How to Identify a fake business or website

by braniac ; Updated September 26, 2017
finding out if a business is real

Figure out if an online business is real or fake. Determine if a website is a scam, and determine if a work at home venture is really what is supposed to be.

Make a list of ways to contact the "business" or "company" if you can find them. Phone, email, online questions and answers etc...

If you find a way to contact the "business" then move to the next step. If there is no way to contact them, then this should be the item that helps you decide if they are legit or not.

Have a list of questions handy and try to make contact with them. Make a note of all the answers they give you.
Some of questions that you should ask are: • What is their legal business name and what state do they have a Tax ID associated with the legal business name? This will be the state that they pay their business taxes. • How much does this cost to get started and/or after you get started. • What type of products or services will I be offering? • Does this program involve advertising or marketing? • Do they provide promotional tools for free or do I have to pay for my own promotional tools? • How will I get paid and how often? • Will there be support? Do they sell you the program and cut you loose or will they help you out with getting started? • Will I have to spend additional money after ordering the program? (monthly fees, additional information, or tools etc.) • What is the "legal" business name and what state do they have an tax ID associated with. This is the state they pay taxes to if they are legit. • Is a website required and if so, will they provide it for free or at a cost? • Do they have a refund policy or guarantee? • Do they have references they can provide to you?

Write down all of the answers and ask for additional ways to contact them. If the website or advertisement claims to be "fee" and they tell you there is a cost then they are NOT LEGIT. False Advertisement is a true method to figuring this out.
If they provide a mailing address then send them a letter asking them the same questions. Use your best judgment and determine if the business is real or not by comparing their answers to the website or advertisements.

If you do not have the time or just don't want to do the work. You can contact these guys to figure it out for you: http://www.BBB.org (Better Business Bureau) http://www.legit.50webs.com (website does the work for you)

You should also visit http://www.google.com then put in the business name for additional references.


  • In most cases, you can visit http://whois.net and input the website name. This should give you the owner information of the website. Some legit websites use 3rd party web host that do not show up in a "who is" search.

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