Avoiding Online Scams – 6 Timeless Tips You Should Know
Are you looking for a program/product online and wonder if it's worth a shot? There can be many reasons why you'd be skeptical. It may have a sketchy sales page, it may make ridiculous claims. The list goes on and on.
Here, it's only natural to have your fair share of doubts. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is! It often pays to do some research before you get started with any online system.
For the same reason, we compiled 6 timeless tips you can use to instantly tell the difference between a legitimate product and a scam. Taken seriously, this can easily save you thousands of dollars and hours of time in the long run by avoiding scams.
Using the following ways, you can stay safe in the markets of your choice which are often filled with hundreds if not thousands of scams waiting to rob you off your money.
Pinpointing a Scam
#1: Look for Ridiculous Claims
Most pyramid schemes/scams rely on making claims that make things look too easy. For example, if something says you can make money online for doing little to no work, you know what to do! With real products, business opportunities, it often takes some work to see results.
Since scammers don't have a worthy product, they overuse hype to sell whatever they have (to take your hard-earned cash). You may also notice fake 'secure payment' buttons on the sales page/order page like the one you can see below.
These are not even real buttons, this is simply a still image which is used to gain your trust and make you comfortable. Other than these 'buttons', you may also encounter fake scarcity timers and countdowns (a marketing tactic). These tactics are used more by shady marketers.
You will notice after a certain period of time (12-24 hours), the timer will reset and get back to normal. These pages also try to retain you with a redirection loop. Hit the back button, and it will either take you to another page of the same website or come up with lame popups (with an additional discount).
#2: Check the Reviews
Read reviews on multiple websites, and also check various directories for the company's reputation. You may encounter some reviews which are way too positive, they eventually 'push' you to get started with a program.
Those are either paid reviews, or the website owner earns an affiliate commission for sending over the visitor to the offer. It's never a bad idea to briskly go through 5 product reviews at least. After you've done some initial research, you can check company's profile and background/history via a domain privacy check.
Websites like WHOis can help you discover more details about a domain (registration date, registration country, registrant's name/address). Some may hide this data for privacy reasons but scammers intentionally hide this so they can continue to operate 'behind the scenes'.
If you can't find any information about a company or their office, it's a red flag you need to take into consideration. In case it's a physical brick and mortar business, you can also find relevant reviews/ratings on screening platforms like BBB.
#3: Check Who 'Runs the Show'
It never hurts to find out who is 'the man' behind the website. With most legit companies, the owners are more than willing to show their faces. They also also open for live interviews/sessions on YouTube and other platforms.
If you find a person's image on a website, try doing a Google image search, if it comes up with thousands of identical images, that means it's a stock image which anyone can buy and use.
However, if it shows a profile of a real person on websites like LinkedIn, there's a fair chance they have a legitimate product.
#4: Skim Through the FREE Content
If a product offers free material to all the website visitors, it's an indication the product may not be a scam. Check out the content, and make sure it provides value. Remember one man's trash is another man's gold. Just because something is legit doesn't always mean it's a good fit for you.
With scams, it's almost certain there won't be any free content. No free trial options either. If something continues to push you to purchase, run as far as you can in the opposite direction.
If you're one of those unfortunate peeps who shared personal information (like email) on one of their pages, watch out for their 'promotional' newsletter emails. Con artists won't leave a chance and would continue to send you 'spam' on a regular basis, sometimes up to twice a day.
#5: Look for HTTPS/Domain TLD
With a sales page, you want to be on a website powered by https (secured version of http). This is not required for most websites unless it does transactions. Even if a program is legit, you don't want to enter sensitive information like your card number on an insecure website.
When we say domain TLD, we're talking about the .com/.net extension you see with a domain/website. Most companies who take their work seriously would use a .com/.net/.org domain. If a website uses .website/.info/.biz/.top. Avoid these websites at all costs.
This is not necessarily a deciding factor, but something you should keep on your watchlist for sure.
#6: Do a Quick Forum Check
Platforms like Quora and Reddit sport huge communities of people interested in a topic/niche/product. When unsure, it's a good idea to visit some of the forum threads, and look for the required information. Chances are high you'll find what you're looking for.
With these places, since the environment is heavily moderated, expect a no-BS approach since no one can dupe you into believing into something. People are entitled to their opinions, and this is where communities shine.
Apart from these forums, Yahoo Answers is also a good place for scraping relevant information.
#7 (Bonus): Contact Support
A scammer will often ignore you and try to avoid contact because of his/her bad intentions. If you send an email to product's support email and receive a legit response, you can have some confidence in it. Real products also implement a live chat feature through which a customer care executive will be assigned to you in real time.
If not, look for robotic copy-paste style responses. Sometimes you won't receive any response whatsoever, and at times in a poor English. It clearly is an indicator it's run in some third-world country and the person's goal is to make money off you at any cost.
If the emails ask you for your personal details (including credit card number), never ever reply back with those details. This may be obvious to some, but no company would ask for your sensitive data via their customer support department.
Final Words - Avoiding Scams
So, there we have it. If you keep these tips in mind and do your homework before joining a program/system, you'd do very well in this space. If not, you may be doing yourself a huge disservice. Who even wants to lose hundreds of dollars and/or hundreds of hours of lost time?
Over time, it won't be hard to notice patterns and find similar characteristics. We have been at it for a while and can spot a shady scheme from a distance after having tested hundreds of systems/online programs.
Stay safe, and good luck in finding your dream opportunity!
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