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Validating Webstores and Services

Do they promise angels, but deliver devils?
Do they promise angels, but deliver devils?

Remember that there are a lot of bad guys out there, and the web makes them able to look and sound just as safe and reputable as anyone else. Even if the site you're dealing with is totally honest, that doesn't mean that they can keep your data safe from hackers or bad employees.

Following privacy principles is your best bet for handling their weak security (they can't lose what they don't have after all), but when it comes to identifying the companies with bad service and lousy deals, following is the method I use:

Search Engines

The quickest way possible to get information about any retailer is to do a web search using your search engine of choice. Rather than just search for the name, try these combinations:

See if any interesting results come up. Read what they say and see if there's a recurring trend. In the case of Lifelock, you can find everything you need to know at the first link 🙂

A Google search for LIFELOCK SUCKS brings up a very informative page in the very first link.
A Google search for LIFELOCK SUCKS brings up a very informative page in the very first link.

Ratings Websites

The Better Business Bureau

They can't tell you everything you need to know about a business because they only track complaints that have been filed with them (which is probably how Lifelock manged to get an A+ rating). Where the BBB really helps is when you find negative reviews and complaints.

In other words, a positive BBB review might not really mean anything, but a negative one definitely does.

Web of Trust

Again, Lifelock skates by so you clearly can't trust the positive reviews absolutely, but Web of Trust is still another useful site with user-driven reviews and ratings for a site and company's trustworthiness.

ResellerRatings.com

Similar to the others, this is a website that has ratings for various sellers online. Use it as another resource to find the bad stuff about the company you're planning to deal with.

Answer Sites

Answer websites like Answers.com, Yahoo Answers, or Just Answer.com can be a great resource. You post a question and see what people have to say about it. Something like "Can I trust this site" is a good start.

Summary

After checking around, you should be able to find out if the site or service you're planning to deal with is something you should avoid. At the very least, you'll be able to avoid the most obvious scams.

Guide Navigation
|INDEX|next: Research Products
If you like to keep your money and safe yourself the trouble and hassle of getting nailed by a bad or fraudulent retailer online, you need to learn to identify them before it's too late.
Before you buy anything, utilize the vast power of the Internet to research products and pick the best one possible.
You're about to pay for something, but what's the safest way to do it?

Related Guide

Once you've gone through the trouble to make an online account with a company, make sure you protect your passwords properly
IDENTITY THEFT
How to Steal Identities - Why It's So Easy
Credit Freeze
Data Defense
Credit Monitoring
Id Theft Insurance
The Identity Theft Victim's Mini-Guide to Recovery
PRIVACY
The Geek Privacy Principle
Nothing to Hide
Data Abuse
RFID - Radio Frequency IDentification
Privacy Alias/Persona
Data Defense
INTERNET SAFETY
Online Addiction
The Consequences of Posting Online
Photo Safety
Tricks and Scams
Account Hijacking
Trusting Companies
PASSWORDS
Bad Passwords
Password Tips and Tricks
Password Protection
Password Mugging
Computer Security
E-mail Safety
Kids and Computers
Shopping Online
Retailers
All About Warranties

Validating Webstores and Services

It can be hard to know who to trust and who to not trust online, but there are things you can do to verify who the good guys and bad guys are before it's too late.

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Research Products

One of the best things about shopping online is the ability to research information online.

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Paying Online

Ever been nervous about paying online for something. Just take a second to learn about the various options and put your mind at ease.

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