Internet Scams come in Many Forms.
The first, and arguably most important, thing to stress here is the old adage: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” I’d elaborate on that and say almost certainly is.
Some internet scams will offer you unbelievable financial success for minimal effort. Some will attempt to trick you into downloading malicious software. Some will simply appear to be legitimate online transactions where the goods you ordered never arrive, and possibly never existed in the first place.
Believe me when I say you would not be the first, nor will you be the last, to fall for a clever trick. I’ve fallen victim to a few myself over the years and I’m always on my guard whenever dealing with someone I don’t know.
I have a motto: Believe Nothing, Trust No-one, Check Everything.
Below is a list of some common scams.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully, it will at least make you aware of how devious (and believable) scammers can be.
The Inheritance Scam.
Your dreams have come true! You have been contacted by a very professional-sounding lawyer representing the estate of a distant relative who has died, usually in some faraway country, with no apparent heirs. He is convinced you have the best chance of benefiting from the estate (which, of course, is worth several million dollars) and wants to help you claim said estate.
Sounds too obviously scammy? You’d be surprised just how many will fall for this.
Especially if you do happen to have distant relatives in the country he refers to.
I’m sure you know where this is heading. You’ll be asked (not right away, mind you, but as soon as he/she considers they have your trust) to start forking out for legal fees, stamp duties, or even bribes to officials. This will continue as long as you, the victim, are prepared to keep paying.
When you eventually refuse to pay more, communication will cease and the “lawyer” will be untraceable.
A similar scenario could involve an international lottery win or similar windfall.
A friend of mine recently tried to convince me (true story) to join him in a scheme involving the heir to the throne of a small Asian country who was trying to smuggle gold out. The plan was for us to buy the gold at a large discount, then sell it back to him at a profit later. I tried to convince him he was being scammed but he was already committed and he trusted the person who had referred him to the scheme. Yes, he lost big time, and as the whole scheme would have been illegal anyway, he had no option but to cut his losses and walk away.
Fake Work-From-Home Schemes
You know the scenario. Guaranteed income, probably in the realm of Hundreds or Thousands of Dollars per month. (But, of course, you have to shell out first!) You could be offered a membership of some sort or the instructions to a simple money-making method.
Revitalizing dead batteries is one that comes to mind here. I’m no scientific expert, but to me, that one falls into the “too good to be true” category.
Whatever it is, if you are told you can become rich almost overnight with little or no effort, it’s probably a scam, and my advice is to run a mile!
Getting Paid for Completing Surveys
Whilst not actually a scam, these schemes, in my experience (yes, I have tried a few) tend to pay very little for the amount of time involved. After all, do you really think anyone would be prepared to pay $50 or more per hour for completing surveys? It’s funny how the well-paid ones seem to disappear from the list as soon as you’ve subscribed.
It’s my opinion that many of these sites are all about gleaning your email address, so it can be onsold to scammers who will then bombard you with other “offers”.
- Online Share Trading
I’m sure there are some ethical stock brokers with an online presence. Actually, make that lots.?
Ethical, real stock brokers though, do not try to scam people by promising unbelievable returns for just a few hours work per week, in the attempt to sell “failsafe” software at inflated prices. Software that’s supposedly designed to do all the research for you and make you a successful trader overnight.
I’ve seen more than a few of these scams over the years and I can only assume they’re very successful (for those selling them), as they are still spreading.
I refer you back to my opening paragraph.
Another scam that has recently caught my attention is Digital Altitude.
Details can be viewed via this link
Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) Schemes.
Now I know I’m probably going to ruffle a few feathers by including MLMs in this list. I accept that not all MLM schemes are scams per se, but I will stress that the majority engage in some very dodgy practices that are either borderline illegal or at best unethical. The problem lies in the fact that recruitment becomes more important than product sales.
As a result, the selling prices for their products have to be grossly inflated to cover the commissions paid out to “sponsors” for recruiting new “distributors”, who in turn are expected to recruit more, and so on…
Yes, I can speak from experience here. I’ve been involved in MLM schemes in the past. Not because I’m an unethical person or some sort of con artist, but because I wasn’t aware of the true ramifications of MLM. The average participant in such businesses is not a schemer or a shyster, we just swallow the hype, believing we are building our own business. Nothing could be further from the truth. We do not own our distributorship but merely function as a cog in the wheel making millions for someone at the top of the food chain.
Eventually, most of us run out of friends to spruik to and pull out, being left with stacks of unsold product we were obligated to buy to keep our “distributor” status. In my case, I ended up giving most away just to be rid of it!
Essentially, there is very little difference between most MLMs and the infamous Pyramid Schemes outlawed years ago. (And yet still popping up from time to time) There’s a post HERE that I added recently dealing with MLMs in general.
Some confuse MLM with Affiliate Marketing. Wrong! In Affiliate Marketing you are in business for yourself. You’re free to market any product or service you choose, and there’s no requirement to purchase any of the products you promote. MLM ties you to one product range, through one distributor, who retains complete control over how your “business” operates.
Obviously, I could go on and on itemizing one shady deal after another but I’m sure you’re getting the idea. Basically, yes, you can make money through the internet if you have a definite and workable plan. However, the internet is full of shysters who make a fortune (for themselves) by promising big returns with little effort, and don’t want to know you after you’ve paid your money. Unless, that is, you happen to have a friend or two who you can refer to them for a bit of a kickback. Personally, I’d prefer to keep my friends!
Have you fallen victim to an internet scam or fraud? Perhaps you sent money to someone claiming to be collecting funds for “Disaster Relief” only to have your donation disappear into someone’s offshore account.
Send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or join the discussion below.
Cheers for now,