There are lots of money-making opportunities online, from actual employers seeking work-at-home employees to marketers that offer online business opportunities.
Many are paid opportunities, which is normal for business opportunities but now, even some employers are starting to charge. So how do you know if they are legit before investing?
Here are a few guidelines on how to identify a scam on the internet, whether they are from employers or from marketers.
List of things to look for
I personally feel so thrilled when I uncover a scam online because it means that I can help reduce the number of people that fall victim to them. Here are a few things that I, myself, look for when I want to determine if an opportunity is a scam or not.
1. Scan the website
By this, what I mean is to look for inconsistencies, in other words, things that don’t add up. It can be bad grammar, because let’s face it; if I were looking for employment or a business opportunity, I want to join a company that looks professional.
And if I were promoting a business opportunity or I were hiring people, I would want to portray good grammar in order to gain trust. Bad grammar does not promote a professional environment.
Don’t get me wrong, even big companies make mistakes once in a while but if the website is full of them, then chances are, it’s a scam.
Another one could be their guarantees; for example they will guarantee you will make a certain amount of money if you join and their disclaimer or terms of service says otherwise.
Another one you might notice would be difference in currency. If the payment proofs show you USD and the post mentions another currency, such as INR (indian rupees), that’s another inconsistence and proves it is a scam.
2. Job description
Next item on my list, is to look at the job description. What exactly will your role be and what does the job entail? What you are looking for here is transparency.
Legitimate work-at-home jobs will tell you exactly what your role will be because they have nothing to hide.
Stay away from shady work descriptions or from programs that don’t mention what your job will entail, especially if they ask you to make a payment before revealing any detail.
3. Look up their physical address
Many times, even though the work opportunity is online, some companies will have a call centre or an office, which will of course, have a physical address.
Just copy that address and paste it in Google to see if it is really that company’s address. Often times, in order to appear legitimate, some scammers will copy a random address and make it appear like it is theirs.
4. High pay with zero hard work
Websites that claim you can make hundreds or thousands of dollars a month without hard work are the easiest scams to spot.
Making hundreds or thousands of dollars overnight AND without hard work is impossible, unless you want to scam other people too.
People who make that kind of money are very real and I know quite a few of them myself, but they actually worked for it and this result took several years, if not months, to achieve.
5. Test their customer service / support
Every company, especially in relation to work-at-home opportunities, will have a customer service department or a support team to help you when you get stuck or whenever you have a problem.
This can be from simple questions you need answered to complicated technical help.
Before joining, make sure you email their support team to make sure you will be getting the help that you need. If they respond, try to ask them a few different questions to see what their answers are. If their answers are short and insist on some type of action from you, such as purchase, stay away from them.
If they don’t respond at all, well, you know to stay away from them as well, because this means that you will probably not be receiving any kind of help from them if ever you need it.
Another way to check their support, is through their Facebook page or comments on their website. Are they responsive to the comments or questions being asked? When was the last time they were active?
If they have not answered any question or replied privately, or have not been actively helping out their visitors, then you know what their support would be like.
6. Success stories / Feedback
The next step is to look for success stories. Chances are, other people before you have tried the opportunity and if it has worked for them, they will share their good experience.
If it has not worked, then they will share that too. If there are only a few success stories, especially videos, then you have to be careful, because these people might have been paid by the scammer in exchange for a fake testimonial.
Mostly, people that have been successful will leave a means for you to contact them and they are mostly open to helping you out, to answer your questions and to clear your doubts.
If people have had issues, they will tend to share that more than their success stories. Complaints that you will see most often are: no reply from support and no receipt of payment.
7. Is it a pyramid scheme?
This is the next question that I ask myself. A pyramid scheme is the process of making money through recruiting people alone, without a product.
This is illegal nowadays, so pyramid schemers invent a “useless” product, often times, the product being a tool that you will only be able to use to promote the scheme itself.
Thus, the product will be useless to any other consumer outside of the scheme and the only way to get consumers to use the product, would be to recruit others. Keep in mind that this is still a pyramid scheme because there is no “product” that would be valuable to anybody else. So, get to know their products thoroughly.
8. Consult the Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau, or the BBB, takes steps into contacting those website owners or companies and ask for certain documentation or proof of their legitimacy.
Based on their response and proof that the companies provide, the BBB gives them a rating. Taking your own research of a business opportunity online, combined with the rating of the BBB, you can pretty much get an idea of whether the opportunity being offered is a legit one.
There you are, folks!
These are some of the steps that I take to figure out whether an opportunity is a scam or not. Now, you can become an expert at recognizing them and avoiding them. Taking these simple steps will ensure you are well-informed of the company and thus, will help in most cases.
Have you had any experience with a scam? Have you uncovered any? Do you have any questions about uncovering them? I would love to hear from you! Please leave all your comments or questions below and I will get to you ASAP.
Thank you for reading and please share this article with your friends and family to help them identify a scam online.