The internet has made a lot of things possible. Amongst these, include the spread of information (and misinformation) marketing, and the ability to make money online. This, however, also opened up Pandora’s box (so to speak).
There are scammers and people out there, that 100% are there, solely to take advantage that other people are vulnerable. And if you’re one of those people who “need money fast”…you can be sure that you’re an easy target.
You see, money can make us gullible. We stop being rational individuals, and we let our desire our dear of missing out, our emotions and other things, get in our heads.
As such, we can easily become victims of fraud.
Thankfully, it’s not something that has happened to me personally (that much), although I have had people run out on me and 500 others who paid a hefty price to get involved with them, out of the blue (huh, maybe that was a massive scam after all).
Regardless…today, I’ll tell you some of the most common scams to avoid when trying to make money online. Many of these scams operate legally, but they are still a “scam” in my book.
Now, before I get into this very beautiful topic, let me just mention that I think that everyone has a main idea of what a “scam” is, even though there might be different interpretations of it.
For example, I’d say a majority of the people reading this, consider a “scam” to be tied to money. You lost money and you didn’t get it back (or nothing for it).
But people rearly think about time. How much time did all of this take you? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Just one afternoon?
You see, one very common thing that happens to people that get scammed, is what is called the “Sunk Cost fallacy“. They might think that, since they already invested the time and money into a scam, it’s worth to keep pressuring to try to either get their money back, make their time worth it or correct the issue, rather than move on.
This can potentially make people who, already wasted weeks, months or years or multiple thousands of dollars in “scams” to keep doing so, without realizing that they could just sacrifice the “now”, for the future.
So, it’s I’d say, it’s not just about money… My definition of a scam is anything that gives one party an unfair advantage over the other (time, money, etc) even if the company is legit.
So, what are some of the most common online “scams” particularly when it comes to make money online? These include:
- Online surveys
- Paid web searches
- Pay to apply schemes
- “Get paid to do it” websites
- Online networking scams
Of course there are a bajillion other scams out there. There are tons of ways to get screwed if you’re not astute or if you’re working with fear and not logic. I won’t go over every one of them, but the ones I do go over, I think are the most common.
Once again, you might think that these are not scams at all. It all depends on your definition of a scam. If it wastes your time, your money, or both, and you don’t get what you’re promised (and it was done online with the intent to make money, as per the name of this article) then I’d consider it a scam.
1) Online Surveys
Ah yes…the online survey.
There are so many online survey companies that will pay you money (or so they say) that it’s likely this is probably the first opportunity you’ve come across when trying to make money online. These are supposedly legit…but they leave much to the imagination.
The way online surveys work, is simple:
- You sign up and create a profile. (Okie dokie. All fine here.)
- Your profile will determine if you are the right target market for a survey. (Again…doable)
- For every survey you complete, you get some points. (Gotcha.)
- You can swap these points for Amazon Gift cards. (Options, never bad to have them.)
- You can also swap them for cash and get paid via PayPal. (The absolute jackpot.)
Here is the thing though…
You will be completing surveys, only for the system to tell you that you DO NOT “qualify”.
And I’ve seen this, time and time again. There are even Youtube videos out there where people record just how much money they make with this “online surveys”. It’s ridiculous.
What all this means is that the survey was not intended for your profile, and you will not receive points (yay). Well…if that is the case, why did the system allow you to complete the survey to begin with?
In short, they got survey responses from you, but you are not paid any points.
A classic kick to the nuts…bravo!
Also, the point system is ludicrous. A survey is worth one point in most cases, and it will take at least 300 and 500 points to be able to swap it for $5 (for FIVE BUCKS). If you do the math, you have to spend 25 hours just to get $5, and that 25 hours does not include the time you wasted for surveys where you do not “qualify”.
The worst part is, people fall into this trap! And I was one of them. The only way I’d make any money with this, is if I got other people as referrals to make points for me.
2) Paid Web Searches
Getting to the juicy shit right here.
A paid web works like the survey scam. In this one, you need to download or install an app on your browser. Your task is to make web searches or click on links. The app installed on your browser tracks the link clicks that you make.
The issue here is that most of these are just ad scams, straight out. If you install the app in your browser, ads will pop-up, and you need to click on these ads to get paid some 3 or 4 cents.
Like the paid survey scam, you will need hundreds of hours to make a decent amount of money.
The thing is, some of these companies are conduits between black hat SEO practitioners.
What does this mean?
You see, websites need traffic, and some of the website operators are lazy. So, what do they do? They pay gullible people to “search” and click on their websites. As this happens, their traffic gets boosted, and this traffic boost gets recorded in search engines.
The search engines will now think that the websites must be popular, and so their websites will get ranked higher in the search engine results pages, giving them more legitimate traffic and better chances at monetizing their content.
And you get the short end of the stick, thinking you’re making progress…
3)Pay To Apply Schemes
Anybody who is looking for a job should never pay to apply for one. Not a dime.
The only exception (maybe) is if you look for a job in a legitimate freelancing site like freelancing sites like Fiverr.
There are many websites out there masquerading as job boards. The problem with these websites is that they charge people money, and you cannot browse their job boards unless you pay.
On these websites, you will see a lot of flowery testimonials on how some people found their dream work-from-home job on the platform and bla bla bla…when in some occasions, the job doesn’t even exist…
But we’ll get to that in a bit…
These websites charge a subscription fee, around $10 per month. Once you become a paying member, you will be able to access the jobs.
Here are my two problems with this though:
- There are no jobs – you will find maybe a hundred or so, and these one hundred jobs cover dozens of industries. Yeah..you’ll have better chances elsewhere.
- The jobs are not exclusive – these jobs are just scraped from other job boards and reposted on the stupid scam website.
I want to explain the second problem better. For example, say you find a job for a copywriter on the scam website. You now click on that link, the link will take you to the job board of ProBlogger—a free job board owned by Darren Rowse.
See what just happened? You paid for a job that you could have easily found if you just searched on Google.
Now, I understand that if, say, your car isn’t working, and a mechanic comes over and instantly knows how to fix it and charges you $1000 to fix it, and does so by tightening a screw… that the difference there is the knowledge. He has it, you don’t and he can charge for it…
But to charge you to show you a free Google website…c’mon.
Lesson learned: never pay to apply.
4) “Get Paid To Do It” Websites
There are many websites that will ask you to do little pesky things, called “micro-jobs”, and pay you with some points. The idea is no different from paid survey scams and web search scams. A point-based system that simply doesn’t work to your advantage.
The steps involved here are:
- Sign up for an account
- Create a profile
- Log in to your dashboard
- Complete micro tasks
And some examples of these micro-tasks are the following:
- Download a game or a software
- Go to a website and click some links
- Complete surveys
- Play games and provide feedback
Like the survey scam, these companies benefit too much from your effort. In exchange, they pay you a penny several minutes of work. These companies want nothing more than data—data that they can use for their marketing campaigns.
If you have any brains, you’ll quickly realize it’ll take a long time to see good benefits from this. Also, in some cases, this will only work if you’re a US citizen anyways, as these companies proudly deny a lot of smaller, less developed countries anyways.
A “good” version of one of these websites, is one called Amazon Turk. You can easily sign up to this website, and complete simple tasks, for a “pretty okay” pay (depending on what it is and your particular skills). Personally…I got denied my application straight out of the gates, but there are people actually making money with these.
5) Online Networking Scams
Not all networking companies are actual scams. Don’t get all fired up with me, okay?
What I mean when I talk about “Networking scams” are those that are clear Ponzi schemes—they have no viable product or service to make them money.
Here is the thing, if a company wants you to pay for a membership, and then asks you to recruit, so you earn money, it is a scam…flat out.
You will usually find these in business set-ups where you invest in gold that you do not see, or investments in stock trading opportunities where you are paid money according to the number of people you recruit, or business opportunities where there is no “clear product”.
To determine if an investment of this kind, is a scam, just put it to the test. If the company is only profitable because of the money that comes from fresh recruits, and not from money that comes from product sales, it is a scam.
Always remember this: a legitimate business earns a profit because people support their product, not because new recruits pump money into the system. If the profit comes from new recruits, there will come a time when this networking business is going to crumble.
This is SO important…that it’s ridiculous.
If you’re ever fallen victim to a scheme, where you’re just “not sure what’s going on” or what you’re selling or doing, or have a weird feeling about it…keep your eyes peeled. There are TONS of these out there, and new ones pop up every day.
So, we’ve now come to the end of this very short list of scams to avoid when trying to make money online, that you should always keep an eye out for. I really hope that you’ve learned something.
There are a bunch of other online scams that you have to be careful about, I couldn’t fit them all into this article, for obvious reasons (and because they’re more general).
There is stuff like the Hitman scam, the Nigerian Prince scam, the blackmail scam…and so on. These will probably not happen to you if you’re interested in making money online, but it won’t hurt to know of their existence.
You can check out some other scams, by watching the video below.
Be careful, and always be critical of people and companies offering money to you in exchange for your efforts. I know that you are a hardworking and honest individual, and it is sad to think that there are corrupt individuals out there who will prey on you, but there will…that’s just life.
You have to fight and resist the temptation—always look after your own interests, and try to see the offer from a different angle.
If you’re putting a lot in, and don’t seem to have a clear way of wetting something out, rethink it. Has it worked for someone else? Are there actual people making things work? How are they doing it?
If there is a possibility that you can get scammed, then you may get scammed. If it is too good to be true, then it probably is.
There are tons of ways to make money online that work, like, launchjacking, free SEO, writing articles, doing affiliate marketing (this is where I started) and so on… you just have look at what is working, and stay away from the “easy and fast” stuff.
All the best.