By definition, a scam is something that tricks you out of your money. But it’s not always easy to spot if you are about to be scammed online.
However, in my experience, I have discovered that certain factors indicate you are at increased risk of unintentionally handing over your cash.
The list below is one that I created to help with my own research when reviewing paid-for products, and I call them ‘scam factors’.
By checking a product for the points below and then following my advice, you can be pretty sure that you won’t just hand over your cash without first taking a step back.
Let’s look at 10 ways to spot and avoid work from home scams.
#1 Video or information suggesting high income and/or extravagant lifestyle is possible
Any website suggesting unrealistic earnings and a lavish lifestyle is attempting to play with your mind.
You have likely reached the website because you are in a situation where you need to improve your financial situation, so straight away you will obviously be interested.
The reality is, these claims are almost never true and are simply aimed at creating false hope.
#2 Scarcity tactics used to encourage
you to sign up or pay
Have you ever visited a website where it suggests that ‘only x amount are available at this special price’, or a countdown clock is ticking away telling you how long have left to take advantage of an offer?
There’s only one reason for deploying scarcity tactics like this…to get you to join or pay ASAP.
There is no other logical explanation for putting you in a position of having to fast-track your decision.
This scenario is designed to encourage you to make your mind up on the spot. Ordinarily, this is a decision that you would take more time over.
Scarcity tactics are also commonly used by reputable businesses online. And that is fine if it’s a business you know and trust.
But if your first interaction with a business or opportunity involves scarcity tactics…you should be very wary.
#3 Geo-targeted information
displayed on the website
So you hear about an opportunity online and when you visit the website, remarkably, it says that positions are available in your local area!
Do not be fooled by this…it is called geo-targeting and it is a method used to trick you into thinking an opportunity has worked in your area for others so it can work for you.
In reality, this is a simple bit of code added to the website that picks up your location and displays it on the website. Yet again it’s another scam factor designed to increase the chances of you making a purchasing decision.
#4 ‘Unbelievable’ testimonials are
a prominent feature
For many years now testimonials by genuinely satisfied customers have been a trusted way to assess how good an opportunity is. However, in recent years it has become an exploited area by those wanting to scam you.
Video testimonials have become the most popular and convincing way to deliver customer opinions these days.
But they can easily be faked because if someone really wants to make a product seem better than it actually is, they will pay people to create positive yet fake video testimonials on websites like Fiverr.
Evaluating testimonials requires your focused attention. Any exaggerated claims should immediately alert you. The more unbelievable they seem, the greater the chances are that they are fake.
#5 Exit popups offering you a discount or improved offer when you try to leave the website
Exit popups are one of the most frustrating things you can find on a website, and they are specifically put in place by the website owner(s) in an attempt to change your mind about leaving.
The ‘Exit Popup’. One of the most common scam factors
The process is a simple one. You go to the leave the site and a popup appears in the middle of the screen with an improved offer.
It will often be a price reduction, and there can sometimes be multiple price reductions every time you try to close the page.
Exit popups leave you thinking: “Why wasn’t I offered this price in the first place?”
Any websites with these pop-up discounts in place should concern you.
Even if they do get you to join at a lower price, you can bet that they will try to make even more money out of you once you join.
#6 No name or ‘about us’ information
If an online opportunity doesn’t provide with you a name or information about who the creators/owners are, you can be certain they have something to hide. It’s that simple.
Trust is everything online, and no matter how good an opportunity might seem, if you don’t know who you are dealing with then you should consider it as a major red flag.
#7 Requests for your phone number
Asking for your phone number is a trick that makes you think you will have support at the end of the line whenever you need it.
However, once you hand over your phone number you are likely to be pressured into handing over cash or even upgrading to a more costly service.
The only time you should ever consider making contact by phone is when the website you are viewing offers you THEIR phone number and doesn’t request yours first.
This leads nicely to the most important scam factor…
#8 The contact test
Put simply, if there is absolutely no way to make contact with the owners/creators of the website, you should be very concerned.
It is a simple 2-minute job for a website owner to put a contact email address on a website and at most a 5-minute job to put a contact form up. So you have to ask why wouldn’t they do it?
Because they don’t want to hear from you.
And that should tell you just how legitimate the opportunity really is. Close the website right away and don’t go back.
If you can make contact then you need to prepare an email. Emails are best because you will have a copy of your conversation. If it’s a contact form, make a note of what you said and the date.
If it’s a live chat box, make sure you can get a copy of the conversation emailed to you. If there isn’t the option to get a copy of the conversation, you are most likely chatting with a bot.
So if you make contact by email, you need to list any of the points above that concern you:
Once you’ve listed your concerns, you need to ask them one last and very important question:
By asking them if any hidden extras await you once you join, you are basically asking them to be open and transparent with you.
If you’ve stumbled on a scam, they will NOT want to answer this question.
Tell them you would appreciate a reply within 72 hours then hit send and await their reply. If you don’t hear back within your requested time frame then congratulate yourself because there’s every chance that you have rumbled a scammer.
Make no mistake…72 hours is more than enough time to reply to a potential customer if it is a legitimate opportunity.
If you do get a reply then don’t be afraid to follow up and ask even more questions. You have every right to do so and the contents of your wallet depend upon it.
Satisfied with the reply? If after asking your questions you would like to give the program a try, keep your email exchanges safe for future reference. These will come in handy if you have to request a refund.
You will also have enough proof to share your experiences with others – if you need to.
#9 Money-back guarantees DO NOT
mean you will NOT lose money
Money-back guarantees are, in my opinion, a scammer’s favorite weapon.
Yes, they reduce the risk of your purchase, but scams are structured to such a high degree these days that there is often greater value in you joining the program and giving over your name and email address than actually purchasing the program/product.
The first factor here is “upsells” – those additional purchases that you only find out about when you join. They often appear to enhance your potential, so they become something of a necessity.
If you eventually request a refund for the main product, there’s every chance that you will have paid for or will still be paying for at least one upsell. This makes the original money-back guarantee a bit pointless.
The other important factor is to understand the value of your name and email address.
Once you join a program and hand over your details, it’s very likely that you will be contacted at some point in the future about another online opportunity.
It might not be tomorrow, next week, or even in 6 months’ time, but if your details fall into the wrong hands you can expect to receive multiple emails as your details get used time and time again.
#10 Be wary of family or friends’ recommendations
I’m not suggesting for a minute that you should not trust those close to you, but if you should receive an email or social network recommendation from family or friends then I suggest taking the following action:
Give them a call and ask if they personally sent the recommendation to you.
If they know nothing about it then it likely comes down to a form of cyber scamming which sends recommendations to an individual’s email contacts, social friends, and/or followers.
Do not risk falling out with your loved ones…check with them first.
Happy and safe surfing people!
Marcus – WFHW