How many times have you searched the internet for a job or money making opportunity only to find yourself falling for yet another online scam? More than you can count, right?
Despite the awareness and security implementation, many of us are still scam victims mainly due to these two reasons; 1) We don’t know how to spot for one and 2) The scam artists are getting better at what they do.
I like to think that we can be smart internet users too. So I gathered some clever ways on how you can identify an online scam the next time you see one.
(1) Scan the Content
Yup, don’t read them just yet. Scan from the top until the end of the page to get an overall impression on how the site makes you feel. Most scams don’t focus on creating good quality content so they tend to produce pages with very thin information, probably around 300-400 words stuffed with hyperlinks or advertisements which I am sure you have seen before.
Some pages will take forever to load or have misalignment of text because scammers couldn’t be bothered to update on website functionality like a legitimate company would.
(2) Read the Details
Now, if the pages do have length, you can start to read. What is this ‘opportunity’ that they are offering you? How can you make money with this product?
For example, promoting a starter kit is one thing, but showing you how to use it in order to profit is a different matter altogether. If they keep telling you to buy more, chances are you are making them rich instead of the other way round.
Often times, they would assure you that ‘there’s minimal work involved’ and that ‘the profit’ builds up very quickly. In fact you could be earning thousands by next week. Sounds familiar, right?
Seriously, are you going to believe that? Even our parents taught us to work hard in order to succeed so what makes you think that a total stranger would reward your minimal effort with a 5 figure income within a week?
Sometimes, instead of getting you to buy, they would offer it for ‘free’. All you have to do is to ‘click on this link’ or ‘fill out a contact form’ using a squeeze page to get started.
Spam links can potentially harm your computer and scammers usually skip the email verification process once you have given them the permission to contact you.
Now, their aim is to wire a malware into your computer to detect other private log-in information which can be used to steal your identity. So think twice before you click on those links and learn to stay safe on the internet.
(3) Read Between the Lines
Scam artist are very good at manipulating our emotions and they always take it a step further by tapping on our greed, fear and vanity. Instead of providing facts, they psychologically influence our desires and make us act based on our impulses rather than educated choices.
Words like ‘3 more days before the offer ends’ simply want you to make up your mind without too much consideration. The faster you complete the online transaction, the easier they can make money out of you.
Some sites, I find, are more farcical than they are spammy. Grammatical errors and repetitive phrases that don’t read like humans make you wonder if they even read through their own content in the first place.
On top of that, using the influence of Mr. Z, the ‘general secretary’ of XOX International Bank as part of the deal is totally illogical. Consider this for a moment – why would someone in a high position of a company (that you haven’t heard of) be involved in an online opportunity that only requires a few clicks of a button?
(4) Check Out the Fishy Media
Scam sites are often decorated with cash and money logos everywhere (even online banking sites do that with moderation). Some also display images of mansion, holiday retreats and luxurious cars to show off their fortunes.
On top of that, there’s the ‘life-changing’ videos that are so convincing, they make you want to join immediately. They always seem to sound very real because hey, that’s what actors do best!
Remember that these are all the psychological persuasions that are used to make you to give them what they want.
(5) ‘Try To’ Connect with Them
A company website is always created by someone and if they are legitimate, they will offer contact details in a visible manner. If you have any doubt, you should be able to write to them and be responded to promptly.
If you don’t hear from them after several attempts, forget about it. They are probably not interested in getting to know you too. Should the company offer a free trial, it could be your best tool to get to know them inside and out.
Use the free access to validate who you are dealing with, what’s the quality of their products and services and what are their terms and conditions. If they require a credit card number in advance, make sure that there’s always an option for you to cancel your participation if you change your mind.
And then there’s a social networking profile to check. Find out if they;
- Have that ‘follow me button’ on their webpage.
- Provide a valid social profile about their company.
- Engage in social discussion within the community.
- Have any followers (at all)?
Even if they do, watch out if they are bombing spam links on social media. If they are true scam sites, chances are they aren’t going to garner a huge fan base because it’s going to backfire on their own authenticity in the online world.
(6) Google Them
Last but not least, who else would know if they are real scammers? If they readily appear on search results, Google is probably indexing them for something else too.
Just type in the company’s name in the search bar and add the word ‘scams’ at the end. Negative reviews contain real stories from people who have had bad experiences with online scams and are posting it for the benefit of others.
Regardless of their activities, if they have done an outright dishonest deal, someone is going to write about it big on the internet which is likely going to show up on the search results page too.
Have You Spotted It?
Now that you know how to identify online scams, you are more likely to prevent yourself from getting into trouble and discover legitimate opportunities that can help you reach your goals.
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“Anything someone gets conned into will never be that great.” – Roberto Hogue
Do you have any thoughts or questions about online scams? Feel free to leave your comment below and I’ll get back to you.
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