Learning how to spot a scam online is critical in today’s world as over the years these so called ‘chance of a lifetime’ offers have become very robust and they can appear to be more genuine than they actually are.
I myself (in my younger years) have fallen for such scams and let me tell you, there is no worse feeling than figuring out you have been taken for a fool. I have lost money to these scams and I want to let you know I would have preferred to have flushed my money in the toilet (literally) than to feel stupid by being stepped on by these horrible (yet clever) little schemes.
Have you been the victim of a scam? If not that is great. Read this and make sure you don’t caught out in the future. If you have already been scammed, definitely read this so you know what to look out for next time.
Within this post I am going to outline what you need to be looking for and show you how to spot a scam from a long way off.
So, let’s get started.
1. Flashy & Punchy Headlines
Although this is one of the more obvious to look out for, they seem to work on people nonetheless. For example:
Congratulations, you are our 1000th visitor today, and your luck is in. We have your super gift set aside and it is ready to be dispatched. Simple fill in the box with your name and email, and we will take you to our winnrers page where you will also be eligible to win a holiday for 2 in the Bahamas.
OK, this is a simple one and believe me, all they want is your email address. Later, you will see emails filter into your inbox should you decide to fill in the box. From there you will receive offers that are too good to be true and you will then lose your money later down the line. (Yes People Fall For These)!
In fact, I myself have fallen for one of these in the past by entering my email address. My only saving grace was I did not check my emails for a long time and by the time I did, there was over 100 messages from a company I had never heard of. From there (and after putting two and two together) it was obvious it was a scam. Should I have checked in the earlier stages when it was not so obvious, maybe I would have lost my money (and my pride).
Anything offering you something for nothing is most probably a scam.
2. You Are Asked For Money
If you approached and asked for money ALWAYS have your guard up. I have seen it time and time again where people are soaked up by a good story and they are sending money to someone thinking they are on a winner. More often than not they are being taken for a ride.
It was only 6 months ago, I had (and still have) one friend and he was not in such a great position when it came to his finances. He was taken in by one guy on Facebook who claimed to be an international money lender.
Whatever your needs, wherever you are, I can help you he said.
My friend needed money to the amount of a few thousand bucks and was told that he had to send 250 bucks via Western Union with a copy of his passport for processing purposes.
And YES, HE DID IT!!!
It was only after the event that he told me and I was very angry with him. Knowing that I work online and I have experience with this sort of thing he should have asked me first. I would have advised him against it of course and lent him the money myself (which I finally did anyway). Lesson learned on his part. He never saw his 250 bucks again and he never got his so called loan from this person either..
Be ALWAYS on your guard when you are asked to hand over your money.
3. False Promises And Empty Words
You see these all the time online, even if you do not realize you do.
Join Now And Start Making $200 Per Hour In Under A Week. Unlock The Biggest Secret To Success, blah blah.
Let me be completely honest with you, these are all BS OK!!! Offers like this exist simply to take your money. There is no way, and I mean NO WAY you can start earning this kind of money legitimately online in under 1 week. In fact, you cannot do it in 6 months.
To make money and earn a living online takes effort, time and dedication. You need to run a planned and organized online business. You cannot simply sign up to some crazy offer and expect to become a success overnight. It WILL NOT happen.
So please, stay away from this BS offers. There is only one winner and it is them!
4. Additional Sales Pitches
If you are caught off your guard and you do sign up for something, usually it can be a low price you have handed out. Maybe $10, maybe $50 or $100. OK yes, this is bad enough but I guess you can still leave before things get any worse right?
You will be alerted to a scam almost straight away if you are presented with further sales offers after the initial sign up process is completed.
A lot of these scams for example will offer you an E-Book which will tell you what you need to do to plug into their system and make $200 per hour in a very short time.
However, after your sign up you will be presented with a further offer such as Video Tuition which will actually show you what you need to do, which is tempting. Seeing something in action is always good right? So you go ahead and buy this for let’s say another $50.
After that guess what, you can also get personal mentoring and a private classroom which will increase the chances of your success. There goes another $150 let’s say.
From there you are asked to cough up a final $200 which will plug you into the Super Earner Program that will treble your potential income.
OK, you can see where this is going. Should you be wet behind the ears (and millions are) you will have just potentially handed over $400. That is a lot of money. Now multiply that with the thousands of other people that have done the same, that scam is ripping people of for hundreds of thousands of their hard-earned cash.
What does it give you in return? A crappy E-book worth nothing, Cheap Videos which offer no value, private mentoring with someone you cannot find and a Super Program that more than likely does not exist. Basically it amounts to NOTHING!! The same as the amount of money you have been left with.
So, if you are unfortunate enough to fall for the initial offer, make sure you stop there. If you see further offers, do not take them and run while the damage is limited.
5. Only A Few Copies Left, ACT NOW
Another clue that you are involving yourself in a potential scam is seeing the clock run down. If you see lines such as:
- Get Your Offer Now, Only 5 Copies Left
- Sign Up In The Next 5 Minutes to Ensure You Secure Your Slot
- Offer Available Until 6pm Only!!
- Here Today Gone Tomorrow
These are all here to tempt you into rushing your decisions. ‘Oh god this looks great, I better get it now or I will miss out!’.
Once you are in a position where you find yourself rushing, then you are not thinking straight. When you are not thinking straight, rational thought goes out of the window and you make mistakes.
Sit on your hands for a minute and think what you are doing. Then, go and explore the internet for the product you are looking at and look for other peoples reviews. You will more than likely find that it is a scam! A few minutes of your time doing research could save you a lot of pain later.
6. A Rich Environment
When you see these scams, you are usually also presented with lots of photographs and images that display wealth. People standing in front of their so called sports cars and mansions are great examples of this.
People holding up thousands of dollars in a fan shape saying ‘come on, sign up and join me’.
They even go as far as making videos to try to show how much money they have. Believe me, these videos can be made quite easily today using modern technology and taking advantage of a few people. Do not fall for them.
I always remember seeing one guy from a video he made in Monaco (Monte Carlo). He was standing in front of a huge mansion with a beautiful fountain in the gardens claiming that making money online had given him all that we can see.
What a load of crap!!!
Number One, somebody so rich would not be making a video on a website asking people to join him in his adventures for $10. What would $10 be to someone so rich?
Number Two, the mansion and lifestyle he is showing off were not his at all and he was on holiday there and just happened to be passing. In this event, maybe he had no money at all, and was desperate for everybody’s $10 handout.
Either way, he was deceiving people. Be on your guard when you see huge displays of wealth and an expensive lifestyle!
This offer I saw with this very guy was later exposed as a scam only a few months later.
7. Where Is The FREE Trial?
You can usually spot when something is a scam when you are still asked to pay even when a free trial is offered. Well hold on a minute, Free means free doesn’t it? Free means you do not pay, at least it did when I was in school.
You will see this a lot. Sign up now to get started with your FREE TRIAL. 30 day money back guarantee.
If you are asked to hand over money for a so called FREE TRIAL, then you are probably face to face with a scam! You will never see your money again!
If however something is offering you a free trial and you do not have to pay until the trial expires, then you are most likely looking at a reputable service which you can have a little more trust in.
For example, Wealthy Affiliate is a legitimate platform for building a successful business online. It has a FREE 7-day trial, and you do NOT PAY to join. Your first 7 days are with access to what you need to see if you like it. If you do, then you join, if you do not, they you walk away without paying 1 cent. No credit card required. That is a genuine offer.
Know the difference!
8. Give Caution To So Called Testimonials
Very often when you are confronted with offers, you will see a catchy headline that says something like:
Come and see what other satisfied customers are saying about us!
I would give a lot of caution to these as most of the time you will find they have been prepared by the website owner and placed there to impress you.
In these cases, you will rarely see negative responses and all of them you witness will be to say how wonderful everything has been since they joined up.
There is rarely evidence unfortunately to say that they are all fabricated, so it is always best to do some independent research in the form of other people reviews. Dig around on the internet and see what you can find before going any further.
Also, when you see testimonials such as this, check to seek if the website has a place to submit testimonials or a way to contact the owners. If you cannot find anything, then neither could other people, so how did they submit their testimonial in the first place?
Give caution to these so called testimonials.
9. Question Changes In Routines That You Experience!
I will explain this one to you from my own experience as this has happened to me and it appeared extremely genuine. Even as someone experienced online as I am, this one caught me off guard.
I received an email from PayPal saying that my account had received a payment and I needed to log in to accept it. I receive many payments through my PayPal, but this was the first time i was alerted to the fact that it needed to be accepted and this was out of the ordinary. I went on to log into my PayPal and I could see a deposit for a little under $100. Of course, without thinking, I accepted the payment.
Once I accepted it, i was taken to another page that asked me to confirm my password. I did it, and that was my mistake. Like I say, never having to actually accept payments like this before, I should have realized, but it went over me.
After entering my password, days later thousands was being spent from my account and naturally I was alerted to it from PayPal. I actually ended up speaking to someone on the telephone and they discovered that the payment I accepted days before was in fact fake and my account had been breached. Yes, and I gave them the password! An Idiot? YES I AM!
Luckily it was understood that the payments were not being made by myself. The transactions were actually taking place in the country of Serbia. OK I sorted it out in the end, but it proves i was the victim of a scam. This is how easy it can be to fall into these traps.
So, if you experience something out of the ordinary and it is a break in a usual routine, stop and think. I have learned that one!
10. Do Not Give Out Your Personal Details
I know in today’s world a lot of transactions are done online. If you have accounts for example with E-Bay and/or Amazon you will have supplied your name, address and credit card details etc. Luckily the mentioned companies are legitimate and trusted, so no big one there.
If you are venturing away from these though, just be sure you do some research before handing over your personal and private details. This rule certainly applies if you are looking at programs and offers to make a business online, as this is where a lot of the scams are laying in wait.
Always ensure the website you are on has an SSL certificate (A green padlock in the address bar and the website URL starts with HTTPS and not HTTP).
The SSL is a certificate to say a website is secure and it can handle payments and details which will be encrypted and cannot be intercepted by third parties. This is important for the protection of your personal information.
Never give out your personal details unless you are 100% sure it is safe to do so.
My Final Advice
It is very easy for me to sit here and tell you the do’s and the dont’s of avoiding scams. I know and have learned from my own experience and I wanted to share the information with you so you do not make the mistake of falling into these traps.
Like many things though, sometimes you need to have your own experiences and lose some money before you realize. It is the famous saying, ‘it will never happen to me’.
It will happen if you are not aware of your surroundings. Just be careful out there, and if you have come across an opportunity and you need advice, please feel free to let me know and I will help you out.
If you have any questions or thoughts on this information, reach out to me in the comments and i will get back to you.