How to spot a scam

As many of you already know, Work-at-home scams have been around for a long time. However, the Global economic downturn has given them a new supercharged urgency. While some work-at-home opportunities, such as home-based customer service agents, can be legitimate, the FTC and consumer advocates say most that promise generous profits from the comfort of home are not. Complaints to the FTC about work-at-home scams are increasing faster than fraud complaints overall. The growth of Internet use has also allowed scam artists to move beyond the more mundane envelope-stuffing and home assembly scams. According to the Better Business Bureau the trend now is for scammers to target people who are looking for information on how to make money on the Internet. Apparently the downturn in the economy started in 2007 provided a great deal of opportunities for scammers to take advantage of a lot of people who are vulnerable.

Unfortunately many of us have been around the block and have fallen for scam artist tricks, including myself. However, I do not look at this as all a bad thing. The bright side is that I treat these past negative experiences as lessons learnt and not repeated.

When I was much younger, my farther used to say to me “Nothing ventured nothing gained”, to instill in me the concept that if I did not try something (it could be anything from food, idea, work e.t.c), I would not know if I would like it or be successful at it. While this is a good advise in most instances, it can be a costly and painful one especially when it comes to choosing an online business opportunity where there is often no financial remedies. That is why I have created a list of my tips/lessons on how to spot trouble and avoid being scammed:


1) If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is and chances are it’s most likely a scam.

2) The ad claims that you can make a lot of money in a very short time with little or no effort and no experience. Exaggerated claims of potential earnings, profits, or part-time earnings are often used to entice people to sign up.

3) The ads require payment up front. Requirements of money for instructions or products before telling you how the plan works or what is included is usually a dead give away that something is wrong.

4) Beware of egregious frauds which advertise that they are “100% scam-free”. Scam artists know that many people are aware that work-at-home opportunities are often questionable so they use this ploy to “prove” their honesty and sincerity.

5) The company promises you’ll make a profit. You should be very wary of companies that offer any type of guarantee, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

6) If advertisers use personal testimonials but never identify the person so that you could check with them, you should think twice.

7) Beware of advertisers who assure you of guaranteed markets and a huge demand for your work.

8) Beware of a call for urgency such as a count down timer or a statement that “You must act now!”

9) Beware of advertisers that overuse buzzwords and jargon that can be misunderstood or misleading.


Scam artists will try to leverage anything to convince you to hand over your hard earned money. Most scams will play upon some basic human quality that everyone has to some degree. Unfortunately, many of these qualities are not very flattering. They include traits like fear, vanity and greed. Sadly, Con artists have leveraged these traits successfully for hundreds of years and have enriched their bank accounts at our expense.

So, stay on the alert, don’t believe everything you read (do some research about the company) and always think before you click away.

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