There are many ways to make money online. For many people, especially in the white-collar world, their sources of income are increasingly online. YouTube, PayPal, Facebook, Instagram, no matter where you are, there’s a business opportunity to be made. However, there are plenty of scams out there.
Some are quite obvious. That email you get in your spam folder about a prince who is going to send you a million dollars if you just pay the $500 processing fee? We all know that one is about as real as a unicorn dragon. However, other scams are much more deceiving. Here are some ways you can spot them.
They Tell You It’s Not a Scam
This one is a little more obvious, yet many people fall for it. If the job tells you that it’s not a scam in the description, there’s a good chance that it is. Imagine if McDonald’s had a help wanted sign asking for cooks, and they said “This is not a scam” on the sign. That would sound silly. If someone has to say it’s not a scam, then it probably is.
A Lot for a Little
Many scams will claim that you can make a lot of money (or even a more realistic amount) by doing very little. Imagine making hundreds of thousands a year while working for just a couple hours a day. That sounds like a dream, yet it’s usually too good to be true.
People tend to fall for this one because the Internet can be a place where this happens. There are plenty of e-celebrities who don’t seem to do much, yet make millions. However, you’re not going to be the next celebrity by taking the job offer.
You Have to Spend Money to Make Money
There are many times where you have to make an investment to make some money, but with most online making opportunities, if you have to make a payment to get money, it’s usually a scam. For example, someone may say that you have to pay them a little to cover any fees. However, that should be something that’s taken out automatically.
Poor Grammar and Spelling
Even professionals make a typo here and there, but because some of these scammers come from countries where English isn’t the first language, you may notice some poor grammar, spelling, or awkward English in their posts.
It’s So Vague
Some scams come in the form of a vague job description. For example, you may see a comment or an email saying “Make $1,000,000 now. Just need to be 18 or older, have the Internet, and work 3 hours a day. PM for more details.”
A legitimate description is usually a lot more detailed. Not all the time, but it’s just another red flag.
It’s an MLM
MLM, or multi-level marketing, is a pyramid structure that has quite a bit of infamy. Chances are, you know a friend or old high school acquaintance that’s into it. MLMs involve purchasing large amounts of a certain product and selling it, and those on the bottom of the pyramid tend to get nothing in return. Almost everyone in an MLM ends up losing money.
Here are some common signs of an MLM:
- The products they sell have ridiculous claims. For instance, there may be a tea-based MLM that claims their tea can make you lose 10 pounds in a week, make your skin look younger, and decrease your risk of cancer. If the product has to make bold claims without showing any proof, it may be an MLM.
- The people in the MLM are trying to sell the product in a high-pressure manner. Many know the trope of someone, usually a high school friend you don’t speak to, messaging you out of the blue and hounding you to buy makeup or another product, then guilt-tripping or being pushy if you refuse or are on the fence.
- MLMs make you pay quite a bit of money to buy stocks or startup. The MLM usually spins it as starting your own business and being your own boss, yet those who are in MLMs aren’t owning a business.
- When you try to ask questions or apply any skepticism, the company representatives get aggressive or try to dodge the question. A legitimate business won’t mind you asking questions and being a little skeptical.
- When you look up the business, you’re met with negative reviews and experiences. Though, some MLMs have made it so that positive videos and articles about them appear at the top. You may have to do a little digging to get to the bottom of it.
Unverified Business or Celebrity
Some online scams may pretend to be a company or a celebrity. We’ve all seen scams where a page on Facebook claiming to be Bill Gates is giving away $1,000 to the first 100 people who comment. However, go to the page to make sure they’re really the people they claim they are or claim to represent. If there’s no checkmark or other verified symbol on their page, there’s a good chance they’re a scam.
I’ve Been Scammed!
If you’ve been the victim of a scam, don’t beat yourself up too much. Everyone has fallen for something, even if that person is skeptical and smart. However, you do need to take action. Here are some steps you can take:
- Contact your financial institution or credit card company as soon as possible. You may be able to get the transaction canceled.
- Inform your friends and family about the scam. Not only can you give them a head’s up, but they may be able to help.
- Change any passwords, especially if you’ve had to give out any personal information.
- Falling for a scam can make you depressed anxious, and make you worried about everyone you meet. Seeking therapy may be a good option. Click this link for online therapy: https://www.betterhelp.com/start/
A scam is no fun, but by knowing the signs, you can decrease your chances of falling for one.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.