Scams, making money scams and fraudulent affiliate schemes are just part of the Internet these days. They can be very tempting, with a little bit of common sense and these tips you will be well on your way from telling the difference between the scams and the genuine opportunities.
It all boils down to a little bit of knowhow and some good common sense.
The Internet is a great place to find information, if you think you might have come across something interesting, don't be afraid to take a look. As long as you are simply passively reading (and assuming your firewall/anti virus/anti spyware software is running and up to date) then you have nothing to fear. Only when you get to the point of giving out personal information (email addresses/names etc) or taking some type of action (eg buying something) could you be in danger. Before your ready to make such a commitment, you need to validate the offer. Is it a scam?
There is a saying; If it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. If you can't see exactly why the web site owners are offering your their fantastic opportunity when they could be simply using it themselves tell you its either a scam or isn't really that fantastic after all. At least not as fantastic an idea as selling it to you or getting you to distribute/promote it for nothing/very little.
But many sites are now using the same highly charged cover letters to make sales, as the scammers themselves use. If there are good products being sold the same way, how do you tell the difference? The simple answer is "product". If the website in question is selling (for example) a 'improve you confidence while you sleep" self help course, then there is and obvious product which you receive in exchange for your money. There should be no reason to lie because it's easy enough to supply you with the product. Especially if it's an eBook or online service, these are easy to produce and almost free to distributed, once created, there should be no reason you don't receive such a thing. The ones to watch out for are mainly those which promise to show you how to get rich quick online.
A great place when appraising an opportunity is the web site the offer comes from. Look at how the offer is presented. Often incredible claims are made which no clear thing person would believe, but yet we still get swayed by them. Things to watch out for are:
When a site has a massive colored font screaming quotes like:
In tree EASY steps you'll be earning THOUSANDS a day
Finally a fast easy way to make megabucks with no money down
or highlights emotive language like this in yellow:
99% of people never find out that making money could be so easy!
There are almost always referrals and recommendations along with a photo. Something like:
Your system is awesome. I quite my job after two weeks. If only I had known before I went to college, I would never have gone! Larry"
The photos are normally bad, because thats looks more authentic and the scammer or promoter almost always has a one word name: John, Rickie, Sally (I just made these up, they bear no relation to real people neither living nor dead).
There are always big bold directions to:
CLICK NOW ...or ENTER YOUR EMAIL HERE ...or ACT NOW, DON'T DELAY
This is called a 'call to action' - trying to get you to take action. The most important part of getting customers is turning them from passive readers into action taking customers, so these will be repeated in different forms a number of times.
Hurry LIMITED OFFER !!
..or timers ticking down to supposed deadline when the offer finishes are there to get you to make a decision quickly and without thing. When you hurry to make a decision, you forget thinks and you don't think things through. This tactic is used by scammers and con men the world over. It also doesn't allow you time to do enough research. Could there be a reason for this?
The site is also normally very long. This is to warm you up. When you hear over and over how great something is, your brain starts to find it difficult not to believe it, your judgment starts to wither because you want to be like the success stories you read. You really want to believe you can be a millionaire in a few weeks etc. You brain slowly relaxes its guard and become more susceptible to influence and more likely to buy the product/service.
The cold hard truth is the claims they make are usually far from reality.
Recently due to the success of the style of page the scammers use, legimiate offers are now been seen presented the same way as scams, thats why at this point you'll need to do a little bit of research.
The Internet is a great place to do your due diligence. But finding out weather its a scam or not isn't always easy. The Internet is full of people who label legitimate opportunities as scams (perhaps because they didn't follow instructions properly) as well as people who write rave reviews of the real scams (so that you'll follow their affiliate links and they will get a commission when you join).
Do it by the numbers. Generally speaking, people who have been scammed are quick to post the information on the Internet. Offers which aren't scams get large numbers of good reviews. So make sure you take a look at a lot of information regarding the offer. This way if you get one review claiming something is a scam or fraud, but hundreds of others who support it then maybe its not a scam. Beware though, scammers have the ability not only to make their own reviews (if they're smart enough to start the scam in the first place they will definitely know how to make some blogs supporting it).
The place to find the truth is 'between the lines' of a reviewer/bloggers site. If you read a good review about and affiliate marketing opportunity and its on an online making money blog with lots of ads, you may not want much credence, this person is obviously trying to make money online and may have a vested interest in telling you good things. Check if the site has other screamingly accurate information and good comments. In short do you think advice on the site is genuine and not encumbered by the reviewers own self interests. Does the reviewer benefit in anyway from the information given.
It really boils down to you ability to trust the information you are given regarding the legitimacy of a site. Just make sure you take a bit of time to:
Read multiple reviews and blogs of the offer
Satisfy yourself that the information has not been influenced in any way
Look for clarification from other sites
Checking legitimacy of the sites operation.
Go to www.whois.net (or www.domaintools.com ) and put the domain name in the whois lookup box and click go. This will tell you who the domain is registered to. I t may only show the sites host provider, but look for any information that might indicate the offer is a scam, got to the host providers site and check them out.
Look on the site for any links to web design services and check them out. If an offer is genuine the site was no doubt professionally designed.
Also check a sites SSL certificate and make sure you see the security lock whick shows the sites is encrypted before passing any credit card, and look for the Versign logo or other logos for trust partners (note: if you see a 'trusted partner' or such log that you dont recognise, you will also need to check out it validity). Sites which use big names like paypal might also be safer.
You can also go to www.archive.org and check the sites history (good or bad) if there is any. If a site ahs been around a number of years then it less likely to be a scam because pyrimid schemes etc tend to die out over time.
Once you made it through this process, you should have an idea weather a site is a scam or not. If in any doubt leave it, there are plenty of others availible.
Always be skeptical, don't worry that you'll miss out the the one that really works, if your carefully and take your time, when it comes along you'll find it.
One last piece of advice I would have is never download and install a program as part of an online money making opportunity or online offer etc. It's almost guaranteed to be a Pshing scam which puts a Trojan (nasty infiltrating, personal information stealing program) or keyboard logger (to log your keyboard strokes to try and catch credit card numbers etc).
At the end of the day you are in control of your own actions. Stay clear headed and don't be swayed by well written slogans and copy. Do your research an you should survive the sharks and scammers unscathed and perhaps find some good services along the way.