One of the major problems when it comes to online crime, is when you find businesses which by their nature come from your computer and then into your home. I had a conversation with the guys over at the San Francisco Plumber Directory a few days ago about this, mainly I was wondering how they make sure that the plumbers they are recommending aren’t up to anything nefarious.
They told me in no uncertain terms that they didn’t have the ability or the knowledge to do any type of background checks, but those exact checks are performed by state licensing boards. This is fairly common practice between trades and the existence and membership of some sort of licensing or regulation board is a useful first place to start in checking any tradesman. Beware though, this is the internet it’s simple to draft up some imaginary licensing board with a cheap website and a simple logo – in order to make a business look legitimate. Also displaying a logo of a real licensing board doesn’t guarantee membership – you should check this directly with the organisation, particularly if you’re relying on any sort of guarantees and insurance
So what’s the lesson here? Well it’s simple really don’t take anything you see online at face value, a simple web site can be set up in an hour and doesn’t offer any guarantee of anything. Be careful when you access these sites, it’s sensible to use a VPN if possible something like this one which is demonstrated as a method to access BBC iPlayer Canada – these enable you to protect your connection by encrypting it.
I found that an interesting answer on a couple of levels, but mostly I hope that all online business has some type of checks and balances issue in place, so that we can keep children and in affect, the general public as a whole, safe.