Do you know the telltale signs of an Internet scam? Are you intrigued by wild claims of work-free wealth? Could they be real? Most people are familiar with wire transfer scams (those fun e-mails from Nigeria) because they’ve gained a lot of publicity in recent years. However, “home business” based scams are alive and well because they sound so good to the “get rich quick” side of the brain. Not all home based business opportunities are scams, but many are, so it’s wise to learn the tricks of the trade before send off that check.
First Things First
For those of you who insist on rifling through the spam folder trying to separate the wheat from the chaff, this is for you: If it arrives in your inbox, and you didn’t ask for it, don’t open it. Better yet, don’t even click on it. Nothing, absolutely nothing that arrives as unsolicited e-mail is worth your time. If the message doesn’t contain a virus, it usually carries an even more sinister payload, in the form of a fake or illegal product offer or some other money making scam. Follow through and they’ll empty your bank account quicker than you can say Jack Robinson. The volume of spam that goes out daily is a true testament to the gullibility of people. If it didn’t work, they wouldn’t waste the time. Don’t be a victim. This is critical, thus it bears repeating, so again, if it arrives in your inbox, and you didn’t ask for it, don’t open it.
“Make $4,232.12 by Next Tuesday, Guaranteed!”
This one’s an all time favorite. The beautiful part is that pretty much anytime you see it, avoid it. Not surprisingly, it makes no difference what the advertised product or system is. Anyone who is willing to go out on a limb and guarantee you’ll make ‘x’ amount of money by a certain date is lying. Not only are they lying, they’re probably violating truth in advertising laws of just about every nation on the planet. Are all “systems” advertised in this manner scams? Not necessarily, but if they’re willing to make outrageous statements to reel you in, can you really take the chance? Oh, and unless you ordered it through a reputable online electronic retailer, good luck with that “guarantee”.
“2+ 2 = What? Fuzzy Math”
Here’s another good one: The “it just doesn’t add up” scam. Originally popularized by infomercials in the wee hours of the morning, these scam artists have added the Internet to their repertoire as a cheap and easy way to suck in more victims.
Here’s how it works: The advertisement (complete with “real testimonials”) claims the parent company will send you a check for some amount if you sell so much of their product. It’s that easy. Really! It’s about this time you start to get excited because the product is so great, it sells itself! Then comes the bombshell, you only have to sell 20 widgets for $10 each and the company will send you a check for $1000! With reckless abandon, you pick up the phone and dial that toll free number.
In case you missed it, 20 widgets at $10 each add up to only 200 bucks. If you didn’t catch it, you’ll figure it out as soon as the operator picks up the phone and offers you the ‘signup kit’. Oh, they forgot to mention that upfront? If only the membership ‘fee’ were the end of it you might be ok, but it isn’t. In fact, it’s not even close. The up sells and membership requirements will climb well above those thousand bucks before you even get the opportunity to sell that first widget. Shucks.
While the preceding example might seem extreme, it’s not that far off the mark. Worse, it’s still surprisingly common, even in light of widely publicized indictments. The bottom line is this: If the math doesn’t add up, don’t make that call!
“The Internet Store Scam”
Here’s one that’s not as much a scam as a completely hopeless endeavor. Yes, it’s the readymade Internet business in a can, or some similar premade “just add water” website nonsense. Here’s how it works: First, you are required to buy some sort of startup kit or package which costs upwards of $150. Many times, a neat looking box will arrive at your door with all the trimmings – instructional DVD’s, product catalogs, flashy brochures, and so on. Inside, you’ll get instructions on how to setup your business webpage on their servers, where millions will flock to buy your cheap trinkets (Of course the products are so wonderful, they sell themselves. Heard that one before?). It’s exciting, especially for someone who’s new to the Internet business world. The excitement usually ends within a month or two when no finds the webpage, let alone buys anything. Perhaps you want to promote your webpage with online ads? Nope. To make matters worse, many of these companies expressly forbid advertising your page on the web as part of the terms and conditions!
Fortunately, with a little research and little if any money, you can have a real web site, with real products. Therefore, don’t get mixed up with any of these outfits.
Sadly, these three examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Every day some scam artist is conjuring up a new and inventive way to rip-off the unsuspecting public. Stay vigilant and stay out of your spam folder!