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Avoiding Online Scams

Updated on September 20, 2014

Is this another make money online scam?

Searching for a startup business opportunity? Want to make money online? Learn to detour around the scams and save yourself a ton of money and time. Legitimate ecommerce programs do exist, however finding real and unbiased evaluations about people and programs related to internet marketing can be tricky. Most of the so-called review websites are created with an agenda of selling you on their product and do not contain unbiased and factual information.

Wondering if that product or service you're thinking of buying is worth it? Maybe you are looking for a legit program and are bombarded with slick sales letters, not knowing who to trust. Would a version of Consumer Reports that exists only for internet marketing be useful? You can trust this community resource for real and unbiased reviews at no charge to find out BEFORE you buy or make any commitment.

After being an active member since 2009, I can recommend this rare review site with confidence. It is an ever-growing resource that can act as a filter for scams and a place to find legit programs that have been tested by members and are highly recommended. Membership is free!

Your 'Make Money Online' Scam Experience

Have YOU ever been ripped off by one of these online marketing scams?

See results

Considering an Internet Marketing Business?

Avoid common scams aimed at those who want to make money online.

IMPORTANT! Internet marketing is not a business in itself, but rather simply a tool. Marketing on the internet is simply a tactic, and one that may be very effective if used wisely to advertize some product or service. The business itself is about the product or service offered - marketing is just about the way it is advertized. The wisdom of using internet marketing includes many skills and systems, but the very foundation of it all is INTEGRITY.

One can use the most advanced systems and latest innovative technology, yet in the end there must be integrity for long-term success. In fact, I'm pleased to see that a few of the top so-called gurus in the internet marketing game have now been 'caught with their pants down' due to a steady stream of unbiased reviews. These guys are slick marketers, but in the end they did not have integrity - did not follow through as promised with quality services/products. The steady stream of testimonials from real people about their experiences revealed the facts beyond their hyped claims and scams.

IM Report Card
IM Report Card

Make Money Online Scams Revealed

You CAN make money online, however use smart resources to avoid hyped claims.

Most people trying to make money online have found themselves overwhelmed by all the hyped claims of easy money. It's hard to learn the real story about the products, services and people. Most anyone who has been online for awhile has a story about getting scammed by people who are just out to make a quick buck.

Get unbiased information to avoid those scams and find the real opportunities that are worth your time and money. They review and discuss every single popular Internet marketing related product, service, person or "guru", and biz-opp and present them in categories in order to make your search simple. There is nothing for sale there.


The "Make Money Online" Industry

A steady stream of new product launches come from a small group of slick marketers.

If you've been working online for long, you've noticed that there's quite frequently some very highly promoted new "launch" of some new have-to-have product or service. These launches are done by a relatively small group of 20-30 people, so-called "gurus" with huge mailing lists who pitch each others products regularly within very slick marketing tactics. There are another 50-100 smaller players who operate quite differently, but essentially what they do is the same thing.

These people are serial product developers who crank out new products every few months, then in many cases disappear to create a new one. While they are very slick marketers, they offer little in substance nor support. Wouldn't you want some real evidence about these folks BEFORE investing time and money?

The Value of Unbiased Online Reviews

Do you find value in such a source of unbiased online reviews?

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Guru Scams VS. Legit Business

Use a good filter to discover the online programs that are legit before you invest time and money.

Many of the most highly promoted Internet marketing and "make money online" products and services are developed and "launched" by a relatively small group of people. These are the so-called "gurus." There are about 20-30 people that fall into this group. Maybe you know a few of them.

These 'gurus' promote launches for each other all the time. They have massive e-mail lists, and the messages tend to to be slick and quite convincing. Beware.

Then there are another 50-100 smaller players who operate a little differently, but essentially do the same thing. These people have no interest in being a "guru", but they are serial product developers and crank out new products every few months.

Don't drown in the sea of so-called review websites. They have an agenda. Get real & truly unbiased reviews before losing any more time and money to the online sharks.

online scams
online scams

Why Online Scams Work

  • Slick marketing systems
  • Prey on newbies, many desperate for income
  • Claims of quick results and huge incomes

IMRC is Generally Reliable, Not 100%

While I do value the site for unbiased reviews than found elsewhere, they're not 100% reliable. Anyone can join free and submit reviews. A large number of people brand new to internet marketing joined and posted positive reviews about one company. That company is one I have found to be NOT legit nor recommended.

At one time I published a very detailed article which exposed many hidden agendas that I discovered during the time I was a member. The article was well-written, factual and detailed pros and cons. It began to get a lot of traffic. There's no shortage of reviews about that company online, yet NONE of them were anything like mine.

All the other reviews were written by affiliates who want you to join. Eventually the owners of Internet Income University (IIU) ) had their lawyers put pressure on with threats and the page was removed.

This review site is not perfect, still much better than most. You still have to use your own judgement as some questionable companies are featured with high marks.

Typical Make Money Online Reviews

Why Avoid Them Like the Plague?

Online review websites became the rage around the end of 2007 to create these fake review sites. The concept worked well for some, and so that practice exploded to the point of thousands of them cluttering up cyberspace. It works something like this...on the site the author will claim to be a reviewer of similar products to the one promoted there. After 'reviewing' the similar product, then there's the inevitable statement... so here's what you should buy instead.

In many cases, no actual research was done for the review since it was never meant to be one in the first place, but instead just a ploy to sell a product or service. It's a fake review. Many people tend to believe whatever they read in print as fact, and these site owners play on that innocence to sell based on their fake and biased reviews. Review sites such reduce the muscle of these fake reviewers as well as the scam artists.

internet marketing
internet marketing

REAL People - REAL Internet Marketing Reviews!

Find legit unbiased online testimonials or create your own. Help preserve internet marketing credibility at IMRC.

Why IM Report Card?

A reliable community of online reviewers

Members of this industry watchdog site monitor and report on over 2,000 Internet marketing products and people. The mission of the site is to avoid hyped claims and sift what is real from what is is best avoided.

IMRC is a valuable resource that I've come to rely on for real information from real people. While there IS a system for members to use banners and such to recommend it the site if they choose, it is not an affiliate program in the sense of making money from promoting it. Initially the program did start out that way, but was changed later due to an influx of spam.

Members do still earn points for things like submitting reviews and comments or bringing new quality members to the site who do the same. However the points can then be exchanged for products rather than cash. These items include free banner ads and sweepstakes entries.

How IM Report Card Works

Members comment and rate companies, products and people they have first hand experience with ONLY!

Members are expected to comment or rate only products, services or people they've had first-hand experience with, and to include specific details about that experience. These comments and ratings are monitored by real people, and if accepted and published then they are rewarded on a point system.

I have commented on and/or rated those programs I know first-hand about. By the way, the higher the QUALITY of comments, the higher point values they earn. Some of my comments were submitted in a rush, not wise since you can only comment one time.

Unbiased Reviews about Internet Marketing

It's rare to find a review site that allows no affiliate links, making it a much more reliable place to find a startup business opportunity.

Online reviews are generally followed by affiliate links. When they are not allowed, reviews have more of a chance to remain unbiased. There will be no agenda, no advantage to post fake reviews or hype. Now that the site has grown, it has gained attention from both sides... those getting lousy reviews are complaining (then clean up your act) and those getting excellent reviews are posting them on their websites (well-earned).

About affiliate links: Members are not allowed to post affiliate links. However owners of the organization who sponsors the site DOES affiliate with some of the businesses and people featured on their site. So in some cases, if one were to click through on links there, IMRC would receive a stipend from that vendor. Given that they do provide a great service, I do not expect them to do so for free, so it doesn't bother me that they've chosen to affiliate with some vendors on the site. However in a few cases their choice of vendors to affiliate with does bother me. Also it seems they've allowed positive comments about those vendors (their affiliates) which include very little substance. For example... "I just joined last week and..." Last week? And you already know enough to submit an unbiased review? IMRC was much more selective about input from members at the beginning.

True Story: Once I was reading a review, and noticed what was obviously an affiliate link attached to it. Being fairly new at the time, I wondered whether I had misunderstood something. So I contacted the site and asked about that procedure. I received an immediate personal response asking me for specific information about which review and the exact page. Once I responded, I received another message of sincere apology for the oversight. The link was immediately removed and I was asked to continue reporting it to them should I ever view such in the future. That got my attention, and I now rely on those reviews more than ever.

Thousands of reviews and UNBIASED discussions about people, products and services related to internet marketing!

Internet Marketing Report Card

Other Reliable Sources for Internet Marketing Reviews

Other sites that can be helpful to avoid online scams include:

  1. Web of Trust. This site works as a quick filter that can be helpful. Web of Trust is a free download that stays in your browser to warn you if you land on a site with many complaints.
  2. Warrior Forum Sometimes I check in there and do a search. Proceed with caution there as the site is full of very slick marketers. Many are quite opinionated. Huge egos and snarky comments are common. Still you will usually find some discussion there about just about any product, service or person related to internet marketing. Use the search box. Best to just read & not comment until you learn your way around there. Also best to put your wallet away as the sales pitches can seem quite enticing. Beware.

Online marketing relies on internet chatter, reviews and word-of-mouth. Problem there is that word of mouth often has a hidden agenda.

Have YOU fallen for a scam or two?

Join the discussion below. Any experience with scams or other reliable sites that can alert consumers? Shout out.

Ever Look for Online Reviews?

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    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @onlinescammers: Yes, unfortunately the scammers DO appeal to dreams of a better future, and maybe a record number of people go looking online for just that. It is my hope to reveal some of their tactics as red flags to avoid, for there ARE legitimate ways to make money online.

    • profile image

      onlinescammers 4 years ago

      Hi great lens. I am new here and have been scammed several times online. At my age you think I would have learned by now! These scammers appeal to our dreams and our hopes for a better future. While all they give us is lies and deceit.

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @anonymous: I appreciate that comment, thanks.

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @Ajweb: Hey thanks a lot, AJ.

    • profile image

      Ajweb 5 years ago

      A very important and relevant article about cheating and deception that everyone should read. Good work!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      An informational post and can be helpful in taking tips for avoiding various types of online scams...

    • profile image

      yogendrachavda 5 years ago

      thanks for creating this creative lens.. informational too..

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @CrossCreations: The ID name was not to offend anyone. They say that headlines usually grab attention. To your last question...Absolutely! I pay respect to you for updating your text adequately. Cheers!

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @anonymous: Interesting ID name "YouAreWrong!" Hmmm... so did you register in order to go around and find 'wrong' people? Ever find anything right?

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @anonymous: What I meant about 'no affiliate links' was that MEMBERS are not allowed to use affiliate links. Initially IMRC as an organization sponsoring the site did not affiliate. Yes, later they did begin to do so. I found this disappointing and yet have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, they do provide a great service which requires a lot of work and a huge investment of time, so why on earth shouldn't they affiliate with a few of their favorites? That way they can at least earn a little something for their time? OK. I don't necessarily have a problem with the organization itself being an affiliate. That is very different from allowing members to drop affiliate links, for then it would quickly become a free-for-all link farm. There is only one company they do affiliate with that bothers me, for I do not see it as a company of integrity at all. It pains me to see this company's links plastered all over the board when I log in there, a lower integrity for sure after that action. So I try to ignore that and hope others do as well, but I do still refer to the site regularly.

    • profile image

      robertclarke 5 years ago

      I shall definitely be using IM Report Card in the future for my reviews. Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Just to clarify, the quot is from their FAQs section.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You might want to edit your lense... IM Report Card do use affiliate links! It is stated that: "Some of the links that take you to the sites reviewed contain an affiliate link. That means we earn a commission if someone should happen to sign up for the site they are visiting. Please note that this does not affect the reviews written at IM Report Card. Our writers have absolutely no incentive to write favorably or not about any site. And even if they did, any review that was written in a positive light that shouldn't have been would be "corrected" by the comments left by IM Report Card members like yourself."

    • profile image

      mujahidshaikh 6 years ago

      i am totally agree with this lens. Before hiring virtual assistant or buying any program which help you earn lots of money you have to read the whole review about that company.

    • bikerministry profile image

      bikerministry 6 years ago

      I sure believe in tons of research and reading reviews before I dive into anything that promises I'll make money. Blessings.

    • profile image

      suvam123 6 years ago

      very interesting information about marketing...

    • profile image

      kishlkelly 6 years ago

      There are many different mlm scams everywhere.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      While there are some great learning tools out there that you can purchase, be wary of the get rich quick products. There is no push button system to generate revenue online. I wish there was! If something seems to good to be true well you know the rest. Don't waste your time and money buying this get rich systems. If you are going to invest, do it in a program or a product that aims to teach you good internet marketing principles. Internet Marketing Tools

    • profile image

      tiffanieubanks 6 years ago

      I know way to well how easy it is to be scammed online. Thanks for the great info!! Sure could have used this years ago :)

    • profile image

      JoeSteinbeck 6 years ago

      Some classic ones there.

    • Patbinc profile image

      Patbinc 6 years ago

      Great info, thanks for the effort and time

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I agree, there are some real CON ARTISTS out there...they are real good in making false of the worst ones I have seen is this woman Bardi Toto ..she claims that she is co-author with Tony Robbins (urgh!), Jack Canfield (The Chicken Soup -Aargh!!) etc

      check this out ..

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great lens. We found it to be very helpful, thanks for the tips!

    • profile image

      avismints 6 years ago

      I got ripped off a bunch of times, I always reported it to the appropriate authorities but I never attempted to get my money back. I just kind of figured "what ever, at least they will get caught" until recently. I got scammed on an auction site, I posted a rant in a forum and I got directed to this website, they are now suing the company that scammed me and we might all get our money back. Well I hope we do, either way, I use Scam Book to look up companies and their complaints before I do business with them. Check them out

    • profile image

      nakedinternetmarketers 6 years ago

      Great content there, sure to help other budding internet marketers ^_^

    • bames24 lm profile image

      bames24 lm 6 years ago

      thanks for the info... :)

    • profile image

      rofazzz 6 years ago

      nice lens for share information about review an internet program ! good work !

      lee croucher

    • greencurator profile image

      greencurator 7 years ago

      It is advisable to read reviews about an internet program in order to avoid being scammed. thank you for sharing this valuable information.

    • aerome profile image

      aerome 7 years ago

      Great! Thanks for this information ;-)

    • profile image

      dylnhttn 7 years ago

      Came across Micheal Cheney, he's well know IM more than 10 years. Currently Micheal Cheney conducting IM coaching. Try:

    • profile image

      AlexKennedy 7 years ago

      Thank you so much for the information! This story really further validates my point! People are so skeptical of MLMs because of all the scammers out there. It just makes it really hard for people who are honest and really believe in a reliable, dependable, money making product! Thanks again for the site referral.

    • onlinebusiness11 profile image

      onlinebusiness11 7 years ago

      Great job!

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 7 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Great info - IMRC is an excellent site, I've been a member for some time and it's the only review site I recommended on my lens on doging the scammers. I'm surprised they don't get more widespread praise.

    • onlinebusiness11 profile image

      onlinebusiness11 7 years ago

      Like this guestbook graphic! Good info. Thanks!

    • profile image

      marialorena 7 years ago

      it really is sad when others have abused the use of internet marketing to spread spam. Thanks for the info!

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @Holley Web: Thanks for your visit, Holley! Glad to know that you also have found and value this resource.

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 8 years ago

      Excellent information! I have used IM Report Card and find it to be a great resource. 5*s and a thank you!