Internet business scams are rife throughout the online world.
Knowing what to look for and how to avoid them is the only way to be safe. For most of us, money is not easy to come by. We work hard to make it and we want to hold on to it. Use these Top 3 Tips each and every time you part with your money online and you will reduce the risk of being scammed.
There are 3 main industries most affected by scammers - the making money industry, the sex industry and the gambling industry (which I suppose is related to the first one). This page focuses mainly on the first one - making money online by having an internet business. These are the websites which appear when you search on "internet business" related keywords. However, you should apply these principals to every time you spend money online.
Often these scammers want your personal details, such as your credit card or even bank details. Be wary of who you give what to.
They can steal money, use your credit card or even steal your identity.
At the very least, they are collecting email addresses so they can spam you. This is not so dangerous but is still annoying!
Make sure you have a firewall, spyware and anti-virus software to reduce the risk to yourself and your computer.
These are all Get Rich Quick internet business scams. They will work on you because we would all love to earn lots of money without having to do much.
We are lured into thinking this is possible. We see rich people and celebrities on TV and think they became overnight successes without really working for it. If they can do it, why can't I?
The truth is, it takes hard work and dedication to earn this amount of money. A few rich people and celebrities inherited their money or got lucky but the vast majority got there on their own merits. They worked hard - you didn't see it but they did.
For a reality check, read the Rich Dad series - they are inspirational and tell you how you can do it. And it is NOT by giving away money to people who are selling a dream world.
The people selling these scams are business people themselves - they work hard to part you from your money and they get rich in the process. So the minute you see this kind of scam, ignore it.
Too often we blindly trust people we don't even know on the internet.
Cleverly written sales copy and promises of how you can make money lure you into something that is just a scam.
Avoid these clever internet business scams by thoroughly checking them out. In the business world, this is called "due diligence".
First, look for the obvious things:
Do they have a proper name and address listed on their website? Try to contact them.
Are they a company or an individual? Check how long they have been in business for. A track record means they are likely to be real but don't rule out the others.
If they are selling something a good bit cheaper than anyone else, it may well be a scam. Some companies are looking to steal the details of your credit card or even your identity. They lure you in with an exceptional price. Only buy from trusted or recommended websites.
Read the Terms and Conditions. I know it is boring but you will find devil in the detail. If they say that you can earn 10% commission in the headline, check this is what it says in the terms and conditions.
Do you have to download something? PDFs are fine but you need to do a lot more checking before you download files which might harm your computer.
Then dig some more:
Go to forums related to the subject and search on the company or product. See what others have said.
Ask a question in Yahoo or a related forum if you can't find anything out.
Never make an impulse decision
Before you buy, look at a few different options. Narrow the list down and put the short list in your favourites. Then come back the next day or in a few hours and choose one. Or you may decide not to buy anything because you don't really need it anyway.
The amount of research you do is often related to the value and the type of product offering. Following these guidelines will help to keep your money safe but the internet is never 100% safe. If you do get scammed, write up your experience in a related forum so that others can avoid the trap.
Imagine you are out shopping and see a shop with a sign outside saying "Designer Fashion at Knock Down Prices". You decide to have a look but are met at the door of a shop with a conversation that goes something like this -
Man at door (MAD) "You need to give me £5 before you can come in."
You, "What? Why? What for?"
MAD, "To look at our great designer products which I am sure you'll want to buy. We have all genuine brands here - Gucci, Armani, Jimmy Choo. You know, we have Miu Miu handbags for just £20, they normally sell for £520 - a real bargain. Why don't you come in - it's only £5 and if you don't like what you see, we'll give you your money back".
At this point, you might be very tempted to - it's only £5 and you could save £500 on a Miu Miu bag. You can always get your money back.
NO NO NO NO - you should be running for the hills!
Never give anyone money to be part of their website (without first doing your due diligence). Never give them your email address to "look" and never give them any personal details.
A genuine business selling genuine products or services will let you try it first. Just like a real shop - you can come in and browse before you buy. They will give you an example of what you will get or have atrial period - something like that. That is how real businesses operate.
The ones which are just online business scams do not give you the opportunity and want to get your money and / or personal details.