Are you looking to make money online and worried about being scammed? Check out these 10 tips to detect and avoid falling for Make Money SCAMS. And, what to do if you think you’ve been SCAMMED. There is no worse feeling than investing your time and hard-earned money into what you think is a legitimate money making opportunity, only to discover that you’ve been scammed.
With the explosive growth of the internet and social media, you probably have noticed a seemingly never ending parade of “Make Money Online” or “Make Money From Home” products and systems being promoted as the best way to financial independence, or to start your own home business and “fire your boss”.
They all sound great, but are they legit, or just another SCAM? Can you really make a full time income online, or is it just smoke and mirrors? The short answer is: YES, you absolutely can build a real, long-term online business from home or anywhere you can get an internet connection. And, with time, dedication and hard work, make a full time income, or more, and quit your 9-5 job and finally be your own boss.
But first things first, how to detect the SCAMS to avoid losing our hard-earned money, time, and worse, our confidence. Then we can discuss the legitimate opportunities to build your own online business.
Here are 10 tips, or signs, that you may be dealing with a make money SCAM. 1.) Promoted as easy money or get-rich-quick. 2.) Must Pay first to see what you’re getting 3.) Cheap initial price with money back guarantee. 4.) No Contact information available. 5.) Selling the lifestyle instead of the product. 6.) Done-for-you, plug-and-play system. 7.) Uses FOMO, the fear of missing out. 8.) Offers free “built-in” traffic. 9.) Uses fake testimonials. 10.) Uses fake comments. If you come across a product or service with one or more of these signs, you may want to stay away.
What are Make Money SCAMS?
Defining what a scam is… isn’t always straight forward. From dictionary.com – A scam is a deceptive scheme or trick used to cheat someone out of something, especially money. Scam is also a verb meaning to cheat or defraud someone. I normally hesitate to call a program an out-and-out SCAM by this definition, But………
There are, what I would call, the mostly-scams. The ones that provide some basic information, but fall far short of their big money promises. Or worse, give you some of the information you need up front, only to pull you further into their money-sucking funnel. In the make-money-online industry, this is unfortunately, a common tactic of selling products that only give you one very basic piece of the puzzle. Then hit you with a series of expensive “upsells” each with another piece of the puzzle to get even more money out of you.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but, 95% of the “Make Money Online” or “Make Money from Home” products, systems and services will not live up to the promises of their sales hype. Now, that may not mean that they are technically a SCAM, but when it is your hard-earned money you’re spending, it will sure feel like a SCAM to you. Most of these “GURUS” are very careful to place some kind of disclaimer, in the fine print, to protect themselves from any fraud or SCAM claims.
But for our discussion, we’ll call them SCAMS. If they make inflated claims in their sales pages, videos or promotions that very rarely if ever are achievable, then you end up being disappointed and out of your money. Let’s go over these 10 tips for detecting a Make Money Online SCAM so you will know what to look for, and more importantly, what to AVOID.
How to Detect a Make Money SCAM
The following 10 tips (or identifiers to watch for) might seem obvious to some, but that’s not always enough to stop us from making poor decisions, especially when it comes to money. Most of these programs use emotion to sell their products. They play on peoples emotions in regard to finances and jobs and freedom. We all, at times, have fallen prey to these types of sales tactics.
The promises of a better life, financial freedom, work from home, quit your job are very appealing. These online marketers know that and they purposely design their ads, and promotional materials to play on your emotions. Always try to remember that if it sounds too good to be true, IT’S PROBABLY NOT TRUE!
So, how do you spot these scams and, better yet, how do you avoid them? Now, let me be up front, these tips will give you some of the warning signs that something is not as it’s being presented, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a product is an outright SCAM. Sometimes you may actually get some value out of the product or service.
1. Easy Money or Get Rich Quick.
This is the most obvious clue that you’re potentially dealing with a SCAM. Making Money Online, or offline, takes tools, time, work and usually some money. The latest sales technique of these “SCAMS” is the SIMPLE 3-STEP PROCESS. 1. Buy their product and log in to your account. 2.) fill out some basic information and everything else is done-for-you then 3.) money starts flowing into your bank account.
Really? If it was that easy, everybody would be doing it, especially the ones selling the program. They wouldn’t need to be running ads, putting together fancy sales pages and propaganda. They would simply plug into their “simple 3-step process” and retire to Aruba. Somebody has done some market research and determined that you can sell almost anything if you can boil it down to “3 simple steps”.
Yes, you can legitimately make money online. And, maybe even make a few dollars with some of these programs. But, to really make money online, or anywhere else for that matter, you need to follow these not so simple 3-steps: 1.) find a legitimate program or opportunity, 2.) Spend the time and effort to learn and apply the principles and methods of said program then, 3.) continue to work and learn and apply and eventually, over time, you will make money and become successful.
2. Pay first to find out the secret system.
Another common tactic of the “SCAM” programs is to lure you in with hyped up claims and fancy sales pages about their secret money making system, but they don’t tell you exactly what the system does or how it works. You have no idea what you will be required to do, or what you are actually paying for. They get your money up front first, and more often than not, give you junk in return.
I don’t know about you, but I would like to see a course outline, or list of what is included and what I will be expected to do to implement the system or product. A legit program will at least give you some general information about what it is you will be purchasing and doing.
3. Cheap price with money back guarantee.
This doesn’t automatically make something a SCAM, many products are offered at a one-time discounted fee to get you started, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But, many of the Make Money Online SCAMS will offer a cheap up front cost ( usually less than $20) and immediately, before you’ve even started using the product, start hitting you with upsell after upsell to milk you out of more of your hard-earned money.
When they start upselling you before you’ve even had time to try out what you’ve initially purchased, you are probably dealing with a SCAM. A legitimate program may offer an initial reduced purchase price to get you to try the product, and then approach you about upgrading after you’ve had a chance to use the product. Which is great because now you can make an informed purchase decision based on your actual experience.
Make sure you read the sales agreement before you give anyone your credit card. Some programs may have an initial low up front cost but then hit you with automatic renewal fees. Be sure of what you are purchasing. Is it a one time fee, or just an initial fee with monthly renewal fees. Also, be sure of their cancellation procedures and money back guarantee. Just because they claim to offer one, doesn’t mean you can actually get it.
4. They don’t list their Contact Information
A huge red flag that you may be dealing with a SCAM, is you can’t find any contact information for them or their product. They may claim to have the secret to internet millions, but it all they list as contact is some generic email address, steer clear. A legitimate program will have a website, contact info for customer support, as well as sales, and list the names and photos of the owners.
You should be able to find a “contact us” page with a form where you can ask questions before your purchase. Send them a message and see what kind of response you get, if any, before you send them any money. They should also have an “about us” page where you can get more information about them and their products and services.
If you want to see an example of how a legitimate program that considers your assurance and best interest operates, check out my #1 recommended program, Wealthy Affiliate. You not only get a full 7-day completely free trial (no credit card needed) when you visit their website, you will find contact information, an about us section and detailed information about what they teach, what you can expect, and who the founders are and how to contact them personally.
5. They are Selling a Lifestyle Instead of a Product.
Ah, the “Laptop Lifestyle”, this is very similar to the “Get-Rich-Quick SCAM”. When you see these video standing in front of an exotic car or huge mansion, maybe even piles of cash on the table or in their hands and the entire presentation is some rags-to-riches story about how they made a fortune and with their program you can too. But they never tell you what the program really is, I would pass on it.
I’ve seen hundreds of these ads, and even fallen for a few. Guess what, it’s Bogus. The cars and mansions are rented for the video shoot and the cash is either fake or on loan from the bank for the day. If they are making any money, it is by getting folks like you and me to believe their story and send them our hard-earned dollars.
The fact of the matter is that most people who are making money online are not living in mansions and driving exotic cars. It is possible to build that kind of income online, but it takes time, a lot of hard work and determination. Most people making money online are just normal people living in a normal house and driving a normal car.
They have built a successful online business by finding a legitimate system and putting in the hard work to apply it and provide value to their clients and customers. I get it, we would all like a “short-cut”, make money now and easy and fast. But, that is not how it works. Never has, and never will. It takes work and time, sometimes many months or even years before you “make it”.
6. The Done-For-You System
This is one of the latest fads in the “Make Money Online” world. The done-for-you system. You’ve probably seen several of these if you’ve spent any time looking at how to make money online. They sound great. Everything is done for you and you simply plug into the system and start making money. Watch out, because there is usually a catch, many of these programs you will be buying a sales funnel that promotes their program to others.
A big red flag is when they ask you to buy traffic to send to this funnel and it simply promotes their program. The SCAM is this “done-for-you” system is a sales or marketing funnel that continues to promote their program. The system will usually include some sales pages or sales videos along with an email follow-up series for you to send. Of course, you will need to spend money on an email autoresponder and paid ads to get people into the funnel. 😉
Getting traffic to an offer, any offer, is the most difficult and expensive part of online marketing. That’s why they want you to do it for them. If the system was so great, they would be running the ads to it themselves. These systems usually work only for the one selling it to you. You spend the money on the ads to send traffic to the funnel to buy into their system. The same one you bought into, and then they buy ads and send traffic to the “done-for-you” funnel and the cycle continues.
You spend lots of money on ads and find out that you’re not making any real money, or worse losing money, and give up. But, by the time you do, you have sent them a few new customers that only cost them a few dollars in commissions, who then repeat the process over and over. They make a ton of money, but most of their customers waste money and end up frustrated and broke.
For example, they sell you a “done-for-you” system for $100. You plug in your information, and start running ads, or buying traffic, to their “done-for-you” sales pages and videos. You spend $1000 on ads and, if you’re lucky, you get 5 sales for which they pay you a 50% commission for a total of $250. You’re getting rich now right? Nope, you’re in the hole $750. They made $250 and didn’t have to run a single ad. Great for them, sucks for you. Even worse, some of these programs even sell you “done-for-you-traffic” so they make money on both sides of the equation.
That’s not to say there are no legit “done-for-you” systems. Look for those that will teach you how to promote other products besides their own. Those where you will be learning how to build your own sales pages, funnels and videos. Those programs that are up front about any extra costs involved in running the system. There are some great online business opportunities out there, but they take time, work and yes money. The legit programs, where you can earn a 5 figure (or more) income per month are long-term established programs with comprehensive tools, training and support.
The SCAMS promote huge returns from simply plug-n-play. But, there is no magic money machine, except maybe for them. Sales funnels, paid ads, buying traffic are all legitimate tools in online marketing but they take time to learn and unless you get some training, you will be learning by trial and error which is the most expensive way to learn anything. The illustration on the right above, maps out how the “Paid Traffic” SCAM works.
7. They Use (FOMO) The Fear of Missing Out
The “Fear of Missing Out” or scarcity, is both a powerful emotional responses and one of the most powerful marketing tools, and even legitimate marketers use it. When you think something is only available for a limited time, or is in short supply, you are more apt to buy it now. Just because something is only for a limited time doesn’t mean it’s a SCAM, but FOMO is often used to get you to make a purchase before you’ve had time to do you due diligence to check it out first.
The use of the notion of scarcity in FOMO is nothing new, it’s one of the first rules of economics that there is never enough of anything for everyone who might want it. But in the Make Money Online world, we are dealing with primarily digital products and services, so scarcity is just made up. I mean, how do you “run out” of digital downloads? In theory, a digital product can have unlimited downloads.
If they are using terms like “limited” when it comes to a digital product, there is a high likelihood that it’s a SCAM. So just keep that in mind when you feel pressured to make an immediate purchase because it’s only for a limited time or supply. Do your due diligence and make sure it’s a legit product first.
Now, there could be exceptions. If the product or service includes somebodies time, as in personal coaching etc, then their time not unlimited. We all have the same 24 hours in a day and no more. So, if you will be getting personal coaching or one-on-one consultation, that would be a legitimate reason for a “limited’ supply.
8. Offer FREE “Built-in Traffic”
This is one of the latest “hooks” used by many of these make money online products. They offer a supposedly massive amount of “free traffic” that is already built into their system for you. Actually all the really provide is a list of obscure social media platforms for you to SPAM links to your sales funnel. Many, if not most of these platforms are totally unrelated to making money online. Some are completely out of business already. And, if you get caught spamming links on most platforms, you end up banned from the platform.
So, their “Free” traffic hook is just another SCAM. It distracts from the fact that you will need to spend significant amounts of additional money to drive traffic to your offer. There is no “Free” traffic, never has been and never will be. There built-in traffic is nearly worthless. Now, it is possible to generate traffic without spending more money, but it will cost you time and work, so it is not totally free. But that doesn’t sell as well as “built-in free traffic”. 😉 If you see a program like this, it’s a good bet it’s a SCAM.
9. They Use Fake Testimonials
Product testimonials are great. We all like to read about other’s experiences with the product or service before we decide to purchase or not. There is one problem with testimonials however. How do you know if they are real or fake? SCAMMERS know that we like to read testimonials and that they are a powerful influence on the buying decision, so they often fake the testimonials.
Many of these fake testimonials are written by the very same people selling the product. They use someone else’s’ picture and a phony name and write a glowing review of the products. There are even internet job sites where you can pay someone to write a “testimonial” for you product or service.
When you review as many of these online products as I do, you will start to see the same person reviewing different products often using the exact same wording. Then if you check them out on sites like fiverr.com, you will see they are a paid writer. IF the product need to hire freelancers to write bogus testimonials for their products, it’s probably a SCAM.
Even video testimonials can be purchased and staged. Check it out on fiverr, look for “video spokesperson” and you’ll see where you can pay for a video testimonial. Really hard to determine if it’s a legit testimonial with so many SCAMMERS willing to pay for a fake one. So, testimonials can be a great tool, keep you eye out for fakes. If you see one or more of the other signs of a SCAM with a product, be very suspect of any testimonials they may have.
10. They Use Fake Comments
Much like fake testimonials, fake comments at the bottom of their sales page are another red flag that you’re probably dealing with a scammer. Again, it can be difficult to determine if a comment is legit or fake. They can be purchased from the same sites as the fake testimonials. Look for comments that give a detailed description of how they used the product and the results they got. Not simply generic comments about how wonderful the program is.
Not all products have a comment section and that is perfectly fine. Moderating and answering comments takes a lot of time and expense. Many legitimate programs don’t have a comment section, but they will have a “contact us” tab where you can ask questions and get answers.
If there is a comment section, try asking a question about upsells and what kind of training you will be receiving. See if you get an answer or not, and how long it takes to get and answer. It will give you a good idea of the kind of program and support you can expect.
How to Tell a Legit Opportunity from a SCAM
OK, great, now you know some things to look for to avoid being scammed, but how can you tell if an opportunity is legitimate or not? I mean, if you are serious about learning to make money online, What are some things to look for in a legit program or service? First of all, it won’t have any of the 9 indicators we discussed previously. In addition, it will have the following:
A Strong Support Community of Members
Can you contact other members? Scammers typically don’t want members talking to each other. If the program actively encourages members to contact each other, you can feel pretty safe that it’s a legit program. You will still need to examine the program to see if it’s the right one for you.
In my experience, next to the quality of the training and tools, the community of members is one of the most important features of a legit “make money online” program. Having the ability to discuss ideas, questions, problems and solutions with other members who have experience with the program can be invaluable. And, it’s fun to be a part of a community of people all pursing similar goals and interests .
A Legit Free Trial
What I mean by a Legit Free Trial, is “NO CREDIT CARD REQUIRED”. Some programs say free trial, but they want a credit card upfront and if you don’t remember to tell them it’s not for you before the trial is up, they charge your card for the full membership. A program that is willing to let you have a free trial without a credit card up front is probably legitimate and comfortable with the quality of their product that they will let you try it before you buy it.
When you get a free trial, you need to take advantage of the time to contact the members of the community and ask plenty of questions. Check out the quality of the training offered and how easy is it to get support when you need it? Look for lots of engagement by other members within the community. Are they sharing ideas and answering each others questions? Is it a positive, friendly, and helpful atmosphere? Be sure it’s for you before you decide to pay for it. That’s the whole point of the FREE TRIAL.
Give A Full Description of the Program Before You Buy
If you have to pay first before they will tell you what the program entails, you should probably look elsewhere. A legit program that has been around for years and has a history and track record of successful members, will not hesitate to give you an outline of the program upfront. You don’t need every detail and secret, but an idea of the basic principles and teaching methods is not unreasonable.
Legitimate programs and opportunities take years and lots of money to develop and perfect. So, don’t expect them to give everything away for free. But, a legitimate program will provide some free training or a course outline before asking you for a credit card number. A great example is the Wealthy Affiliate program. If you check out their website you will find all the details of the platform you need to know, plus a real free trial before you decide if it’s for you or not.
A Proven History of Success
Scams are usually here and then gone. They don’t last because people eventually figure out they are a SCAM and once word gets out, sales dry up. Sometimes they are renamed and repackaged and re released later but again they are very short-lived. Programs that have withstood the test of time and are still around after several years or more are probably legit. In the internet world, everything moves fast and if you’re a SCAM, that word gets around fast and you won’t last.
Platforms like Wealthy Affiliate that have been around since 2005 have a proven track record and community of members so you can be comfortable at least checking out their free trial to see if it’s an opportunity that you would be interested in. Don’t necessarily discount new programs, just run them through the check list first and do your due diligence.
What to do If You Think You Have Been SCAMMED
Now, if you think you’ve been scammed, what do you do? I know this is hard, but try to remove the emotions from the situation first. We all make questionable decisions when we let emotions lead us. It sucks to be scammed, I know, I’ve been there. Nothing worse than a thief. You work hard for your money and then someone basically steals it from you or cons you out of it. Let’s try to calm ourselves and take a reasoned approach to the problem.
The first question is: Can you get money back after being scammed? If you made your purchase through an online marketing platform like clickbank or warriorplus, you can request a refund from them directly and they are pretty good about returning your money.
If you purchased directly from the owner of the product of service, first try contacting them for a refund and document any and all communications between yourself and customer support. If they refuse to give you a refund, contact your bank or credit card company to let them know what’s happened and open a dispute most will credit your account back while the dispute is being investigated.
Report the SCAM to your state consumer protection office. Each state is different, but they all have departments for reporting SCAMS. Next report the SCAM to your local police, they may not be able to help you but they will provide a report that you can use for documentation going forward.
Next you should consider filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. If you’ve been a victim of fraud, identity theft or deceptive business practices, filing a consumer complaint with the FTC may be a good option for you to potentially recover money from a scammer. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the main agency that collects scam reports. Report the scam to the FTC online, or by phone at 1-877-382-4357 (9:00 AM – 8:00 PM, ET). The FTC accepts complaints about most scams.
Report fake websites, emails, malware, and other internet scams to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Some online scams start outside the United States. If you have been affected by an international scam, report it through econsumer.gov. Your report helps international consumer protection offices spot trends and prevent scams.
Report Scams on Your Social Media
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, twitter and others are great places to post information about potential scams and scammers. It may not help you get your money back, but you can help others avoid losing theirs in the first place. And, that is good karma for you.
If you think you’ve been scammed, drop me a comment in the comment section below. I’ll be happy to look into the matter and put some investigation into the problem. It’s one of those things I like to do. 😉 At least we can make it difficult for them to SCAM others.
Final Thoughts: Buyer Beware!
I hope this information has helped you. The internet has brought a tremendous amount of opportunity to make money and better one’s life situation. But, it has also presented a ton of opportunities for SCAMMERS to prey on those of use who are looking for a legitimate online business program.
There are some great programs, products and services out there and YES you really can build a real, long-term profitable business online. You just need the proper tools, training and community support to get you there. Then, the only one who can stop you is you. If you never give up, it’s impossible for you to fail.
Before you sign up for any program, do your due diligence and run it through these tips we’ve discussed here. Then you will be able to tell the SCAMMERS to go take a hike and find the legit programs to help you achieve your goals and dreams in the make money online world. If you think you have been scammed, by all means go through the reporting steps outlined above to both, try and get your money back, and to keep them from scamming others.
I’m Looking forward to working with you,
P.S. Again, Wealthy Affiliate is COMPLETELY FREE to get started. No catch, no obligation, no bait and switch. I will personally be in touch with you upon joining to offer my support and guidance to help you get up and running online.
P.P.S. If you have any questions or are unsure of anything, I am here and I promise I will get back to you on all of your questions and comments. Just leave them below in the comment section. Follow me on Twitter: @onlinebenjamin1, Instagram: dotcomdinero, and Facebook: Online Benjamins
Thanks for stopping by and congratulations for taking the first steps to building your own online business. I’ve been in business both offline and online since 1997. I would consider it an honor to help you build your business. Father of 3, life long outdoorsman with an education in Genetics and Economics. This site is about cutting through the BS and finding the real opportunities in the online world. I look forward to working with you.