How to spot a scam online

Internet marketing products bought online are full of low quality offers and many are designed to rip you off. This article provides 10 tips to consider when reviewing such products, providing guidance on how to spot a scam online and protect you from wasting money. If you are serious about building an online income, then make sure you’re alert to the ‘red flags’ we’ll discuss here.

The psychology

Most scams play upon basic human qualities that everyone has to some degree.

Many of these qualities are not very flattering, but, let’s be honest we all have them (at different times and in differing degrees, of course!). They include traits like fear, vanity and greed. You’re HUMAN, therefore, you often want to look and feel good and want more than you currently have. You may also fear the consequences failure – of falling behind your peers, or not being accepted or not fitting in. These are natural feelings and emotions that we all have from time to time.

Scammer prey upon these emotions to get you to act in ways that will benefit THEM and NOT YOU!

The Scammers footprint

That also means that most online scams have a few clear indicators. Take a look at this list and keep them in mind when reviewing offers. If you do, you will be taking large strides towards making more rational and balanced decisions, rather than one’s based on manipulation or negative emotion.

1. Over-inflated claims of success

Success overnight is not possible. Sorry, wouldn’t it be great if it was? But we all know that actually if something is worth building, then it will actually require some hard work, patience and persistence to make it happen. Instead you need to get a mindset that loves the journey as much as the destination.

Any product that claims $1,000’s of income in the first month is not telling the truth and should be treated as a scam.

2. Pressure selling – Now or Never!!

If arriving at a website you’re immediately faced with a countdown timer that is ticking down the minutes and seconds that a deal is available for, forget it! This is a cheap trick to create a feeling of scarcity to help make the item seem more valuable than it is. By just refreshing a page such as this you will instantly see the timer reset.

If a product is worthwhile, it doesn’t need pressure tactics to entice you. If someone is pressuring you, such as by stating the offer only lasts for a little while or that you’re somehow foolish for not taking advantage of this, they’re selling you a bad bill of goods.

3. Fake or crude ‘rich lifestyle’ pictures

If the product sales page has a big mansion, private jets, fancy cars, and expensive holidays emblazoned across it, chances are the product is a complete scam. Companies that need to showboat like this are often lacking in the credibility because of a lack of actual product quality. I would avoid these types of offers, because they lack integrity and ‘dangle the carrot’ of success without being honest about what is actually required for success.

4. Sloppy text

Does the website’s URL have any noticeable spelling mistakes or errors? If so, it could be a fake.

Does the site feature bad grammar, awkward phrasing or spelling mistakes? If it does, this doesn’t necessarily indicate a scam, but it does mean you should proceed with caution.

5. The product does not offer support.

One thing that I like to do with any product online is to test their support. If a product is legit and they truly care about their customers, they will provide timely “external” support and field any questions that a prospective customer may have. If you send an email to a company and you don’t get a response within 48 hours (the quicker the better), then I recommend that you avoid that program as it is a sign of things to come!

6. No Way to Contact on their Website

Is there an “About us” page? Does it show the real people behind the company? Does it provide any details about where the company is registered? If there’s little or no information about who the company is and what it does, you could be dealing with a scam.

7. Bombarded with jargon you don’t fully understand?

No matter how amazing the offer seems, if you can’t clearly understand exactly what it is and how it works, back away. If it’s being sold with jargon, back away.

Whenever marketeers try to dazzle you with words that are unnecessarily complex or unclear, they’re trying to hide something. Any product worth paying attention to can be explained in simple terms. Even complex things can be broken down if the person wants you to understand it.

Jargon is only used to confuse and misdirect people. If you don’t fully understand the proposition, walk away.

8. A Video “Only” Sales Page

If you go to a website and you see only a video, you have bumped into a scammer’s tactic. These are the product owners that “force” you to sit through their long sales pitches and that lack enough substance to provide you with any helpful or informative content on their site.

I get very frustrated and feel patronized by such videos – and, of course, the ‘call to action’ (usually the actual service price and the request for payment) is right at the end. Basically, what they’re saying here is, “I want to convince you to act, without giving you any real time to reflect on it, or for you to check the offer out for yourself’. Major red flag!

9. Popups asking you to download a piece of software or a “video driver”

Sometimes scammer’s won’t ask you for personal information but will ask you to install software on your computer. This software is usually malware, disguised as something else.

Scammers can make money through nasty malware affiliate marketing programs which incentivise and pay them to infect as many computers as they can.

Never, ever, ever download software to your computer from anywhere that isn’t completely reputable. If it’s not the official website of a software vendor, a software store associated with your model of computer or phone, or a very trusted third-party vendor like Amazon, don’t download the software.

If something pops up telling you it’s time for a software update, don’t download it by pressing the button. Instead, back up and go to the actual vendor for the software.

10. A 60-Day Guarantee.

A 60-Day Guarantee logo is not necessarily something to automatically put your trust in. It is a fair indicator that the product is a Clickbank product, which means it can be low quality.

If you notice ‘red flags’ as described above, don’t think the guarantee assurance makes it all OK. Particularly with high priced items ($500.00 and over), refunds can be very painful and protracted. If you’ve ordered via an affiliate, then the vendor may have already paid out a commission to them, and they are then out-of-pocket. You are entitled to your money back, but they can make it so difficult and complicated, in an effort to get you to give up and walk away with nothing

The ultimate guarantee is to let you try before you buy – something that is available with my own top recommended method for building an online revenue.

So few useful questions for you to consider

  • Does the provider require you to pay money up front? If so, why?

If they are requiring any sort of up front payment to use their services, it is invariably a scam. Many of them will claim that it’s for the cost of training / postage / membership etc. If you’re not convinced with their reasoning, then walk away

  • How are they making money?

There are only two ways that websites can make money from you: independently of you or dependent on you. In other words, websites making money independently of you don’t need you to succeed for them to succeed. On the other and, websites making money dependently on you need you to succeed in order for them to succeed.

A website dependent on you for their own well-being is much less likely to be a scam, since they cannot survive if you don’t make money. They will have more incentive to help you make money, rather than hurt you

  • What’s in it for them?

Are they trying to help us out of the goodness of their own hearts? Are they making a selfless sacrifice of their time to help us become rich beyond your wildest dreams? Not likely.

When we ask this question, we have to see through the lies. We need to recognize the reason behind false statements. For example, when they say that we could earn “$1000/day”, they actually just want to draw us into their web. Their ultimate goal is for us to give them money in the form of an up front “registration fee.”

Go forth with vigilance!

I hope you have found this article useful. I welcome any comments on what I have written or any of your own experiences of scams that would be useful additional knowledge for others to be aware of.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *