Avoid Internet crooks with the BBB Online Reliability Program

BBB vetts online businesses
BBB vetts online businesses

With close to 200 million Web sites on the Internet, how can you be sure you're dealing with ethical companies? Can you be sure that they aren't just simply phishing sites that exist only in the twisted mind of a criminal? One thing I look for is the sign of the Better Business Bureau's Online Reliability Program.

I had the opportunity to speak via phone with the BBB's vice president of training and education, Steven Salter, about this program. He told me that it was launched in 1996-97, when lots of start-ups were beginning to do business on the Web. At the time, he said, there were attempts to establish quality-assurance entities, which all too often ended up being "two guys in a garage."