Are you trying to find a way to make extra money but don’t know what’s a legitimate business and what’s a scam? Do you want to know what is a scam and how to avoid one?
The internet can be such a useful tool for so many things in our lives today, but it’s also rife with unsavory people who are trying to make a living off of other people’s trust and money. These people have infiltrated just about every facet of our online world. But don’t fret! There are ways to detect scams if you know some simple steps.
Hi. My name is Suzanne and I would like to talk to you about scams and how you can avoid them. But first, lets talk about what a scam is, OK?
What Is A Scam?
A scam, as defined by ‘Computer Hope‘, is a scheme made up by a fraudulent person with the intent to steal money or goods from an unsuspecting person. Have you been scammed online? I have been, and it’s very frustrating!
These people can sound so convincing. They appeal to your trusting nature, give you hope of getting out of which ever situation you may find yourself in, and usually do so in a professional manner. Anyone can build a website and make it look enticing. It can be scary when you do research on scams because there are so many out there. But let’s focus on the more popular ones you’d find when looking to make money online:
- Online survey scam – These people may offer money or certificates, but are really just gaining your information to sell to other spammers. If they require a payment of any kind, they are scams. Legitimate survey sites are free for anyone wanting to join. Though there are legitimate survey companies out there, I wouldn’t recommend them for making any significant amount of money. They take a lot of time for little pay.
- Make money fast scam – These promise you $$$$ overnight and appeal to your need for additional finances. They are usually just seeking your personal information for identity theft, or wanting your money upfront for nonexistent products.
- Over payment scam – Beware of people overpaying you for your products, then requesting a refund for the difference. The initial payment, which is usually a cheque, is not valid so you’re giving them your product as well as money.
- The Nigerian 419 scam – This originally started in Nigeria, but now comes from anywhere. These usually involve an emotional letter stating you can receive a large sum of money by providing your personal information with small fees for legal papers. Once you pay, they keep contacting you for more money for additional required services. In the end they’ve gained all your personal information and you’re out a lot of money for nothing. NEVER respond to these emails. Though rare, there have even been reports of kidnapping or death of foreign victims. If you want to read more, please click here.
- Nonexistent job scam – These job offers, which can show up on legitimate job search sites, promise you a well-paid position and possibly even a phone interview. They are just looking to get your personal and financial information.
- Pyramid schemes – These schemes offer you an excellent return on investment. All you need to do is make your initial investment, and watch the money roll in. NOT! The only people that make money doing this are the few people at the top of the pyramid. If you join near the bottom, you will probably lose your investment when the top people cut and run.
Ways To Avoid Scams Online
People inherently want pleasure over pain. In fact most of our decisions are based on that principle. That’s why so many people fall prey to online scams. If you are in a financial bind and are looking to make money online, wouldn’t the “make money quick” ads look enticing to you. They do to me! They claim to make you a ton of money for very little effort. That’s the pleasure over pain scenario.
Online scammers try to appeal to your emotional side. They are relying on your desire to earn money quickly to pay off your debt, to help support your family, or even just plain ol’ greed.
Let’s look at twelve ways to spot online scams:
- Limited time offer – This is usually a way to entice you to take action quickly, before thinking about it. If most of us had time to look around and do some research, we’d usually come to the conclusion that it’s a scam.
- I need your help – These people are relying on your emotions like kindness, generosity etc. and/or greed. They hope that you’ll send them the “small” fee to set up a very genero