How to Verify Businesses Online

By Toni Grundstom

Doing business or finding employment with online businesses should be approached with caution. There are ways to verify companies online to ensure that they are legitimate and safe to do business with. When looking for an online business to work for as a home-based employee, it is very important to be certain that who they are and what they propose on their website is what you will encounter as their employee. Do a little research before interacting with any online business to provide yourself peace of mind and a good online experience.

Step 1

Verify the URL information of the website. According to the Better Business Bureau, before doing business online, the Uniform Resource Locator (URL)--which is the online equivalent of a street address--should be confirmed. Website URLs cannot be exactly duplicated but can be close enough that if a URL is typed in with one wrong letter, an incorrect (and potentially illegitimate) website will load. This website may look very similar to the legitimate online business website of the correct URL. This is why it is important to double-check that the exact URL has been typed into the web browser before doing business and sharing personal information. To further verify an online business by the URL, it would be wise to do the following:• Check for the exact URL of the online business by going to www.whois.net (also found at www.DomainTools.com). • In the "WHOIS Lookup" box, type in the website's URL. • This will provide information such as who that URL is registered to, the contact name and physical address, and the phone and fax number.

Step 2

Utilize the Better Business Bureau for safe online shopping. Go to www.bbb.org and click on the "Check Out a Business or Charity" link in the "BBB for Consumers" area. Search by the business name, type of business, the phone number, website URL or email of the online business. There are additional resources at the Better Business Bureau, as well. Visit www.bbb.org/online and choose the "Consumers" link.

Step 3

Investigate a website located in another country by finding the contact person's name, full address and phone number, and calling him directly. Another way to verify overseas online businesses is to ask the seller to provide you with customer references, in your country, who purchased from him within the last few months. Additionally, ask the contact for his business incorporation registration number, and then type in "overseas business registrar" in your web browser's search engine to find that particular country's Business Registrar. Call the Registrar to verify that the online business is a legally registered business.

Step 4

Do research to avoid Internet scams and verify online businesses when looking for an online home-based business opportunity. Start by thoroughly reviewing the website. Find the contact information and send a message or email to see if there is a response and how long it takes to receive it. Look for a physical address and do a search on www.Whitepages.com to ensure the physical address is correct. Does the website feature a Trust.org, Angie's List or Better Business Bureau logo? These logos are a visible representation that the consumer organization has verified the legitimacy of the website and/or the owner of the website has met the high standards required to use the logo on her website.

Tips & Warnings

  • The Internet provides a vast amount of easily available shopping and business opportunities. It also provides scammers the opportunity to create websites that appear legitimate but are only meant to obtain your personal information and money. Take the time to verify online businesses before doing any type of trade with them to ensure safe and satisfactory transactions.