The Top Four Myths About Scam Sites
Millions of people are scammed daily on the internet because of their preconceived notions of what a scam site does or does not do. Scam sites are able to proliferate because their methods go undetected and their reputation lies in the good reputation of those who blindly trust and recommend them. Let us look at the top four myths about scam sites.
(1) Myth #1 – If the service is free it cannot be a scam.
Due to the fact that many have been ripped off by scammers losing hundreds or thousands of dollars, when a scam site seemingly does not require credit card information, those who were once bitten and are twice shy feel comfortable and quite secure. The feeling is that there is nothing to lose. Yet they give away their email address, their house address and perhaps even their contact number. Many fraudulent websites are not out for your money – at least not directly. Spam is their scam. They do not just want your money just once. They want your email address so that they can continually spam you with their products and then get your money. They can also give your email address to a third party website for a sum of money. Other scammers want your information so that they can steal your identity.
The bait and switch method is also used. They present the free service and make it enticing. When you try to get it it is no longer available or the page has an error code. They then present an alternative product or perhaps even a related product which is not entirely free.
Then there are those websites that offer free services that are not free. They have you hooked on a “free” product and if you do not cancel your subscription in time they charge your credit card. Some still do if you cancel your subscription.
(2) Myth #2 – The website is legitimate if you see proof of payment.
This is the biggest myth of them all. This is the king of all scams! Here are the possible scenarios:
(a) Only the early members are paid.
Scam sites often pay its early members so they can appear legitimate but then they stop paying when they have reeled in the rest. Thousands hang on to the scam site with the hope of cashing out when they reach the payout figure which they may never reach because the site pays poorly or because the method to making that money is much harder than the member first thought.
(b) Photoshop is used to produce fake “proof of payment” checks.
By now many people know the great power of Photoshop and other software to produce genuine-looking material. Photoshop can be used to alter data. There is even a case where it is alleged that a Firefox extension was used to alter figures. In fact, just altering the source code of certain images can change the figures on some image files.
(c) All the members are paid but not the full amount.
If a website owed you one hundred (100) dollars and gave you a check for forty (40) dollars would you say “Great, this site is legitimate. See, I got $40.00. Yay me! Come and join. Here is my proof of payment.” What is not said or perhaps not noted is that you got sixty (60) dollars less than you were supposed to get. So while they are ripping you off you are actually making money although they are making more. But you wonder how that can possible be allowed by the person receiving the check. The answer is simple. The website does not disclose its payment system in clear, transparent terms so you did not know that you were supposed to get one hundred (100) dollars. You therefore did not know that you were scammed when you did not receive the full amount. The site tells its signees that if the payment system was revealed signees would game the system. Signees therefore ironically breathe a sigh of relief that they do not know how the payment system works since they want to have a fair chance against their competitors.
(3) Myth #3 – A site is not a scam site if there are many good testimonials.
Good testimonials do not necessarily prove that a site is a scam. Here are three reasons why:
(a) Manufactured Testimonials.
It is easy for a site to manufacture genuine-looking testimonials. Anyone can type up a testimonial and give a fake first name and a US State as a location. The reader will not suspect anything since he or she also believes that a detailed address cannot be given for the sake of privacy. Pictures are used to make it look real but how do you know that those photos are not those of the website owners’ family, friends or nabbed from unsuspecting people off of the world wide web.
(b) Paid Testimonials.
Some sites pay writers to give them positive testimonials. Others give away free full version software if you give them a testimonial so the person who receives the free product feels indebted to give a positive review of the site. In a sense this is also a paid testimonial in a more subtle way. Sometimes you go to a site that has a product and the testimonials are so detailed and in-depth that you know that there was some incentive. Others go to such a great extent to refute negative comments that you know that it most likely is not a mere user commenting and promoting the product.
(c) Websites get people to write articles with a headline stating that the site is a scam and refute it.
The strategy of many scam websites is to have someone write a headline that says that their site is a scam or that asks whether the site is a scam. These articles rank high in the search engines so they seem authoritative. After all, the prospective signee is trying to find out if the site is a scam or not so the website has to ensure via SEO that the signees read the site‘s articles about it not being a scam rather than read the real proof coming from other sources. An article title that says that a site is a scam looks objective. It looks like it will present the other side – the negative. When you read the article it is really a damage control article where the claims of others are “refuted.” Some or all of the above scam techniques are then used to assure the reader that the site is not a scam.
(4) Myth #4 – It takes a scam site to scam you.
Do you know that almost any site that you sign up with can potentially scam you and that potential is right there in the Terms of Service that you never read but agreed to? Websites know that people do not read TOS or do not read in detail so they can formulate anything as their TOS. Perhaps you want the product or service so badly that you will agree to anything. After all, countless others agreed to it so it cannot be all that bad, you think. One of the most disturbing clauses of most websites is the clause that says that you agree to indemnify they, the website owners, while you yourself, the signee, are open to litigation. Translation: If the website defrauds you you cannot take legal action but they can take legal action if they want. Most websites with Terms of Service have that clause. Why is that not called a scam? What then is a scam?
These are, in my estimation, the top four myths about scams. So the next time someone gleefully writes an article displaying their monthly gains from this or that reputable website, think about these points. Do your research. Check out sites that deal with exposing scams and be aware that not all scams are listed as scams. After you have done your research and you see a scam it is time to “scamper” from scamps on that page.
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