We’ve all come across the ever elusive dangling carrots, aka “make money from home scams” and although some are blatantly obvious, scammers are always finding new and improved ways to mimic legitimate marketers, making it difficult to keep up with what to watch out for.
Unfortunately, these people are darn good at what they do.
You know the ones I’m talking about. They lure you in with promises that they will show you how to get your very own piece of the internet’s so called “push button profits” and in no time at all, you’ll be making thousands of dollars per day on autopilot with no effort. Just like that…poof! You’re raking in the dough overnight.
How to get rich quick is what they preach and man are they masters of their craft, conjuring up just about anything to manipulate you so they can get rich quick off of your hard earned money, which can end up being hundreds, or even thousands of dollars.
It’s these types of shenanigans that cause ordinary folks to lose their hard earned money everyday and oftentimes sadly ruins the lives of those that can’t see through the deception.
“Shiny Objects” Look Pretty But…
Unfortunately, a quick google search shows that there is no shortage of people sharing how they were left penniless because of the latest “shiny object” or get rich quick scheme.
And, almost definitely, those of us who have searched for legitimate ways to make money online have at one time or maybe even multiple times, bought in to this “shiny object syndrome.”
There was a period of time when I was about to completely give up on the idea that making money from home was even possible, for fear that everything I came across online was just another scam. I had seriously had it.
Fortunately I found my way out of the mess of scams to legitimate ways to make an honest income on the internet and along the way, learned what things to steer clear of…telltale signs you’re about to get scammed.
A Healthy Dose of Skepticism
Before we get in to the signs I think it’s important to mention that on the flip side, it’s a good idea not to get too jaded and automatically assume everything must be scam, because there are definitely some real ways to make an honest living online.
I know because I use them myself to earn online.
Most of the time I’m a “trust your gut” kinda person but that approach can get interesting when it comes to spotting online scams. Here’s why…I’ve found that after the bitterness of being scammed a few times (or even just once), your mind can start to play tricks on you and at times your gut may not serve you so well.
Obviously if every fiber of your being is screaming scam, it’s a good idea to run.
But, had I listened to my “gut instinct” after hardcore skepticism had kicked in from having been scammed previously, I would have missed out on legitimate ways that finally allowed me to start making income online.
Because, once the skepticism sets in it’s easy to let fear step in and take over, possibly preventing you from an opportunity of a lifetime.
The key is to have a healthy dose of skepticism that will serve you well and to know what to look for while doing the necessary homework to sniff out scams, so that you don’t miss out on legitimate opportunities at the same time.
So, if you’re tired of trying to figure out how to spot an online scam or losing to the latest internet scam, here are some things to beware of while searching for ways to make money on the internet.
Red Flags to Watch Out for With Online Scams
Outrageous Income Claims and Far Fetched Promises
Who doesn’t want to make gobs of money? Even better, who doesn’t want to make gobs of money overnight? Creators of “get rich quick” products or programs are well aware of this and use it to lure you in with promises of making hundreds or even thousands per day.
All you have to do is pay up front to use the same “system” they use to make millions on autopilot without having to do much work at all.
Just push a button and you’ll be making the same millions they make to pay for those multi million dollar homes and flashy cars and to take those lavish vacations plastered all over their sales pages and websites.
Any legitimate way to earn an income long-term, doesn’t involve getting rich quick. Ever. It takes hard work to make money online. A promise to make money overnight is your first red flag.
These types of programs are a dime a dozen, except you won’t pay that for them, it’s usually something like $29 or $39 up front – you’ve seen them, and you’ll get all you need to start making money right away.
A clever price most people are able to scrape up and a 60 day money back guarantee if things don’t work out make the offer appear low risk, but of course they make it hard as hell for you to get that money back – that’s if you ever do.
See if this sounds familiar…
It usually starts with a fancy sales page featuring a long video that runs on auto play with no rewind or fast forward. Once it’s over you are offered a “one time opportunity” that will be ending in “x” amount of minutes or hours and will never, ever be available again for this low one time fee.
Funny how if you go back days later, the same urgent one time offer is still there.
If you try to exit the page at this point, a box will pop up offering you a discounted price and now instead of $39, you pay only $19, another tactic to build on the false sense of urgency.
So you put in your credit card and log in with the information that’s emailed to you and it doesn’t take long to realize that there is no information or support to explain how to actually go about making this money you were told was going to be so easy to make.
You’re really starting to get annoyed…
Adding more insult to injury, there is no real system or support, unless you want to pay more money – enter the upsells.
I’ve literally been badgered on the phone (not even sure how they got my number) to pay an extra $500 to $5000 for a “mentor” to teach me how to make the kind of money the guy in the video (who supposedly owns the product, but you can’t contact personally, not even via email) just told me I could make by paying the “one time” fee I already paid.
Or, suddenly there’s a monthly fee to access the information you need to learn how to do this, which was never disclosed upfront. WTF?! Absolute trickery.
You have one of two choices: Pour more money into this thing OR wake the hell up, hold on tight to your money and get what you already paid back. Unfortunately, here’s where you have to fight tooth and nail and send multiple emails to get your money back.
Trust me these guys have got it down…they know the average person won’t have the patience to go through the process, making it one more sale they get to pocket. They were wrong about me though, I got my money back, scammers!
Hook, line, and sinker…
It doesn’t take a genius to do the math to figure out that at $29 to $39 a pop, even a few of these sales per day makes a pretty sweet income for just sitting on your ass and doing nothing.
No wonder these people are raking in the dough, disgustingly taking advantage of people’s desperation to make large amounts of cash fast, and the sad part is many times it’s people who don’t even have money to begin with.
It makes me cringe to know that these are usually the ones that are pressured into dropping an extra couple thousand on upsells too, and usually end up with nothing to show for it.
Note: I don’t have a problem with upsells themselves as they are a part of any business, even legitimate ones. It’s how they are delivered that matters. Delivered in a tasteful, no-pressure way which highlights the benefits they offer is far different from the manipulative tactics spammers use.
I highly recommend to steer clear of these types of “push button profits” since it’s not possible to make money that easily or quickly, unless you’re into scamming people too.
Aboslutely not, thank you very much.
Rule of Thumb – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Asking for Personal Information
You should never have to enter or offer your personal information such as social security number or bank account information to get information on or buy a product or service. This is a total red flag and perfect scenario for scammers to drain accounts and/or steal identities.
When purchasing a product or service, it’s also wise to pay attention to the page which asks you to enter your credit card information. Pages with “https” mean secure check out, whereas some information transmitted on “http” pages is done using plain text, making it more vulnerable to being intercepted by hackers.
Note: This doesn’t mean “http” pages or sites are scams, they are just more vulnerable to hackers – “https” adds another layer of protection for the website owner as well as the user.
What You’ll Actually be Doing is Never Disclosed
If an individual or business isn’t up front about what it is that you will actually be doing to earn money and leads you to believe it’s totally free to access their product or service but then asks you to enter your email to get more information, this is a sign to beware.
Typically it isn’t until after you give them your email that they drop the bomb – in order to access their money making program you’ll need to pay them “x” amount. You have no more info on how they’re actually making money and now they’ve got your email to spam your inbox.
Fake Looking Testimonials
Watch out for written or video testimonials that seem to good to be true. People making loads of cash in the first month of following a system, or six-figures within the first 90 days, or multiple people becoming millionaires by following a certain money making method, all goes back to the first telltale sign of outrageous income claims and far fetched promises.
Everyone knows how easy it is to hire someone on Fiverr to create a fake testimonial, and scammers use this tactic often to prey on your emotions and appeal to your vulnerable state – if these ordinary people were able to go from broke to millions, then you certainly can too. Like I mentioned earlier…
Rule of Thumb – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
There’s no Way to Contact the Owner/Seller or Get Support
People offering a legitimate way to make income online have no need to hide behind a facade, their contact information is clearly visible on their website, they invite comments and are willing to offer help and answer your questions. So if none of this is made available on a sales page, website, or the like, it’s a good sign of scam.
You have to question whether the individual has something to hide and why there is a lack of transparency.
When contact information is shared, do your homework and make sure it’s legit, for instance addresses aren’t outdated, or phone numbers aren’t working. Also, you can do a google search on the person’s name to see if they’ve ever been tied to, or are currently associated with any scams.
If there are a large amount of scam claims, it’s definitely a red flag, but if they are a few here and there in a sea of positive feedback, use common sense to figure out if the accusations may be unfounded. Bottom line – you can’t please everyone all the time.
In some cases you will even come across make money online scams (rebate processing and data entry scams are common ones) that use similar fake identities which show up on multiple products that are almost identical, and when you google the person’s name it comes up with multiple complaints from people who have been scammed.
Run away quickly from these!
Also, if there is no way to get help or support, whether it’s having to do with how to use the product or service, or technical issues, or any other relative topic, and you’re left to just figure things out on your own, it’s a good indicator of a scam.
Beware of Binary Options Trading Software
Although binary options can be a lucrative way to make money, you really have to know what you’re doing and the problem is, most people don’t. Creators and sellers of binary options trading software are well aware of this, so they promote the software as a fool-proof way to get into the game of trading.
Just to be clear, what you are signing up for is a broker to be in charge of your trades.
You basically place a bet by buying a put or a call and if you win you will always profit less than the money you risked, for example, you will have to risk $200 to make $180 and if you are right 50% of the time, you will have a negative expectancy. The odds are always in favor of the broker, who will have a positive expectancy.
Binary trading software claims you will make boatloads of cash after you invest sums in the range of anywhere from $200 to $1000 and once you deposit your initial amount you’ll get several phone calls from brokers who are salespeople trained in the art of manipulation, trying to get you to put in more money for offers that are too good to resist.
They pressure and badger you like no other, even when you tell them to stop calling.
There are countless reports of people losing large sums of money through the act of trading and if you do wise up and ask to withdraw your money before you get in too deep, they will try to claim that your account is not in compliance or make up some other reason that they can’t allow you to withdraw your own money.
If you’re actually successful at retrieving your money (or what’s left of it) the badgering won’t stop there – prepare for constant calling to continue for weeks or even months, until these shady bullies have had their fill.
Trading binary options has become so risky that it has gained the attention of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) as being “all-too-often fraudulent” and alerts have been issued by both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Bottom line, no matter what type of scam, they all use the same elements to lure you in:
- Overinflated promises
- Emotional appeal
- Sense of urgency
Safeguard Yourself From Making Decisions You’ll Regret
Knowing the signs of a scam is your first weapon of defense. Here are a few other tips that will help you avoid making decisions you will later regret when it comes to choosing products or services that claim to help you make money online.
Don’t Make a Hasty Decision
If you’re experiencing major hesitation about trying something new, you may need to take a step back. Hesitation and excitement often go hand in hand in this scenario, but in my experience, it’s super important you feel confident about the decision you’re about to make.
Although it’s normal for some questions to get answered as you actually go through the process, if questions are raising red flags for you, do some digging to find as many answers as you can before investing your money. Read reviews and get people’s personal experiences with what it is you’re interested in trying.
If it’s a legitimate opportunity there should be no pressure to get started right this minute. Give yourself a couple of days to make sure you feel confident about your decision and that it’s something you’re comfortable with financially.
I’m not a fan of jeopardizing your financial situation – I’ve watched too many people end up in huge debt or penniless when an online or offline business didn’t go the way they planned.
I’m a big believer in weighing your options and taking calculated risks, not blind ones.
Try Before you Buy
Speaking of calculated risks…the best way to find out whether something is right for you is to try it before you buy it. You can be confident that companies or individuals who offer free trial periods, or as is the case with the platform I learned to make money online with – a lifetime free starter membership, offer great value.
They have that much confidence in the benefits of their products or services to allow you to try them out before you invest anything. This is a great sign of a genuinely legitimate offer and proves that they want you to feel confident and happy with your decision should you choose to upgrade to a paid option in the future.
Products and services you can try before you buy build long term relationships by earning your trust, as opposed to scammers who just want to take your money and offer nothing of value in return.
Don’t Fall into the “Next Big Opportunity” Trap
One of the biggest reasons most people never make a dime online is lack of follow through. Before they give one thing a solid chance, they’re already searching for the next option. This is where you can run in to problems, lose money and dig yourself into a deeper hole.
There’s never a shortage of internet business opportunities, and it’s easy to get distracted seeking out the “next big one”, and just like “shiny object syndrome”, it can be a never ending game. Before you know it, it’s wasted time that could have gone toward the one thing that will eventually get you where you want to be – if you stick to it.
Once you find a great opportunity, stick with it and focus your efforts on it with all your might so that you can build and grow it into a real income.
Invest in the Big Picture
Looking for short term profits will end up being short term gratification, at best. Successful people look at the bigger picture. It’s not realistic to think you will make money overnight, or a lot of money in a short period of time. A real business is something that you build and grow over a longer period of time.
If you plan on making money from an online business, or any business for that matter, you’re going to have to start thinking long term and looking at the big picture.
Learn Skills That Help You Long Term
So you’ve got your mindset focused on the bigger picture and the kind of commitment and discipline it takes to make it online, but what about the skills to put your plan in to action?
The sooner you realize there are no quick and easy ways to make money from home, the sooner you’ll start to focus your efforts on finding the right training and support to give you the education and tools necessary for building and growing a legitimate online business, instead of falling victim to internet business scams.
The internet is always evolving and your success is directly related to your continuing education and the skills you put in to place for your business, so it’s important to learn skills that will help you long term.
The Bottom Line
The reality is, building a business never happens overnight, and it’s never easy. Scammers are well aware of this and rely on ignorance, vulnerabilities and emotions of ordinary people looking for that big break to make money quickly. Being aware of how to watch out for scams and of how to safeguard yourself against them saves you from loss in multiple ways and allows you to focus your efforts on real and honest ways to make a consistent income online.
I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts regarding online scams, so go ahead and leave them in the section below!