This series will be broken up into five different parts and will span the course of two weeks. After the final part is published, I’ll compile everything into either a downloadable guide or just a page here at I’ve Tried That. I want you guys to have a quick reference handy on how to spot the scams, determine if a program is legitimate, and find real ways of making money online.
For the first two parts, I’m going to cover the basics scams online. Part 1 will focus on work at home scams. Part 2 will cover Internet Marketing scams. Next week, I’ll have lists on different ways you can actually MAKE money online. More on that next week though, for now, let’s cover…
Work at Home Scams
The absolute EASIEST way to protect yourself online is to ask yourself the following question…
Is this opportunity “too good to be true?”
If you find yourself being promised a lot of money for little to no work, run. Run far away. Trust your gut instincts. They’re almost always right. Making a lot of money online takes a LOT of work, time, and effort. The medium by which you do work is different, but that doesn’t make it any more lucrative.
Check Cashing Scams
Check cashing scams are the most prolific scams to date. They are very elaborate, convincing scams run by networks of criminals. Partaking in one of these scams could cost you thousands of dollars and your identity. Fortunately, these scams are very easy to identify.
With a check cashing scam, you’re asked to receive a check, deposit it into your bank account, and forward most of the amount overseas while keeping a portion of it for yourself as a “payment.” The checks you receive are either fake or stolen and it’s only a matter of time before they bounce. Unfortunately, most banks don’t spot the fake checks and will allow you to deposit them. Federal law requires banks to immediately grant you access to the funds even though they haven’t cleared. This allows you to complete your “job” and send the portion required overseas.
The fake check you deposited WILL eventually bounce. It can take weeks, or even months but that check will bounce. Unfortunately for you, you’ve already wired the money overseas and there is no hope of recovering that money. This leaves YOU responsible for repaying the cost of the check.
Follow this one simple rule: NEVER accept a job that requires you to handle someone else’s money. If an “employer” want you to receive a check and forward the money elsewhere, it is 100% guaranteed to be a scam. Every. Single. Time.
Online Survey Scams
I need to preface this real quick by saying: there ARE real survey companies that DO pay you for taking surveys. The scam here lies with people claiming you can make hundreds of dollars by answering surveys. Most surveys will pay you just a few dollars (I’ve rarely seen a survey company offer more than $5) for 20-30 minutes work. If someone is telling you that you can become rich and make hundreds of dollars per day answering surveys, you’re about to get scammed. There ARE focus groups that do pay well but these are very rare, and you have to meet strict eligibility requirements.
One last thing, NEVER pay to join a survey company. Survey companies pay YOU.
Data Entry/Home Typing Jobs
Like online surveys, there actually are real data entry jobs. However, it’s near impossible to land a real position. Companies outsource data entry work where they can pay workers cents per hour to handle mass amounts of work. It’s very hard to find an actual online data entry position. The scam here are data entry or home typing “jobs” that offer to pay you thousands of dollars for filling in forms.
You’ve probably seen something like this: “How would you like to make $500 per day working 20-30 minutes by filling in forms for companies? All it takes is $50 for training materials to get started!”
This is the data entry and home typing scam you need to avoid. It takes no skill to fill in a form. No company is going to pay you a CEO’s salary just for typing a few lines in a box. Scammers aren’t hiring you for a job. They’re selling you outdated information on pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. Basically, the form you will be filling out is an advertisement order form. The information you’ll be typing is your credit card information. PPC ads can easily cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars per day if you aren’t careful.
It’s best to avoid anyone telling you that you can make a lot of money by filling in simple forms.
Package reshipping scams are just a variation of check cashing scams. These are also 100% guaranteed to be a scam every single time.
These scams looks very legitimate. The scammers will often ask you for tons of personal information, copies of your drivers license, and will force you to sign a contract. Some scammers may even interview you over the phone. It’s all for show of course and now some criminal has full access to all of your private information.
You’ll eventually start to receive packages from different companies and you’ll be asked to forward or reship these packages somewhere overseas. There’s one problem here though: the products you receive are purchased with stolen credit card information and identities. You’re receiving stolen property and sending it off to criminals overseas.
Aside from not getting paid for the “work” you do, you’ll also likely get a visit from the police or even an FBI agent depending on who you’re working for. You’re aiding criminals and receiving stolen property. This is HIGHLY illegal. I’ve read stories online where houses are raided by police, computers have been seized and the person jailed until the scam is sorted out. Never agree to receive someone else’s packages. It’s never going to turn out well.
Additional Scam Indicators
Western Union/Money Gram
Any time you see the name Western Union or Money Gram, you can be 100% guaranteed the “job” you are applying to work for is a scam.
I can think of only one exception to this rule and that is that you’re applying to work for a cashier in a Western Union store. Other than that, stay far away from any company that wants you to send or receive money from Western Union. It will seriously be a scam every single time.
If you ever see something like this…
You can be fairly sure you’re about to waste money. These are designed to deceive you into think you can do a few minutes of easy work and make thousands of dollars. That’s never the case.
Unsolicited Job Offers
I’m generalizing here, but if you receive a job offer from someone who found your resume on Career Builder or Monster, they’re most likely trying to trick you into one of the fake job scams above. This is especially true if the job offer is in an unrelated field of work or if it seems particularly lucrative.
There are enough job seekers out there that employers don’t need to send out unsolicited jobs offers via mass emails. It’s best to just delete it and move on.
Wrapping up Work at Home Scams
Finally, here are just some general keywords you’ll always want to avoid: cash gifting, envelope stuffing, email processing, rebate processing, form processing, grant processing, government grants, payroll manager, payment manager, payment coordinator, or accounts receivable manager.
Keep an eye out for Part 2 on Friday and the “How to Make Money Online” series starting next week. Stay safe out there and please feel free to leave a comment or question below.