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Watch Out for These 5 Deceitful Digital Marketing Scams


dangerous digital marketing scams

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In today’s digital landscape, having an effective online marketing strategy is crucial for success. But with the rise of digital marketing comes a dark underbelly – a web of marketing scams, frauds, and other deceitful practices designed to exploit unsuspecting businesses like yours.

If you’re here, chances are you have already asked yourself, “Am I being scammed by my digital marketing agency?”

Unfortunately, the answer is that it’s a possibility. 

The not-so-rosy reality is that some digital marketing services might not be all they seem. But fear not! We created this article to help you arm yourself with the right information, so you can identify the fraudsters and avoid their traps.

From SEO scams to social media click farms, here are the 7 risky digital marketing scams you should avoid.

1. Speedy SEO Scams

black hat seo manipulation causing temporary growth

Forget overnight growth on Google. Here’s the reality: optimizing your e-commerce website for search engines takes time – months, sometimes even years, to see significant results.

Ever come across digital marketing companies promising #1 rankings overnight? That’s a red flag you have there. These alluring offers often involve Black Hat SEO, a shady tactic that exploits search engine algorithm loopholes for quick, temporary ranking boosts.

The allure is understandable. But here’s the catch: While Black Hat SEO strategy might give you a short-lived climb in rankings, it is not a reliable long-term approach. These tactics are strictly against Google’s guidelines, and getting caught can have devastating consequences.

Using Black Hat tactics is similar to building a house on sand, where the foundation is weak and unstable.

When your website is penalized by Google, there’s no quick fix. Recovering from a Google penalty takes time and effort. While many companies expect a six-month timeframe, the duration depends on how promptly you address the penalty. You need to submit a reconsideration request and have it accepted.

2. Business Directory Scams

fake website for business directory

Listing your e-commerce business on different business directories is a good digital marketing strategy. It adds a sparkle of legitimacy, throws you a lifeline of backlinks, and eventually leads to increased organic traffic and sales.

However, unscrupulous digital marketing agencies might use these benefits to lure you into a business directory scam. Here, they’ll promise to list your business on hundreds of business directory websites.

Sounds great, right? Not really!

Here’s the reality check: Many of these directories are irrelevant to your niche, and some are even located in far-flung countries where your target market cannot reach.

The worst-case scenario is that their list contains domains associated with a dodgy website – not a good look!

So, how can you avoid business directory scams? Ask the right questions.

Before opting for a business directory service, make sure you get answers to these critical questions:

  1. Which specific directories are you targeting?
  2. Why are they relevant to my business?
  3. What’s the cost and duration?

A trustworthy marketing agency should be able to justify its choices and expenditures. Also keep in mind that you can list your business yourself on Google, Bing, and Yelp completely free. Listing your business into these three golden business directories will already give you a significant advantage.

3. Phishing Fraud

A fraudster targeting e-commerce business.

Phishing fraud is a malicious cyber attack that aims to deceive people into giving up their personal information, and money, or hijack their accounts.

Fraudsters use various methods such as email, phone calls, or fake websites to impersonate legitimate organizations. These methods look very authentic containing logos, signatures, and links. However, if the recipient clicks on the link or opens the attachment, they may be taken to a fake website that requests their personal information or installs harmful software.

Recently, there have been a large number of phishing attempts targeting e-commerce businesses and social media managers. Fraudsters send messages on meta platforms claiming that their account will be permanently deleted for violating trademark rights. The recipient will then be asked to file a claim by using the link they have provided. See the screenshot below:

Sample phishing scam sent from email

Clicking the link takes you straight to a phishing site. This fake website, designed to steal your information and hijack your account, can cause serious damage. Not only could your account be compromised, but your target markets could be impacted as well.

Phishing attacks can be scary, but you have the power to protect yourself and others. Here’s how:

  • Be a Skeptic: Always treat unsolicited or suspicious messages with caution. Don’t let urgency or fear cloud your judgment.
  • Don’t Click or Open links: Never click links or open attachments from unknown or untrusted sources. These can be gateways to stealing your information.
  • Spread the Word: By informing your audience about ongoing phishing scams, you can significantly reduce the number of victims and empower others to fight back.

4. PPC Fraud

PPC Fraud incurred a substantial bill for advertiser

Pay-per-click fraud is a malevolent practice designed to exhaust your advertising budget and leads. As the name suggests, this involves clicking your PPC ads multiple times without actually being interested in your products and services.

Perpetrators of PPC fraud are usually your competitors, click bots, and web crawlers. The primary goal of this marketing fraud is to exhaust your budget, allowing them to gain the top advertising spot.

Interestingly, you can also be the victim of PPC fraud by your own actions. This happens when you unwittingly click your own ads just to check.

Thankfully, Google Ads now has an anti-click fraud program that can detect and filter out invalid clicks before you are charged for them. Moreover, you can report any suspicious activity to Google Ads for further investigation.

5. Social Media Click Farms

Fake profile created to increase following and engagement

Social media click farm may sound like a new jargon, but this is an old social media marketing scam that has been around for years. This digital marketing scam involves paying a company to create fake followers, likes, or comments on your social media accounts. It uses bots or real people to give you a false impression of popularity by boosting your online presence artificially.

Some incompetent digital marketing agencies use this dishonest method to increase the social media following of their clients. Interestingly, there are also companies that openly offer this service to anyone who wants to increase their following, such as small businesses, celebrities, influencers, and even some brands.

However, this is a futile strategy. It does not help you reach your target audience or potential customers, so it does not improve your leads or sales. In reality, it can harm your brand reputation.

Avoid this social media marketing scam. Instead, focus on creating better content that attracts your target market. Also, be careful of a digital marketing agency that uses this shady tactic. If your social media account suddenly gains a lot of followers without explanation, it could be a sign of fake followers. You can easily spot them by checking their profiles, posts, and bios.

Protecting Your E-commerce Business from Digital Marketing Scams

We get it. Digital marketing can be confusing at times. That’s why having a partner will give you a significant advantage. However, not everyone who offers online marketing services is trustworthy or competent. Some are just trying to scam you with false claims and useless tactics.

At Be Global E-commerce Corporation, we empower you to navigate the digital marketing world with confidence. Explore our insightful and up-to-date blogs to learn how to spot and avoid scammers, ensuring your marketing efforts reach their full potential.

Looking for a trustworthy and effective digital marketing strategy? Get in touch with our experts today and let’s work together. We value transparency and we keep you updated every step of the way. With solid data, we’ll support you with different insights to achieve your online goals.

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