Sadly, particularly in times when people are struggling financially, the lowest of the low put all of their creativity into finding ways to defraud people who are looking for opportunities to make money online. In this post, I will show you how to avoid online scams by detailing the tell-tale signs to look out for.
I am a glass-half full sort of person who sees the best in everyone, but I have had to toughen up in the online world that has its fair share of dodgy dealers. Don’t worry though, there are still lots of exciting, genuine opportunities for you – just don’t fall for any of these rotters….
Claims of making money quickly
If you see any program claiming that you will earn $500 per day, $1,000 per day, $10,000 per day or whatever, even more so if it implies that you will be able to do this quickly, it is a scam. There is no way that you will be earning that sort of money online in a short space of time. I just found a really good example of this sort of scam at plentybread.com
It has all the classic hallmarks of a scam. It offers lots of money for very little effort – sharing a non-existent opportunity on social media with the promise of payment which will never come.
People fall for this because they so desperately want to believe they have the chance of earning this sort of money but it is a fantasy. Any sort of online (or offline) business takes time to cultivate. You start at ground zero, build an audience, build trust and stick at it, stick at it, stick at it, tweak here and there, and keep working until you start making money.
You are asked to pay to register for work
Another sign of a scam is being asked to pay to register for work. I recently saw a website advising that companies worldwide are looking for people just like me to work from home. It looked very credible I have to say.
Normally the company is paying to find the staff but this time it is the job hunter. There is a possibility it is legit, however, I would not be paying $49.50 with no promise of work at the end of it to find out thank you very much!
You are asked to pay to join an affiliate marketing program
When you join an affiliate marketing program, you are essentially partnering with the program owner or creator. You need to do your homework, learn what they are all about and decide your best way to promote. If you are being asked to pay, make sure there is plenty of value in what you get for your money and that it’s not just a contract to sell their product.
Ask to be put in touch with existing affiliates for their perspective, but be prepared to walk away as this is not normal in the affiliate marketing world.
This is not to be confused with MLM opportunities where it is likely that you will need to pay a small sign-up fee and/or to buy a kit that will help you try for yourself, and also to be able to demonstrate the product. Again though, if you are unsure, ask to be put in touch with some current distributors and make sure you are getting value.
There are no contact details
This isn’t always the sign of a scam but it often is. if you can’t find contact details when you are interested in buying a product, how are you going to get on with any complaints you have?
Done for you marketing funnels
Sales funnels are only any good for you if you have a traffic-generating website. I have seen sales funnel ads promising that you will be in profit without having to do anything. This is just not true and a total waste of your money.
There is no product
If you see an ‘opportunity’ that is all about getting others to join your ‘business’ but you only get paid on people joining, then you are probably involved in a pyramid scheme. Pyramids are illegal as they have no product and the people who get in first make the most money.
This is not to be compared to a legitimate MLM opportunity that has retail offering and everyone has the same opportunity. Very few MLMs nowadays are pyramid schemes but they do still exist.
This is a hard one to spot as you don’t always know that this is going to happen until you have made your first purchase. You may be attracted to buy something because it is only $7, then there is an upsell for $47, then £97, then $297 then $497 or more.
From time to time the upsells will all be on the same page and you can clearly see the tactic and what is on offer. Other times the offers can be drip-sold to you by email.
There is nothing wrong with upsells per-se, but what you originally bought should work without the upsell, otherwise it’s a con.
Programs that use fake news to get people interested
The sort of thing I am talking about here is using a fake celebrity story to get your attention. A recent example I saw was a story about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle being interviewed on a famous morning TV show in the UK.
The scammers had set up photos of them looking like they were excitedly talking to the hosts of the show about, wait for it, a product called ‘Bitcoin Loophole’ that had made them millions! This would be quite hilarious, but there are a lot of vulnerable people out there who would believe it and put their money into it.
I have also seen companies like this claiming to have one of the biggest ever investments in TV’s Shark Tank (in the U.S.) and Dragon’s Den (in the U.K.). In fact, Bitcoin Loophole said that Dragon’s Den’s Peter Jones said it was the best £2m he had ever invested. But guess what – it is a scam. Peter Jones’s lawyers are after them.
Anything with the word ‘loophole’ in it
If there is indeed a loophole that makes it easy to get your hands on money fast, you can bet your life it will quickly be closed. I want to believe that easy money is just around the corner but in my heart I know it isn’t. Trust your gut – and if your intuition isn’t very good, have a long, hard think before parting with your cash. Usually, there is no loophole – just another cheeky scammer chancing their luck.
If the people who dream up these scams focused their energy on creating or promoting genuine businesses, they would do so much better and be less of a blight on society. Why they need to pull the wool over our eyes will remain a mystery but they are not going to give it up any time soon.
The fact of the matter is that the only way to get rich quick is most likely to land you in jail for a very long time.
In any case, where is the fun in getting rich quick? It’s the climb (as Myley Cyrus once said!), it’s overcoming the obstacles, it’s finding a way when so many doors closed in your face, it’s learning how to do it right, to follow the path of someone who’s done it before but in your own unique style that makes it all worthwhile.
My number one recommendation
If you agree with my last paragraph and want to build a sustainable online business that is legitimate and sets out with the intent to help others get what they want, then check out my review of the program that is helping me on my blogging journey, one step at a time with the help of people who have already done it! Alternatively, find more information and joining options here.
Have you fallen victim to a scam? Or are you an ace scam-spotter? I would love to hear about it in the comments.
26 thoughts on “How To Avoid Online Scams In 2021”
I’m an ex police officer, this is super helpful to help people avoid being scammed
You’ve probably seen more scammers than me! It’s just being that not everything is what it seems online (or indeed, anywhere).
There are so many different scams out there to be aware of, it’s worrying!
It sure is. I need to keep reminding myself that there are still lots of good people with honest offerings. You just need to keep your eyes open.
It’s such a shame that people use times like these as a way of scamming and taking advantage of the vulnerability of others. Thanks for writing this important piece about the dangers.
I know, Claire, it makes me so mad. If this helps one person it was worth it. Thanks for commenting.
Some good tips, thank you. Everyone should look out for these! I hate scammers!
Oh Amy, tell me about it. What is wrong with these people!
Great article, over the years there was a few opportunities presented to me, However I managed to stay away. I was ver close to joining one of this programs
Thank you, Marina! Sounds like you have a lucky escape!
Do sad that we need information like this isn’t it but we do and this is a really helpful post for many people. Thank you.
I know, Melanie. If anything I think it’s getting worse. You have to be super-vigilant. There needs to be some kind of task force cracking down on this sort of thing. There doesn’t seem to be any repercussions for these low lifes.
So useful. Lots of people are scammed. So frustrating.
I know, Rachel. It makes me so mad as it’s the vulnerable people who can least afford it who end up getting caught.
When I was about 20 and had just moved out, I had a call one day telling me that I had won a holiday to Florida, being polite and naive when they said they would need my credit card details to secure a hotel which I did. I never did go on that holiday and I am never trusting of phone scammers anymore.
Oh Sarah! That is terrible. Sadly it’s still going on. What is wrong with people?
This is so useful – thank you for sharing.
You are welcome, Jen. Thanks for your comment.
Some really good tips here, it can be so easily done and I am definitely far more vigilant online now
I know, Emma, you could react first and think later. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Some brilliant advice here. I always think if something sounds too good to be true, that nearly always is the case!
Clare, you are so right! We want to believe it though. Just say no unless you are 100% sure.
Thank you for these fantastic tips. I definitely feel more confident about what to look out for…
Thanks for taking the time to comment, Ann. Glad it helped.
It’s scary how they will do these things to people, it makes me so angry that there isn’t more punishment for it too
I know, Steph! There doesn’t seem to be any sort of deterrent. We just need to be vigilant.