Scam Alert: How to Check if a Business is Legit

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Check if a business is legit

Wondering how to check if a business is legit? You’re not alone! According to TransUnion’s Consumer Pulse Study, South African digital fraud attempts have increased by a whopping 43.62% over the last three years. Therefore, you have reason to be cautious.

With the Covid-driven shift to digital commerce, consumers are more vulnerable than ever to well-conceived scams and opportunistic fraudsters.

So, how do you check if a business is a scam? Read our Hellopeter tips to find out! 

1. Check Reviews on

We’ll get straight to it. The fastest and simplest way to check if a business is legit while also gathering Social Proof from your fellow consumers is to simply hop onto, search for the business in question and read reviews from their current, previous and prospective customers.

Feedback about real experiences from real people allows you a 360-degree view of what your expectations should be. For example, you should probably avoid businesses that consistently receive reviews about their lack of transparency or issues with payment or delivery.

2. Check Business Metrics on

To ensure consumers can enjoy the transparency they deserve, Hellopeter offers access to a range of metrics. These are all designed to give them greater insight into the businesses and services they’re considering.

These metrics are automatically updated, depending on a range of factors including but not limited to; what customers have to say, how customers rate their experiences, how engaged the business is, and how consistently they respond to consumer feedback.

Businesses with low Trust Indexes and Net Promoter Scores, as well as businesses with consistently low Star Ratings, for example, should probably be avoided.

3. Check If It’s a Verified Businesses

One of the most common ways fraudsters gain your trust – and access to your wallet – is by simply cloning or copying a real business’s site or associated online platforms and passing themselves off as the real deal.

Hellopeter’s Verified Review Badge is a great way to check if a business is legitimate, as all Hellopeter Businesses on Premium and Growth Plans are subject to greater scrutiny by Hellopeter administrators.

The Hellopeter Verified Badge can be found on a business’s Hellopeter page, right next to the business name. See below what it looks like.

4. Verify Company and Directorship Registration Details

For individuals or businesses looking to make large or expensive purchases from businesses that are more ‘off-the-beaten-track’, CIPROZA is an invaluable platform to keep in mind.

CIPROZA allows you to “retrieve registered company and director information as housed at the CIPC (Companies and Intellectual Property Commission) office, which previously was known as the CIPRO (Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office). 

This sort of ‘deep-dive’ into a businesses particulars does come at a minimal fee. For example, verifying a businesses registration name, registration number, and current trading status costs R40.00. However, this type of peace of mind can be priceless, especially when considering businesses or service providers you may not have used before.

5. Check the Terms and Conditions

Remember, a business’s obligations to you start and end with the policies codified in their terms and conditions. 

Assuming, for example, that a business will offer reasonable refunds on purchases, without checking your assumption in the Terms and Conditions, can and often does end in tears. 

Businesses you can trust will always have their consumer and product policies easily accessible across their platforms and in-store. Therefore, you should probably avoid services or products with inadequate or missing Terms and Conditions.

6. Follow the Money

One of the main priorities for legitimate businesses is protecting themselves and their customers against payment fraud. This is because scammers and illegitimate businesses often focus on pay points and payment verification protocols.

For example, if a business only accepts cash, be extremely wary. If they use payment solutions you’ve never personally used or are aware of, consider finding a business that uses well-regulated payment solutions such as PayPal. 

7. Be Extremely Wary of Unsolicited Links

Unsolicited links are among the fastest ways to get scammed by illegitimate or fraudulent businesses. Merely clicking on a link you don’t recognise can give fraudsters access to your computer or mobile device. And this can include passwords, banking details and user histories. 

Remember that these scam links or websites often look legitimate. Scammers will go to great lengths to gain your trust. Therefore, if you receive a ‘too-good-to-be-true’ offer that requires you to click through or fill in your details, triple-check the validity.

8. Ensure the Business Has an *https* Address

The main difference between *http://* and *https://* is all about security.

*HTTP* stands for *HyperText Transfer Protocol*.

*HTTPS stands for *HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure with the *S* standing for *”Secure”*.

If you visit an *http://* website or web page, the website is talking to your browser using regular ‘unsecured’ language and protocols. Therefore, it’s far easier for a scammer to “eavesdrop” on your computer or smartphone’s traffic with the website in question.

While regular *http://* browsing is sometimes not a major issue, remember to never enter your credit card or personal information on an unsecured platform. Also, never follow any of their outbound links or click ‘Agree’ to anything you’re not entirely sure about.

Say ‘Hello’ to Staying informed

Hellopeter is South Africa’s largest and most trusted online review platform. Therefore, we do everything we can to ensure you live your very best consumer life.

For South Africans in the market for purchases big and small, Hellopeter offers real-world, experience-driven tipsadvice and contextual references guaranteed to give you the greatest possible insight into the businesses, services and solutions that you should be using.

Visit today and say ‘Hello’ to informed consumer decisions. 


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