Online Scams – The Business of Taking Your Money
We’ve all seen the online scams before, “Work From Home”, “I Made $10,000 in 2 Weeks, Click Here to See How”, “Secrets of On-Line Millionaires”
“New Diet Breakthrough Now Available”, “I Lost 30 Pounds in 30 Days”. And let’s face it, the thought of leaving your
job, having more free time to be with friends and family, having money to travel and do things is all very appealing.
The fact is, everyone wants to live a more comfortable, happy and healthy life, and that’s what the scammers prey upon.
Side note: there are legitimate online business opportunities out there, but this post is dedicated to online scams, what
to look for, and how to avoid them.
Online Scams: Why Scams Work
As humans, we all have similar traits, altruism, generosity as well as selfishness and greed are embedded in all of us to one degree or another. The scammer
knows this and uses these universal traits to manipulate us into giving them our money. Scammers will identify a need or want in a person, and then provide
a “solution” to the problem for a fee. All scams are a variation on that theme. Natural disasters happen all the time, earthquakes in Haiti, Tsunami’s in Japan
and Thailand or tornado in the U.S. When these things happen, the scammers come out of the woodwork. They know that most people have a basic need to
think of themselves as altruist and generally a good person. The scammer preys on this natural human trait and sets
up a phony charity to provide relief to the affected area. He has identified a need (people want to think of themselves
as generous) and uses the tragedy to exploit (provide a solution to) that need by giving money. Unfortunately, the
money never finds it’s way past the scammer. Similarly, the scammer knows that if you are sick you want a cure, if
you are overweight, you want to lose weight and that most people would like to earn more money. Again, there is
nothing wrong with wanting these things and there are legitimate companies and products out there that can and do
work. So how do we separate the legitimate opportunities from the online scams?
Online Scams: Tactics of the Online Scammer
So, you want to make some extra money on the internet. You know it can be done, there are plenty of people that have been able to quit their 9 to 5 jobs and make
a good living at home. There are also a lot of people who have bought into various money making “opportunities”
and all they got was some worthless information, or cheaply made, unsaleable products. Here are some of the most
used tactics of the online scammer. Keep in mind that legitimate companies also use similar marketing tactics, but
if you encounter a company that uses more than one of these beware.
If they promise that their system (or coaching) will result in you earning a lot of money within weeks or months, a big red flag should go up.
Limited time offer
Especially if the offer is for today only. While it’s perfectly legitimate for a company to offer specials for a limited amount of time, what are the odds that you happened to stumble onto their offer on the very last day of the sale? My advice is don’t do it and go back a few days later to see if they have the same pricing, if so, you avoided a scam.
Advertising a very low price for their product
This mostly happens in the supplement and weight loss industries, but can also occur when you’re looking of an online business. This is how it works, you get your first month of supplements for just $9.95, but after you order, the next month you get another shipment and your credit card is billed $69.95. Without realizing it, you authorized them to put you on an auto-ship plan and that initial low price was just to lure you into an expensive monthly subscription.
Using the word “Automated” – As in our software is completely automated, all you do is install it, set your preferences and it does the rest. Let’s just think about this for a minute. If you developed a program, that once it was installed on your computer, started generating a lot of money, would you really sell that program? Or would you keep it for yourself? After all, the law of supply and demand states that the more competition you have, the lower the prices will be, and we all know that lower prices mean smaller profits. So if you ever do develop such a program, my advice is keep it to yourself, otherwise you are killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.
Not being clear about what product they are selling
You will find this tactic used a lot in the network marketing businesse. They will give you all kinds of claims that you can make money working from home. Another tactic is to offer themselves as a “business consultant”, “I teach people how to add a second stream of income at home, in their spare time”. These people, or websites, never tell you what you will be selling, if you ask, they will offer to “show you” what they do, or send you information. Often times the information they send (usually a video), gives you no more information on what they sell (or how they sell it) than you had before. The reason for all the secrecy is that MLM has a bad name, everyone has been approached by a friend or relative to join their latest business venture. MLM also has a notoriously high failure rate, something like 98% of people who join a program never make their initial investment back and quit.
Beware of the up-sell
Again, this is a legitimate marketing technique used by legitimate companies. Often times companies have different tiers of service with different pricing for their basic service, mid-level service, and expert service. The problem with this approach is when the levels and pricing are not clear, you should know exactly what you are getting for your membership. If the company offers different levels of services, they should tell you upfront. The scammer will offer you their program for one price, and only after you join do you realize that the full program involves spending more money. This technique works because no one wants to admit that they were scammed, so instead of cutting their losses they will double down and spend more money with the hope that the deluxe package will be the breakthrough they need. Bottom line, if they are not’t clear about their pricing schedule up-front, beware!
Online Scams: How to Avoid Scams
Research, research, research! Unfortunately, this is becoming harder and harder to do.
The scammers know that people are going to research their products and company on
the web. People will Google “Is xxx company a scam?”, “Is xxx company legitimate?”,
“Does xxx program work?”. Guess what, the scammers know this too! Often times
when you Google those terms, the websites that pop up are websites created by the scammers themselves. So it takes a
lot of digging to find honest, unbiased reviews. Don’t just look at the first page that pops up in your google search, go
deeper, look at the 2nd, 3rd and 4th pages. Don’t be fooled by page names like “best diet pill review” remember your
search term was “Does xxx work”, there’s a good chance that the scammer created that page and tied it to those search
engine keywords. So what should you do? Well, there are a few websites out there dedicated to exposing scammers like
Rip Off Report that are pretty good. But the best think to do is ask your friends! With the advent of social media, go on
Facebook or Twitter or just about any other social networking site and ask if anyone has had any experience with the
product, service, or program you are considering. If no one has ever heard of it, can it really be the amazing money making program it claims to be? The old adage
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” really is good advice.
Online Scams: Conclusion
The internet has make the prospect of earning a good living from home a reality. It is truly a 21st century gold rush. And just like the gold rushes in the past,
there will always be people out there selling worthless claims and preying on the hopes and dreams of the masses. Your job is to stake your claim, work hard
and collect the fruits of your labor. While this post was designed to help you avoid being scammed, don’t let the fear of being scammed stop you from claiming
your part of the American Dream. I don’t know any successful entrepreneur who has not fallen for a scam at one time or another. The successful people learn
from the experience and move on, the only shame in being scammed is reserved for the scammer.
Online Scams: Postscript
I’m often asked if I can recommend a product or service that is a legitimate online money making opportunity. While their are many out there, I do have a
personal favorite. It is an affiliate marketing site so you don’t have to buy or stock product, deal with shipping or collecting payments. They provide full
“Online Scams” Related Posts: Affiliate Marketing