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Earn Money Online Safely

Updated on September 22, 2014

Earn Money Online And Avoid Internet Marketing Scams And Fraud

Want to earn money online safely? Worried about internet fraud as you try to make a living working at home? I'll show you how many of the scammers work and the tricks they use, Then I'll give you some advice on how to spot the scammers and dodge the frauds. With some care and research you can feel safe as you begin earning online.

Earn money online, internet marketing, online marketing, amongst the most searched for terms today. Almost synonymous with "work at home". We all want more money - through need or greed or circumstances. We'd like the freedom and flexibility that our own online business can give us. We've heard of the internet gurus, the big beasts of the internet jungle - the ones who have made millions from one idea and now they're going to help us do the same. Whoopee!

Unfortunately though, where there's a market there's a crook. Actually, thousands of crooks, and internet markets are the worst of all. They're pitfalls for the unwary as the vultures of the scamming world hover, How do you avoid internet marketing scammers? How do you dodge internet scams and fraud?

This page is going to help you distinguish the vultures from the golden goose and avoid them. More accurately, it's going to tell you there isn't a golden goose! Have a look down the page at the ugly red text and the marketing message. Has your mouse ever hovered over an ad like this, sorely tempted to click? Read this page - it's dedicated to helping you dodge the scams and start earning online safely.

Internet Marketing: Some More Scams

Learn the scams and earn safely

Well, my best scam is to get people like you to give me $4.95. Curious people, even desperate people -- I like them best of all. I'll throw together enough bumph from free sources (or I'll steal it) and send it to you. Many of you will soon realise I'm a fake but I don't care -- I've already got a nice little stream of payments coming in.

I'll also sell on your contact details -- there's good money in contact lists. Unsubscribe facility? Legal requirements? Oh dear, you are joking.

If you're very unlucky I'll persuade you that I'm legit, for a while anyway. You'll sign up for a monthly fee and I'll carry on sending you stuff I've nicked from the Internet and repackaged a bit. Recurring fraud - lovely!

If you're very, very unlucky, I have your credit card details .....

Scammers' Favourite Areas

Danger areas rife with fraud

I've had a good look round and seen what's popular on the Internet. Hey, if I'll steal your money I'll steal someone else's scam. There's plenty of gravy in the different frauds out there for the likes of me. What are the buzz words?: internet marketing, affiliate marketing, dropshipping, surveys for cash, buy and sell property with no cash outlay, forex, write articles for cash, and my favourite earn cash at home. That one covers me for anything.

Depressing, isn't it? We internet markting scammers operate in every area - it's up to you to learn to avoid us and the frauds we use.

If You Don't Avoid The Scammers

You deserve to be defrauded

Harsh words? No - I'm the scammer - I'm after your money. . "You deserve what you get" -- I'm a scammer, I do internet fraud for a living, it's tattooed on my forehead. Mind you, the saying works in my favour -- so many of my customers wryly admit to themselves they've been scammed and tell themselves they deserve to lose the money. Bless 'em. Learn to recognise me, avoid me or pay me.

A quote from one review site: "My sister and I attended a workshop Yesterday. Don't know if you'll reply but we would like to know how to accomplish what we witnessed at the storesonline workshop "tools" and cancel immediately we were charged almost $8,000 because of poor credit and instant financing at interest rate of 21% please let us know how to do this for free or near free or at a fraction of the cost ."

That's from someone who attended a free internet marketing seminar by a company that already had over 2,000 pending cases against it in Texas alone. He attended the seminar four months after the original warning on the review site, a site which is invariably on Google page 1 results. And he's not alone -- every time your mouse hovers over that $4.95 link I start salivating. Go on, this could be the one that is okay. Go on, you want to, he sounds sincere and he's warning us about scammers, it's only $4.95 ...

"You get what you pay for": oh dear, you get what I send you. If I send you anything. Usually I will send you enough to fulfil the letter of the law. Even if I don't, the law is so naff in most countries and I cross international boundaries -- show me a US law enforcement agency that will chase me to Nigeria for $4.95. Even easier, I can pull the model airplane kit trick on you:

Inside the box there's a couple of pieces of balsa wood. Look at the small print on the box: "picture not representative of contents, some tools required for assembly, woodworking skills required". Take that to a trading standards office and they'll turn you away at the door. Not even fraud, legally speaking.

So you failed to avoid that scam - have you learned yet how to dodge other internet marketing scams? Read on...

How Low Will An IM Scammer Stoop?

Can't be fraud, it's a nice story

We've all seen uplifting tales of a single mum who is making great money after being ripped off in the past by internet scammers. Ho hum. Sob story, images of paychecks, testimonials, big red capitalised text! Lesson here: sob story on internet = fraud.

"a few years ago I was living from paycheck to paycheck. My 5-year old son, Ryan, his father left us without looking back. I was stuck with paying the rent, meeting monthly car payments, plus footing all the other bills. Food was scarce so I spent hours cutting coupons and brought home left-overs from my 50 hr-per-week waitress job, just to place a meal on the table for Ryan and I."

Simple lesson: many Internet Marketing Scams rely on unsubstantiated claims: if there's no impartial proof - avoid them, they're scams or fraudulent.

And beware one nasty little extra on this sort of page - fake claims about charitable donations: "Proud contributor to". A really scummy trick: they've probably given five dollars and claimed it as a tax deduction, just to sucker a few more people in.

How Many Times Have You Been Scammed? - Fallen for an internet fraud?

How many times have you paid money, even a small amount, in the hope that this is the one?

See results

I'm Me Again: Why Do We Fall For These Scams?

Why don't we avoid the scammers?

I've had enough writing like one of these villains -- I feel a bit dirty, I'm off to wash my hands.

Earn money while washing your hands

No, probably not but I can get it on a web page in two minutes and let it run. If one person falls for it I've made $4.95 for those two minutes work, $150 per hour isn't bad.

Why do we fail to dodge Internet scams?

  • We're human: we want to trust people
  • We're a bit greedy -- money for nothing would be good
  • We're desperate for cash and clutching at straws
  • The scammer is cleverer than us
  • It's the Internet: boundless possibilities: look at all the ones who've made it
  • It's the Internet: he wouldn't get through my front door in real life

And the most important of those is

The scammer is cleverer than us

No more ugly red centered text, I promise. Yes, in most scams there's enough truth to drag us in. Once we're in we're reluctant to back out. We don't want to admit we were scammed. And the scammer is always several steps ahead of us - he's planned the trail, remember, He doesn't have to be too complicated: look at timeshare salesmen -- once "timeshare" became a dirty word they started selling "fractional purchase" -- brilliantly simple.

Earning Money Online Takes Effort

Make the effort and dodge the scammers

Of course there are good ways to earn money. Some timeshares were great deals. They're the ones salesmen used to persuade people to buy a hole in the ground with raw sewage leaking into it. You can make money through most of the "buzz words" listed above (that's why scammers use them), but you will have to put in effort and you will have to find the right people to deal with. And that's the part that some find difficult, which is odd really. The scammer uses the power of the Internet to run his nasty little schemes -- well, use the power of the Internet yourself. Investigate him before he sees one cent of your money. If someone has fallen for an internet marketing fraud then chances are there's a report out there on the web - look for it!

Find sources of reviews and advice - check them out over a period of time:. If anyone here is thinking that they might be able to trust the advice I'm giving then I'm going to put a link on some of that red text and I'll have your money off you! Do I sound credible? Of course I do, if I sounded like a crook you wouldn't give me your money. You don't know me from Adam and you're trusting me already??? Get to know me first.

Review the reviews: Is a review site well populated and up to date? Do members actively contribute? Is there enough on there to make it unlikely it's a fake review site (yes, they exist)? Is it recommended by unimpeachable sources -- major media, Consumers Association etc? Ads in tabloids don't count, and make sure you can tell the difference between editorial content and ads pretending to be editorial. Read older and newer reviews: a good offering can rapidly turn into a scam.

Review the reviewer: Take Squidoo for example: is this a reviewer's first lens or her fiftieth? What do the comments say? Has she posted more on the subject or related subjects over a period of time?

Review the offering: Reputable or recommended supplier (see previous two steps)? Well-established website? No dodgy claims, no unlikely promises? Check the terms and look for any small print.

Once bitten, twice shy: Grandmothers may not have known the Internet but they knew their crooks. Learn from your mistakes. I actually once saw a post from someone who'd been ripped off for the n'th time (he said "second time") -- his comment was "I thought, they can't all be like that". His $4.95 is on its way to me now.

Nice website: No, not all scammers are kind enough to use the red capitals. Though they still work, alas.

It was high up on Google search results: Yes, the scammers put effort into SEO -- any good businessperson does. A high placement on search results says zero about quality.

It was on Google ads: So are white magic spells to cure diseases. Have a read of Internet Scam: Fake Ad Cost Me £2,000 in the Guardian.

My mate says ... And your friend is tried, trusted, and never fallen for a scam in his life? Send me $4.95 and I'll send you a few links.

Know your rights: Got a cooling off period in your state or country? Use it. Credit card protection? If you don't know you shouldn't be using a credit card! Know how to stop a cheque? Are you prepared to shout at bank officials when they tell you they can't help?

iPood t-shirt zazzle
iPood t-shirt zazzle

This Page Is Too Long

Recognise this scammers' trick?

You'd pay out money for a few web pages and some dodgy e-books but won't read free advice and then do your research properly? You haven't been scammed yet, congratulations.

Click here for your free iPod

Yes, research has shown that some people will click on a scammer's message if the page is excessively long and the message is hammered with big red BUY buttons. If people fail to avoid as basic a trick as that, is it any wonder internet marketing is riddled with scammers?

IM Report Card: internet marketing reviews
IM Report Card: internet marketing reviews

Internet Marketing Report Card

Anti-scammers reviews, frauds exposed

UPDATE: This site has changed ownership and is veering dangerously towards the sort of tactics that it used to eschew. It's still worth looking at but its authority has lessened.

I regularly use IM Report Card, a report site dedicated to Internet Marketing. They say:

"Our mission is simple - to catalog, review and discuss every single popular Internet marketing related product, service, person or "guru", and biz-opp."

Over several months I've found that to be true. Site is free to join and relies on a few paid staff and a lot of members contributing. It's an excellent place to hear negative reviews -- which is very important. Equally, they carry favourable reviews - there's usually enough there to make up your mind with a reasonable degree of certainty.

Note: I'm not trying to sell the site to you -- there's no benefit to me for sending you there (see, no affilate code on the link) and I'm not even saying if there are other benefits. And of course, this isn't in big red letters so you know it's true.

Seriously, very good site for its purpose. Check it out.

Kick Ass Social Commerce for E-preneurs: It’s Not About Likes--It’s About Sales
Kick Ass Social Commerce for E-preneurs: It’s Not About Likes--It’s About Sales

John Lawson is a highly respected figure in this area and he has a good style - no bs, no false promises.

fake scam review
fake scam review

Fake Review Sites

Great fraudsters' trick: fake reviews

I've been asked about fake review sites run by the scammers and fraudsters - there's a lot of them out there. Fortunately they're usually pretty easy to spot. Do a Google advanced search for a sentence from a product description. Fake sites will invariably share the text word for word. Second major clue is the domain name: if it includes the product name and the word review, it's a fake. Also look out for:

  • All the products the site reviews are rated "great"
  • Each review page has one or more affiliate links to the product the page is pretending to review
  • Site design will usually be poor - the scammers bang them out by the dozen
  • Check domain info: ownership and registration - if that info is hidden, avoid the site

Don't be fooled by the other domain names or URLs either. As an example, look at Scam Review Products. This even lists products and calls some of them scams - but still has affiliate links to buy! I don't know whether to cry or laugh at the arrogance. Nice little image though - "Honest Online" - here's my $4.95 then.

PS This "product" has metapmorphosed into "My Income Connection" and the lucky lady lives in London. Still gets those huge cheques weekly though.

Is Pinterest Legit?

Pinterest is a site that is growing rapidly. It allows you to post links to your sites on pages styled to lok like pinboards. The added value comes from other Pinterest users "repinning" your link - copying the details to their pinboards and so spreading the link.

So far, so good - the site itself is safe to use. It has two drawbacks though. The first is that the repinning drives a coach and horses through copyright agreements and there's some debate over it breaching Amazon rules, For now, be careful what you post and use your own images.

VirtaPay: Another Type Of Scam

This bunch isn't getting any kind of link, even nofollow. Their current offering - sign up and click thngs; you get $100 for signing and can earn good amounts daily. The bad news - you can't spend the money yet and when you can (someday, never) you'll spend it via them - anyone remember a song about being tied to the company store?

Last year they were using the name PayBox - a ripoff of a trademark belonging to a kosher company. Now they've picked a name that allows confusion with VirtuaPay - another kosher product. You might call the latter sharp marketing but in the context of their history it's just another indication. Keep your bargepole away from this lot.

They've had Adsense pulled from their sites and claimed they did it themselves, their Google Analytic id ties in to a bunch of sites from Nigeria ... They claim they'll let you cash in your "rewards" when they have 2.5 million members - on signing-up bonus alone that would be them giving out $250million. Yeah, right. They're toxic: avoid like the plague.

Commission Cash Generator


Commission Cash Generator has just been released. The owners say they're selling a limited number of licences so they can keep up a good standard of support. They're putting in quite a lot of effort marketing it though so, let's look at it. What does it do? It generates "SEO-optimised sites", Does it do much more? Not really. As to "SEO-optimised sites" -- you don't optimise a site, you optimise a page, but that's a common misconception.

It actually churns out formulaic sites with your keywords in h2 and h2 tags (and possibly even in red). Some ancillary services and they have some videos - I tried watching but the first was so boring I gave up.

Will I be buying it? Not even if it was $4.95

iPad: incentive to mobile fraud
iPad: incentive to mobile fraud

Mobile And Web/Mobile Fraud

One of my email accounts has just received a very professional looking invitation to win an iPhone or iPad. Go to their site (all shields up, of course) and a cute little Flash game lets me "win" an opportunity -- just give them my email and mobile number. Dig around for terms and it's a mobile subscription service -- I'd be signing for £8 per week (over £400 per year!) and that would just give me the chance to enter quizzes at £2 a pop.

I'm not an expert on mobile fraud so I'll just say: take the precautions advised above, don't sign anything and don't give your mobile number out unless you trust the recipient. And do not call strange numbers. Do you know what a premium rate mobile number looks like? (Actually, premium rate number patterns vary from country to country so stay safe - don't call any number you don't know and trust.)

Fake Warnings

Usually email

I've just been asked about an email doing the rounds - it's about a fake notice dropped through people's letterboxes - "you have a parcel - please phone xxxxxxxxxxx ". This particular email refers to a company that was closed down in 2005!

If you're in the UK and you get this sort of email or written notice you can check on PhonepayPlus. Also look at sites like MoneySaving Expert and Hoax Busters. Both are quick to set people's minds at ease and expose the scammers.

What you should never do unless you've checked is send the email on to every contact you have - you're just clogging up the ether with garbage and satisfying the saddoe who started it off.

Piggybacking Premium Rate Phone Lines

Preying on the poor

Bravo to UK regulators who have just taken action against companies which advertise premium rate lines misleadingly - tricking people into thinking they're looking at free lines, eg for health or housing advice. They're helped on the web by search engines which put their paid adverts above the real, free services.

Google has responded by saying it will stop the practice on SERPs.

As with mobile fraud: before calling a number, check that it is what you think it is. If you're finding the number on the web then you're ready placed to do a search for info on what is or isn't a free number.

Other Sites To Check Out

There are several sites that offer good reviews - often the best come from members rather than paid reviewers.

Check out Web Of Trust. They discuss many aspects of the web and websites. Do watch out for the dates on reviews - some are quite old and so can be unreliable, but most are fresh.

The Warrior Forum is a rougher, more opinionated site but there's a lot of good opinion and you can ask questions if you want. Their Special Offer forum however has a bad reputation - best avoid it unless you're experienced and even then take claims with a very large pinch of salt.

Are you trying to earn safely online? - Please share your thoughts on dodging fraud

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    • yayang0405 lm profile image

      yayang0405 lm 3 years ago

      Yes I am. Thanks for sharing this information.

    • fathomblueEG profile image

      fathomblueEG 3 years ago

      Yes I am trying to do things the free way so I don't get stuck paying for somebody's scam.

    • profile image

      dgpholdings 3 years ago

      Great lens. Good sound advice. Thanks

    • profile image

      PhotoBuff 3 years ago

      Yes, although I've fallen for some scams. Each one a little different, so it felt different when I signed up. I now have my own website and am creating my own products to sell. I'm not relying on others any more.

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 4 years ago from Liverpool, England

      @anonymous: Then contact me privately and give me more information - don't try to drop links in a guestbook!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I am just telling what I am doing legally and earning legitimately. I do not find my post is pushing people to sign up. There's no harm in sharing what is good and who knows if someone is looking for such opportunity. Its individual preference.

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 4 years ago from Liverpool, England

      @anonymous: I'm glad you enjoyed the page.

      I usually delete comments that push products or services - such posts are invariably spam and show that the item isn't capable of being sold through more respectable channels. I'll leave this as a warning ...

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for this informative lens. I earn online from Smart Media Technologies, it's a revenue sharing program for using internet which has both free and paid members options. Free members get points and lucky draw chances while paid members earn points & cash...for more info you may visit or

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 4 years ago from Liverpool, England

      @anonymous: Network marketing is just a new name for MLM - avoid like the plague!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes I am trying to earn safely online money, For that I am doing network marketing , it's a low investment business and its home based business , there is no age limit in this. You will earn money after adding people to your down-line.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Thanks for the heads up about IM report card. I will check them out. I can't believe VirtaPay - my goodness, two knock off names in two years.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 4 years ago from New Zealand

      This is fantastic information. I am generally super careful, but I have been scammed in person in Morocco. Wonderful information. I forwarded it to a friend of my sisters who recently asked my opinion (and recommended for me) something which looked quite like a scam to me.

    • profile image

      allvllen 4 years ago

      I was cheated time and money. Working without pay for a scam site ..... It is a lesson.I am currently involved introducing upcoming products, the topic is Internet Marketing. Who do you want to join this new course please go here for more details . thank you

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 4 years ago from Liverpool, England

      @allvllen: Thank you for visiting. I hope you won't mind if I use you in the future as an example of what not to do when trying to advertise a product that is a waste of money.

    • profile image

      othellos 4 years ago

      Excellent lens. I learned everything that I needed to uncloud a lot of misunderstandings that I had about scammers, easy money working at home etc. Thanks for sharing:)

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      I find that once I have a plagiarists removed my email box is loaded with spam gimmicks coming in attempting to get more information. The scammers drive me nuts.

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 4 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I tend to be on the cautious side and have not been victimized by any online scammers. But when I was young I did get scammed by a company that was painting house numbers on the curb for a low price. I fell for it. The numbers looked nice, but they washed away the first time it rained.

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 4 years ago from UK

      Have read this before but saw the link on one of your other lenses and came back for another read. Had no real experience of scams I am very wary of anybody offering something for nothing. Some very good advice and useful links, have bookmarked this time, LOL

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Lots of scams to watch out for.Thanx for all the great info here, very helpful.

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      One of the worst scams, on the internet or not, is multi-level marketing. This is a fundamentally flawed business model. Unless you cheat somebody else, you'll lose your shirt. If a business wants you to have a downline, run away screaming.

      I enjoyed your sense of humor. :)

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