Oh The Sweet Seduction Of EASY MONEY.
The adage, “if it’s too good to be true…, it probably is”, applies 10-fold in the internet scam arena. Internet marketing scams, multi-level marketing, email scams, investment scams, retail scams, ebay scams, craigslist scams… the list goes on.
How do you protect yourself?
A modicum of common sense is your greatest defense. After that, google can help immensely.
A little research never hurt anyone.
The Internet Is A Lot Like The “Wild West”
Untamed, uncontrollable and still very young. Anybody can come up with an idea, set up an online store or service, and start a business with little or no money up front. No need for qualifications, licenses or degrees. It’s capitalism at it’s best, and worst.
The bad news is that there are tens of thousands of scammers out there who are out to get you. The good news is that there are relatively simple ways to discover whether or not they’re for real.
Case In Point:
The example below shows a well designed “sales page”. A sales page is a one page website that entices and/or convinces you into some kind of action. Sometimes buying some kind of product or service, subscribing to a newsletter or simply to extract information from you that they can repackage into something else. Here’s what to look out for:
- They use “trusted” logos to make you think they’re legit
- The 100% “trusted” graphic, top-right, which also says “satisfaction guaranteed”
- Bait – $200 – $943 per day
- Sense of urgency – “Limited Supply”
- Call to Action – “Fast/Easy/Cash”, with arrows
- The Big Red Button – Marketing pros have used this for decades
What Happens Next?
You’re led to believe that for only $2.49 you’ll be sent the “Google Business Kit” and all you need to do is spend a few minutes online every day and all your financial worries will be over. HA!
What really happens is if you don’t read the lengthy, hard to find, fine print, than you’ve just signed up for $60 – $100 worth of charges per month. Check this thread – Why Google not stopping “Google Business Kit” if that is a scam? .
Did you grow up in Mayberry or the Bronx?
Even though a multitude of reputable sites with incredible deals exist on the internet, you just can’t trust anyone. Saying that, understand that I bank online and make 90% of my electronics purchases online. I’ve bought and sold items on ebay, and I haven’t once gotten scammed. Why?.. because I use common sense and do my homework. Example:
On the case above, I read the sales page, it sounded intriguing, but before I filled anything out (or in this case did not), I did a google search for “google business kit”. As you can see the first result took me to the link above, which is a forum of people talking about their experiences with this particular product. Further searching resulted in these links:
When you look at them, you’ll notice striking similarities. Both of these guys copied and pasted the sales copy (writing) into a website template, bought a domain name and started promoting their sites. The green tipster takes you to the example above, mike’s money site takes you to a landing page where you only have minutes to decide!! Oh My!!
It’s all a pitch.
Some of you may be able to make something like this work. There is money to be made on the internet. All I’m saying is go in with your eyes open. Do a few google searches with the title of the website or product advertised. Read more than one of the results to educate yourself. Here are a couple sites I refer to for different things that are a great resource:
Look at the url of the site. Make sure it is what it said it was going to be. READ THE FINE PRINT AND TERMS OF SERVICE (TOS). A little bit of digging can save you time and money.