By Michael Angelo Caruso
I own an extensive collection of masks from my speaking travels, including masks from South Africa, Egypt and South America. Masks can be fun, but sometimes business people work behind the masks of cloaked Web sites, alias e-mail addresses and other false claims. Here are 5 Cool Ideas for unmasking fakers.
1. You can easily check a Web site's veracity.
Ever wonder if it's safe to order from a particular Web site? You should. A cloaked site gives you the impression you're dealing with Batman, when you're really dealing with the Joker. Do a quick "lookup" at WhoIs.com to get closer to the truth.
2. Legitimate business people don't play hide-and-seek.
Look for a street address and phone number in the signature file of suspicious e-mails. If the only contact information is by e-mail, you might not want to do business with that individual or company.
3. There are always clues to a business's true identity.
Use Compete.com to compare companies' I'net traffic, including the number of unique visitors and how long visitors stay engaged. Quantas.com tells you what kind of people use a particular site. For example, 55% of the people using the Northwest Airlines site are female and 39% are over 50. This is also a great way to study the competition.
4. Potential clients wonder if your company is real.
Alexa.com rates Web site traffic and will immediately indicate whether a company is masking it's identity. You can even download the toolbar for easy access.
5. Better searches yield better results.
Google the person's name. If it's a common name, try Googling the name and the person's state like this: "John Doe" + Alabama. No one "detective" technique gives the complete picture, but various types of searches will give you more information to consider.
Michael Angelo Caruso has delivered over 2,000 keynote speeches and presentations on the subject of communication. He is President of the Edison House, a Detroit-based consulting and publishing company. Mr. Caruso is author of the 5 Cool Ideas books and the FastLearnerAudio series, which can help you become an even better person.