get their money, get their email addresses or just flat out rip them off."

Drowlette's tips include:

• Free or Premium: Before signing up with a listing site, surf it carefully to ensure that all their user listings are free. It's common for them to charge companies for display ads and banners, but that's only one of their revenue models. Many sites advertise free user listings, but in reality, only the first one is free and only after you sign up for a paid membership. Make sure you understand exactly what you will be getting for free before you sign up.

• Credit Card for ID Purposes: Some sites will ask for your credit card information to determine that you are of legal age to place an ad. Don't believe it. If someone wants your credit card information, it's because they want your money, not your ID. In some cases, you'll find an unauthorized charge on your card, but because you didn't read the fine print when you signed up, it's impossible to get the charge reversed.

• The Fine Print: When you register on a classifieds or pay-to-use site, don't just click through all the registration procedures. Each click constitutes an agreement with the site, so read the Terms of Service and Privacy Policies carefully. This is not just fine print. These documents spell out your legal rights, and the site you're visiting is counting on the fact you won't read them. In addition, the privacy policy spells out whether they will sell your email address to spammers once you sign up. Sure, the ads are free, but you're actually paying with your email address and personal information, which may be sold to spammers and other promotional companies who will inundate you with junk mail.

• Free to Post: Sure, it might be free to post, but that may be all you can do. Many sites use that as the come-on, and then advise you that only premium (paid) members can see your listing, or that you cannot get responses until you pay for a premium membership yourself. Make sure everything is free before you post. After all, what's the point of posting if you can't communicate with anyone who sees it?

For more information visit www.movethatblock.com.

RISMedia welcomes your questions and comments. Send your e-mail to: realestatemagazinefeedback@rismedia.com.

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Rainer
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Kevin Martini
DNJ / Gateway Mortgage - Raleigh, NC

Grayson - great info!  Martini

April 29, 2011 10:43 PM #1
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Grayson Hodge

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