Many innocent and otherwise intelligent people get scammed on the Internet each and every day. Most of the people I know who have "swallowed the bait", are people of reasonable to exceptional intelligence. High IQ or good common sense is no deterrent to getting scammed. There are so many illegitimate scams and frauds online that offer an illusion of success, but only deliver empty promises and broken dreams. I refer to these scam business opportunities as "Bastard" web sites. They have no traceable long-term history of ownership (no father or mother), and can disappear as quickly as they came. When they have exhausted a fresh supply of "suckers", they will disappear off the grid, only to re-manifest as a web site with a different name, but the same message and marketing letter. Their only purpose for existence is to separate people from their money. These web-sites have no real product to sell, they do not provide a reasonable service, and yet, they are so proficient at selling something that doesn't exist. The owner of such a web site is often touted as an expert of some sort, but you would be hard pressed to find background on them. My question is this; How do we separate the wheat from the chaff as it were? How do we tell the difference from a legitimate opportunity and a scam? I think I can speak to this subject with some authority because life on the Internet is no different from life outside the Internet. Whether online or offline, if you live long enough, you will be scammed by someone. Many times in life, the deception of others, costs us more than just money. We often are scammed by the people we closest to, and even though we have their best interest at heart, they have no regard for what they are about to do to us. I believe myself to be a sensible person, but my family and friends have taken advantage of me far more often than I have been fooled by a stranger. This is indeed disheartening, but by no means am I ready to write off all of humanity, simply because of the selfish motives of a few people who managed to get past my defenses. If you are presently seeking a legitimate, online business model that you are truly ready to invest your time, talent, and money into, consider a few key elements, that will minimize the possibility and pain of taking the wrong bait... Hook, line and sinker.
Firstly, let us consider what a legitimate business is. An honest and forthright business provides a tangible and needed product or service for real people. A legitimate business exists to fill a need in the community. Admittedly, sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a real need and that which is simply a desire, but that is for the consumer to consider, and is not the responsibility of the business. For example: Often in life, we seek out a product that we feel we need, but if the truth were told, most men don't really Need another expensive tool for their collection, and most women don't Need another pair of shoes for their closet. So, Whether a need is real or perceived, a business is there to fill the order. I don't know any person that actually Needs a Video Game Console, and yet it is a multi-billion dollar industry, and anyone would be foolish not to sell video games based on the fact that it is not a "Real Need". Although it is not a real need, it is a tangible product or service that is offered to real people.
Next we need to consider the source of the opportunity. Is web site or person that is making this offer to you readily accessible. If it is a legitimate opportunity, there will usually be a contact page where you will find the name of the company or individual, along with a telephone number or a valid email address. If you see a mailing address and profile information, that is a very good indicator that the opportunity is legitimate. This will allow you to contact a real person with your questions about the opportunity that is represented, by telephone or email. Most Scam opportunities will only have one marketing page with a sales pitch that makes outrageous claims, but no way to find out any further information. Most bastard sites will also have a disclaimer at the bottom of the page that states how your results may vary. For example: If the web site sales pitch claims you will make $6,000.00 in 6 days, you can usually click on the disclaimer link where you will be told that everything they claim in the sales pitch, may not really work as advertised.
About those Outrageous Claims. If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Watch out for key phrases such as those that promise you a certain amount of money in a certain period of time. No one can deliver on a promise that you will make $1,000.00 in one day (or any combination thereof). I have learned that "completely duplicateable system" usually only applies to the person making the claim. Also be wary when there is too much use of outrageous adjectives. "Recliner Millionaire", "Secret", or "Instant Cash", should set off some kind of alarm in our head (however often we choose to ignore it). Many of these sites will also offer to "train you", they neglect to tell you that the training and advice you receive will be outdated and unusable. Any legitimate work offer should come with some training, make sure the training you will receive comes from both online or printed resources and most importantly, a real person that is willing to help you get going. If the training is "online only", be wary. Another outrageous claim is that you can put this business on "autopilot". In other words, they will claim that once you set up "the system", whatever that system is, that you will not have so spend any more time, energy or money to keep it going. A legitimate business opportunity offers real work, and you should expect to have to dig in and work your butt off, before you begin to see any profit. It does not matter what anyone claims, you must be expected and willing to work hard to gain success. There is No Easy Way to Success! We all know this to be true, but sometimes we briefly allow ourselves to be deluded by a promise of fast and easy money, only to end up ashamed of ourselves for becoming a victim. And by no means should we have to victimize other people to reach our goals.
"There is no such thing as a FREE puppy". This saying is true and reliable. Whenever you see the word FREE, you should know that something will be required of you. In Internet language, "Free" usually means "Trade" or "Trap". Sometimes following up on a Free offer is simply exchanging our email address for some information, which will result in some unsolicited emails (or spam). Sometimes Free can cost us our money and our integrity. It is important to research each "Free" offer, and see what the real cost is going to be. You should also know that there is an entire network of legitimate online business-people who exchange, barter or trade, by using the word Free. This is fine as long as you know who you are dealing with and are willing to trade your effort, product or service for the same from another person. This is where you can honestly and openly trade for a valuable product or service. These exchanges are called Joint Ventures (where you work with another business to achieve a common goal, or Affiliate opportunities, where you trade something like space on your web site to promote another persons product or service for a sales commission or more traffic to your site (It is useless to have a web site, unless people look at it, and buy your product or hire your services). Trading is an integral part and portion of doing business online, and there is nothing under-handed about it, unless the trade is not of equal value, and someone gets the short end of the stick. Don't be afraid to trade and barter with other online business owners (especially to share and exchange site links), it can save you some time and money and bring visitors to your web business, if you trade with an honest person. I always try to do some background research on other sites, even if we are just exchanging services to our mutual benefit. It can save you some heartache later down the road.
Finally, an online business opportunity is an offer for work. No matter how much research you have done, no matter how well you have matched the opportunity to your skills and talents, there will always be something about the JOB that you will not like doing. If we enjoyed everything we did at our job, we would not call it work, we would call it play. If you think about it, I'm sure you'll agree that even that which we call play, has some element of work involved with it. If you love to ride dirt bikes, you probably don't enjoy cleaning and maintaining your motorcycle. There will always be something in any opportunity that you will not enjoy doing, make sure you balance that with a majority of things that you would really enjoy working at. Research the possibilities, decide on one that you are comfortable with, and work hard like you would at any other job, and you can realize your dream of having an online business without getting scammed.
To complete this article, I need to write a little bit more. There can be many reasons for desiring to operate an online business. Usually the reason is that something has changed in your life, and out of necessity, you are seeking a means of providing an income with more flexible hours. Have you, or someone you care for, been diagnosed with a chronic illness? Do you need to take care of a sick spouse or relative? Has the economy affected your present job so that you simply are not making enough money? Are you just tired of the stress and politics surrounding your present job? Or maybe you need to be able to work from home. We usually seek opportunities out of necessity. As for me, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia about fifteen years ago, and it is extremely difficult to find a job that can accommodate my physical limitations. So I started seeking out a way to work that would allow me the freedom to just vegetate on the days that I don't feel well enough to work. From a Christian perspective and as a Minister and Pastor of a small Church (that cannot afford to pay me), I sought out Gods' Will for a business that I could operate, that would allow me to maintain my integrity and give me the freedom of time, to be available for the spiritual needs of our Church. As a pastor, I often have people ask my advice on how to find God's Will for their business life. The Bible has very clear principles that we are to adhere to, if we want to be successful (blessed). It really can be summed up in just a few words. God does not really care what kind of work you do as long as you do it as if you were working directly for Him. Put your head and heart into your work and always do the best you can possibly do. Help other people to become successful, and you will become successful (seek a business that will allow you to do this). Treat your clients with the same respect and dignity that you believe you deserve. Always give one tenth of your income to your local Church, so God can bless you with abundance.
I have been scammed a couple of times in the process of testing out different business opportunities, and it has taught me some lessons. By the way, trying and failing is much better than Never Trying at all. I have learned to research and investigate their search engine status, look up whois info, and searching for complaints against a person or company. I have learned to stay away from one page web sites that make outrageous claims. I have learned that Free never means free (there's always a trade off). I have learned that every failure has taught me valuable lessons that I would not have learned any other way. The most important thing I have learned is to simply choose a legitimate opportunity and work it. Use all the tools and helps you can, find affiliate and joint-venture opportunities. Work your business patiently and persistently, and even though it may take awhile, you can find success as an Online Business-person without getting scammed or scamming other people. There are many opportunities to be had, and many of them take very little money to start, but you can expect to spend your time, talents, energy and some money to achieve any level of success so choose an opportunity that suits you well, and you will be happy to do the work. Use your instinct and common-sense to avoid being a victim. Don't let yourself get Caught Swallowing the Bait- Hook, Line and Sinker.