We’ve all experienced being burnt or cheated in one way or another – and it’s not a nice feeling.
It’s demeaning/galling/frustrating to have parted with money and received little or no value in return.
We know firsthand – it’s why we dedicated a whole chapter in Living a Laptop Lifestyle to be wary of shiny objects.
So, what we want to do here is point out seven tips to look out for – because being forewarned is forearmed. Right?
But first, what does ‘scam’ mean?
Wikipedia, the respected online encyclopedia, defines it as:
“A scam is an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence.”
Note that a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual. And it’s illegal!
It’s helpful to know that the word “scam” became common use among the US “drug culture” in early 1980 after Operation ABSCAM, an FBI sting operation, became public.
Just as an aside, it’s interesting to note how use of the word ‘scam’ has evolved in the last 30 years. People now use it without much thought, and without thinking of the true meaning of the word.
Why is that?
Likely because of the fear of being duped, fear of being wrong, or fear of trusting too much. But, wouldn’t you agree that all those things are experiences which entrepreneurs need to learned in order to be successful?
Just because someone is offering an opportunity to learn how to market online or to make money online doesn’t mean it’s a scam or an intentional deception – although a LOT of people believe exactly that.
So, sadly, a LOT of people remain ignorant about the real opportunities provided by the internet. They turn their backs on the biggest solution to their problem, based on one ill-founded belief. However, if they’d taken some action and invested time to do some research, they’d be a lot wiser and a lot better off in the long run!
Don’t be one of those people! It’s simple to learn what to look out for to avoid being ripped off. Know how to spot a real scam, and learn how to respond to it so you can protect yourself and your money.
Knowing these warning signs can keep you from being a victim of a scam. Remember that a scam really is a dishonest intention to get money from you.
1. Get Rich Quick: If someone suggests you can make $100k in the next week with no effort – you have to ask yourself, is that for real?
There’s NO such thing as a push button solution. And there’s no way of turning $100 into $10,000 overnight. If there was, either everyone would be doing it, or it wouldn’t cost $100!
2. Proof of Earnings: Did you know you can download images of Clickbank account earnings, so don’t be fooled by such photos on sales pages. Base your buying decision on other qualities of the product and facts on the sales page. Also, be wary of high income figures advertised – they’re usually gross sales figures, and not the net income you get to keep after paying advertising and affiliate costs etc. Sometimes there’s a very fine line between marketing talk and reality!
3. Guarantees: No one can guarantee you’ll make money online because no one can control what effort you’re prepared to put in. Plus the Consumer Watchdogs forbid making such guarantees. With regards money back guarantees – do look carefully at the wording! Sometimes it’s very clever!
4. No work involved: You can’t avoid investing time to learn something new! Period! There are heaps of genuine people offering quality information for a low cost, but their products always require action on your part.
5. No contact information: Legitimate vendors should provide contact information upon request. If there’s no valid e-mail address, phone number and mailing address (not a PO box) after you’ve asked for one, that could be the sign of a scam.
6. Unsolicited offers: If you receive an email, text, phone call which you never signed up to receive then you can report it as spam. It might not necessarily be a scam, but you have to question the judgement of someone who sends out emails to people who have not given them permission to email them.
That said, people sometimes forget they’ve signed up to receive information by email.
7. Pressure tactics: Don’t be pressured into doing anything you don’t want to. Always do your research or due diligence first and ask questions too. If you can’t get a straight answer by email (do check your junk or spam email folder first though) or by speaking to someone, proceed with caution.
That’s our 7 tips for today. There’s a lot more advice in Chapter 8 of Living a Laptop Lifestyle, particularly when it comes to safeguarding yourself when buying at events. Check it out here.
Finally, we ought to mention one method of marketing which we don’t approve of, and that’s using the word ‘scam’ to falsely gain people’s attention. For example, if you type the name of a big marketer followed by ‘scam’ into Google or Bing, there’ll always be sites and posts made by affiliate marketers who want to get you to read their review of that big marketer’s product. So it’s not really a scam about the person, just a misuse of the search term by the affiliate marketer! Which is a bit scammy, don’t you think?
The biggest scam is someone saying something’s a scam when they haven’t put in any effort or taken any action with the product! So they wouldn’t even know. That’s a scam (but without the part about being ripped off)!
We’d like to know what you think. Please leave a comment below 😆
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