Is it nice to make money from home, have more freedom, more time and independence?
It all sounds so good. The digital entrepreneur lifestyle appeals to just about everybody, which is why the make money online industry is flooded with scams, and people who sell inferior products and programs that don’t deliver.
With a little bit of research and some knowledge, it gets easier to split the lies from the truth.
Work from home opportunities can offer great, scam-free online jobs. Many are convenient, flexible, profitable, and highly sought after. However, not all opportunities are created equal. Unfortunately, some scams get mixed in with legitimate opportunities.
It’s important to know how to spot a work from home jobs scam. Most scams will guarantee that you can make a number of dollars every single day with no experience or training. This sounds fishy, because if the job paid so well for very little work, why isn’t everybody doing it?
Work from home job scams may also require you to pay to start working or even ask you to send money to a foreign location. Other opportunities don’t pay you in cash at all or pennies for hours of work.
Sadly, these types of jobs exist, but there’s also some great work from home opportunities that are very credible.
There are flat-out scams. The ones that take your money and run, or get you to install malicious software.
And then there are the semi-scams. The ones that provide some value, but fall far short of their promise. Or, they give you something up front, only to pull you further into their money-sucking funnel.
In the industry of making money online, a common tactic is selling products that only give you one piece to the puzzle. Sometimes it’s because that’s the only piece the seller knows, and other times it’s because they’re leaving a trail of crumbs that just leads to more spending.
Find Make Money Online Scams.
Before we started, while most of these indicators are a good sign that something deceptive is going on, they aren’t any guarantee. If something still looks like it might have value, it’s worth it to do further research.
Every once in a while, even legit products and programs fall into what may be considered deceptive marketing tactics. Just like the big juicy burger pictures.
In a Minutes, You’ll be Making Money
The most obvious ‘tell’ that you’ve found a scam is the quick get rich promise. Making money online just doesn’t work like that. Some of these scams are so blatant that they claim you can get rich with a simple 3 step process. While many real programs simplify their process by breaking it down into steps, the implication isn’t quite similar.
Some of these programs claim you can make $15 or $25 for just a few minutes work. If you do the math, that’s hundreds of dollars an hour.
I don’t say it’s impossible to earn that kind of money, but if you knew a guaranteed method to make hundreds an hour, that was so easy anyone could do it, what would you do with that information?
If it was absolutely guaranteed like putting 15 dollars into a machine that spits out the twenties guaranteed I’ll tell you what a business-minded would do.
They’d hire someone or hundreds of people to do the work for them, pay them by the hour, fill their bank accounts with the money left over, and retire somewhere warm.
The reason they don’t do that, is because it’s not easy, and it’s not guaranteed.
You don’t know What You’ll Be Doing
If you’re like me, you don’t put your debit or credit cards into a machine without knowing exactly what you’re paying for. The same rule applies when purchasing something online.
However, many of these scams don’t play that way. They ask for your money upfront. They will show you a sales page, but the real “secret” is only revealed after payment.
The reality is, there is no “secret”. Making money online is like anything else. It’s a process, it requires work and you have to learn how to do it. No one is selling the secrets of fixing vehicles. Or, the secret of playing the violin.
They are all just skills that require knowledge, training, and practice. And, if you were to check out a school that teaches auto mechanics, or piano lessons, They wouldn’t send you to a sales page with a “buy now” button.
Watch for a dollar Trial and Money Back Guarantee
While it’s not a sure-fire indicator of a scam, the $1 trial is simply a way to get your credit card. Not necessarily for fraudulent purposes, but to identify you as a buyer. And disqualify those that are not When your credit card comes out (even for $1), They identify you as a “buyer with intent”.
I certainly don’t want to discourage you from purchasing products that have a discounted (or free) trial and/or money back guarantee. Many of the good ones offer them both. But it’s important to be extra cautious if they’re asking for your credit card.
Be Careful Of the Automatic Renewal
Membership sites and subscription based products that come with a discounted trial, usually have an automatic renewal policy. Before you sign up, it’s best to do some research. You are providing them with sensitive account information. Therefore it’s critical to make sure they’re payment system is safe and secure? Contact support and find out what their cancellation policy and procedure is.
And although they may offer money back guarantee, but if it’s just a flat-out scam to start with, it’ll be difficult (if not impossible) to get a refund. Research their procedure ahead of time and establish a line of communication with them.
Another semi-scam here, is when you purchase a product thinking it’s a one-time payment, but it turns out to be monthly recurring. They don’t always tell you this when you sign-up. I’ve had to ask for refunds before as a result of this scam.
No Contact Information
If they don’t have a legitimate way to get in touch, take that as a big red flag. You may stumble onto a program that claims to pay 6 and even 9 figures to its members, but their only method of communication is an obscure email?
Legitimate companies, especially ones that deal in these dollar amounts, will have information about who owns the company, who manages it and so forth. They will usually have a contact form or the ability to submit a support ticket.
Send them a message, ask questions about the program, and see if there is someone on the other end before you transfer funds and sign up. Also, look for a legitimate ‘About Us’ page.
Purchase a Product, Or A Lifestyle
Like the get rich fast scam, this is one of the easiest ways to spot a rip-off. Does their sales video, free webinar, or even free membership, spend more time telling you about how they live.
The videos and images at home will probably include an exotic car in the driveway, a huge estate home in the background. I’ve even watched webinars where a significant amount of cash is just sitting on a desk in the background, as if it’s just normal.
A lifestyle of luxury is possible. However, most who attain it hustle and work hard for it. They provide exceptional value to their audience or clients and have committed long hours (sometimes years before seeing significant results) to get there. And… There’s a sum that has made a fortune by ripping people off.
If a product or program has a sales page covered in dollar signs, yachts, mansions and sports cars… it’s not for certain it’s a scam, but definitely proceed with caution. I understand the temptation. as the matter of fact, I’ve wasted money on these scams before, but more often than not, they are all promise, and no substance.
The Self-Promoting Sales Funnel
If you’ve been looking for ways to make money online, you may have seen this scheme a few times. You may have already lost some money in it.
As mentioned with the other things to look out for, every product and program that has a self-promoting sales funnel is not guaranteed to be shady. There are some legitimate ones with some good training. But there are few key things to watch out for. Mainly… do they want you to buy traffic to sell their program? The way this scam works, is that (almost) from the word “go”, they tell you they have a “made-for-you”, or “done-for-you” sales funnel. They may also call it a marketing funnel… and it’s usually “proven” to work.
Their done-for-you funnel is apparently a complete “machine” that sells their program. There will usually be landing or squeeze pages, a sales page and/or sales video, and a series of emails for you to send out. All you have to do is purchase the marketing tools, such as an email autoresponder, and then send traffic to their sales page.
Unfortunately, getting the traffic is the most difficult, and expensive part (that’s why they want that you do it). If it was so simple, they wouldn’t need you to do it. The reason they do, however, is because the primary method of driving traffic to the sales page is through paid advertising. Meaning, they’re not going to pay for the traffic.
But don’t worry, with their proven sales funnel, you’ll almost certainly make more money in commissions than you spend on Advertisements. But something doesn’t add up here.
You Can’t Lose
99 percent of the time, these programs will fall into the “lifestyle selling” category mentioned above. The pitch may be done blatantly by doing a sales video while driving a Ferrari.
Or they may be more subtle about it, and casually mention the incredible vacation they went on (adding, “If you haven’t been there, I highly recommend it.) For instance, programs like the Six-Figure Mentors don’t promise that you’ll get rich… but the not-so-subtle implication is clearly there.
It’s that they tell you it’ll be fast and that they’ve done most of the work for you. In other words, they have a machine that prints money. What else can it be? You put a dollar in, and it splits out ten?
The Money Printing Machine
I can’t highlight this point enough because it applies to so many scams out there. To be clear, there are legit programs that’ll show you how to earn 10 figures or more per month… but the legit ones are long-term educational programs, not done-for-you systems that claim to be fast or easy.
To put it into perspective, let’s return to our 15K per month example… Since “15K in 2 or 3 years!!! Is not a very great sales pitch, you’ll be sold something like “15K in 60 days!!!” Those are some pretty impressive numbers.
On the high side, the average person may assume the right cost of this “done-for-you” proven system is probably in the ball-park of $1000. So what does a $1,000 system that pays you back 15K in 60 days look like? Well… we’re talking about a machine that increases the value of your money by 1000 percent (or 10 times) within a very short period of 60 days.
Let’s forget about 60 days and say you’ll have to endure an entire 6 months?
For every one dollar, you put in you get ten. Are the richest men in the world capable of 1000% returns? Could Jeff Bezos put a billion dollars into something, and get ten billion out? And why stop at 1 billion? Why not put 10 billion in and get 100 billion out?
As we drove back to reality here, the obvious answer is it’ll take more than than $1000 to earn $10,000. Even if you spent $5000 we’re talking about a 200% return… but most people don’t go into these things expecting to pay that kind of money. More importantly, they don’t tell you that you’ll need that kind of money.
Even the best investors in the world rarely (if ever) get returns of 100%… especially after you add up all the investments that went bad. And… if they did, you can be certain they’re not going to package it and sell it online for a hundred bucks.
And here’s why the numbers don’t add up. If they really had this golden goose money machine, this “proven” done-for-you system, the obvious thing to do, would be to keep throwing money into it.
And that’s the scam. Instead of making money, the machine loses money. But… in the process of losing money, you’re still making a few sales here and there and sending new members into the program.
At some point, you quit, or run out of money… but by then, your advertising dollars have brought in half a dozen new people with the same hope of getting rich… and then they start paying for advertising.
Here’s the best part. The scam creators get all the benefits from your sales (new members), and they didn’t spend any money on advertising.
The Use of Scarcity Tactics
The online world moves fast. Grabbing someone’s attention and keeping it for more than a few minutes (or even seconds) is tough.
Even legitimate marketers use scarcity to keep you on the page. They want you to perform an action that moves you closer to buying. When you believe something is limited or running out, you’re more inclined to purchase it now.
Scarcity alone is not a sign that something is a scam. How it’s applied though, can tell us a lot. The use of scarcity to influence behavior is nothing new. It’s the fundamental force that drives competition, which the entire economy is built upon. The market operates on the premise that there isn’t enough stuff for everyone.
In the physical world, this can be true. But, in the digital universe, not so much. How scarce is a digital download? How does one run out of online information?
There are honest reasons for limiting access to things online. For example, personal consultation. When it comes to scams, however, scarcity is purely manufactured.
Weapons of Influence, Scarcity is used by everyone from car salespeople and real estate agents, to restaurants and grocery stores.
People in the “make-money-online” industry are experts at employing scarcity. Not necessarily to be dishonest, but because it took a lot of market testing, promotion, and even paid advertising to get your attention.
And none of that matters if they can’t keep your attention, and turn you into a buyer.
They might be selling the greatest thing ever, but if you click the back button and leave (even with the intent of returning)… they know the chances that you’ll ever come back are slim.
When Scarcity is Legit, and When It’s A make money scam
So, since both honest, and dishonest people use this strategy… how do we know what to look for?
Can you imagine iTunes having limited quantities of your favorite song?
In theory, a digital product can have unlimited copies. An online membership program can have as many members as there are people online. If there isn’t any physical product involved, then using the term “limited” is probably a scam. There is an exception to this rule, however, which is.
Membership programs may provide personal consultation or direct access to the person teaching the course. In this case, it’s understandable if spots have limited, or if there is a waiting list. A person’s time is obviously not unlimited.
Although it seems like there’s a Starbucks, McDonald’s (and here in Canada… Tim Horton’s) on every corner, at some point they need to put a cap on it. However, in the online world, this is rarely the case.
It’s probably a scam if the program claims to have limited spots open in your area. Stay clear of these.
The 2 exceptions, however, as mentioned above, are when it involves someone’s time, and when the sales territory could potentially get saturated. If your sales territory is online (open to the entire world), then an urgent message like “limited spots in your (hometown)” is almost certainly a scam.
Beware of Geo-Targeted making money Ads
This one stands out like a sore thumb. You click what appears to be a legitimate story, and you find yourself reading about a “single mom” with a dozen kids who overcame unbelievable odds to build a life of freedom and independence.
The best part is that she lives in your town. The headline read, “How a Single Mom In (insert your city) Went from Broke to Millionaire in 30 Days” or something like that. This is geo-targeting.
Don’t Believe the Fake Testimonies
There’s nothing wrong with testimonials. In fact, they’re a significant reason to purchase or to not purchase. When we read reviews on Amazon, Google, or eBay… it’s the testimonial we’re looking for.
And, because testimonials are so important, so valuable, scammers love to use (fake) them.
The phony ones are often written by one person, so the similar language and writing style can be a clear giveaway. every comment uses the word “outstanding” for example, they’re probably fake.
Admittedly, it’s not an exact science… but if you notice a repetitive tone, the same use of words, etc. in each testimonial, there’s a good chance they wrote by the same person. Check for poor grammar.
Some are horribly translated. They are supposed to be quotes from predominantly English-speaking countries, but it’s clear they aren’t. Also, look for staged images.
If the person looks like a model, and the background staged, it probably is.
And then there are the video testimonials. Certainly, those can’t all be fake, right? Well, sites like Viral Bucks use paid actors to give the illusion of “proof”.
So, although testimonials can be extremely valuable, with a keen eye and some intuition, you can often tell a scam from the real deal.
Check out The Comments Section
Like fake testimonials, fake comments at the bottom of a web page are a dead giveaway that you’ve found a scam. The fake ones that are seen most often look like Facebook comments with a string of activity. They’ll appear to be real people gushing over how great the product is.
However, if you click them and nothing happens, or they take you to a different page, it’s a scam. The comments are just a shopped image. You should note, that’s not having comments, doesn’t indicate it’s a scam.
Many popular (and legitimate) programs, blogs, membership sites, institutions, etc. don’t involve comments on their pages. Moderating comments and spam is a big task, not to mention responding to questions. Therefore, high-traffic sites often stay away from them.
However, if you can comment, then ask a question. You can request additional upsells (after creating an account), particular features, or a description of the process.
A response may not come immediately, but waiting a day or two is better than giving up your credit card and account information to someone with ill intent.
Look for the Representing Name or Face
There are legitimate reasons for anonymity online, but not when selling a program or course.
Anybody who has put the time and effort into creating a course or membership program is proud of it. They want their name on it. They may welcome you personally, or even call or text directly.
If someone (or a program) is promising to fill your bank accounts with money, and there’s no name or face representing it, just move on.
Get Paid to Search the Web to make money
As ironic as it sounds, one of the best scam-free online jobs involves getting paid to simply use search engines. You can find reliable work as a search engine evaluator through companies like Leapforce.