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Beware of Scams Regarding Online Income Opportunities

Updated on October 7, 2009

Avoid Problems


Many advertised Internet related money-making systems prove to be ineffective, illegal, or both, so caution is recommended in joining them. Some of these offers may be systems of securing applicants' information for Identity Theft.

Be careful about entering email addresses and other personal information into systems that offer payment for Internet related activities. Any of this information may possibly be used to steal your identity. This theft can destroy your credit rating, drain your financial accounts, run up known bills, and be used for creating and distributing additional spam.

It is likely best to set up a separate, free, anonymous email account just for answering ads and emails concerning any online income opportunities. In this way, your other email account(s) are safe from spamand you are safe from identity theft.


Early on, some friends and I tried several online features that advertised extra income for any number of Internet related activities. While interesting and novel at first, they proved very tedious, time consuming, and ineffective.

Overall, it is safer and much more effective to join Hub Pages and benefit from Google AdSense, and eBay and Amazon affiliate programs. You can write Hubs on variety of topics and have a good time while earning a bit of money, participating in the community, and making new friends.


What I have found is that one never earns money in anything connected with spam. One of the most frustrating systems may be one in which one must clicks and checks boxes through several pages in order to qualify for a prize. On the last page, there may be no button to click in order to complete the process. Therefore, nothing is won. Some offers advertise 1/4 ¢ or 1/10th ¢ per ad, while some claim to pay up to a penny or ten cents. Overall, these systems seem totally ineffective, perhaps illegal, and may provide no income.

Such systems may retain email addresses entered, so that they may send other materials that overloads an inbox and bulk mail box. In the process, one may or may not receive some free offers and avoid spending money on several pages of additional offers; but, it it not worth the effort required. Importantly, one needs to refrain from providing a credit card number, address, or phone number that can lead to identity theft.

Certain systems may ask specially for an email address, with the promise of sending free information. However, you receive nothing and they have your email address some purpose that may not be legitimate. The email address might later be included in falsified headers in spam email, making you appear as the culprit. A spammer's IP address can often be traced, but you might still have your email account or Internet accessed closed down because of spam complaints. This is further reason to avoid entering your email addresses into many websites that offer information or income.


As it turns out, in numerous programs that offer payment related to email, readers are not paid for reading or clicking. Instead, readers might or might not earn loyalty points from answering ads. Some of these might be legitimate, but far more seem to be scams. For instance, an email might offer a booklet or ebook for price, then readers are to copy it and sell it themselves in turn. This makes a very questionable and ineffective scheme.

Many of these schemes are similar to those once found in the backs of magazines before the Internet became popular and have been transferred to cyberspace. Readers once were able to find these ads in the back of comic books, weight lifting magazines, weekly newspapers, and romance publications. Currently, they have found a home on the Internet and readers must beware of them in order to avoid ineffective and even illegal activity. In a related matter, illegal chain letters were once sent via snail mail; but modern chain-emails serve the same purpose. All of these schemes are best avoided in favor of legal and more effective means of making a living.

Opinions In Your Hometown

There are a few market research companies that pay for completing surveys online, but they are truly few. Some of these companies pay only token "points" that one accumulates and enter into drawings for prizes, but few people win any actual cash. Marketing research companies that pay cash are usually located locally, right in your own hometown or nearby and offer opinion polls and paid focus groups to individuals legally.

In focus groups, participants can be paid for their opinions about a political candidate or a new product or service, even upcoming legislation, along with a full dinner during some group sessions. In fact, politically-related focus groups often offer a free dinner.

Look in your Yellow Pages for local marketing companies and call them to inquire about whether they operate focus groups and are hiring participants. That is the most effective way to find such opportunities. From time to time, these companies run classified ads in local newspapers as. Check them out as well as you can before responding to such ads. You may need to register with these companies online or call in and register over the phone, so use caution. You might be able to qualify for a few focus groups each year, but likely not enough to be able to earn a consistent living.

In my area, there was one recent focus group that paid very well for a 90-minute session. It was advertised by a local newspaper announcement and was an unusual one-time event. Individuals earned money in a short time by participating in a focus group regarding the business topics of marketing and computer-based network solutions. Individuals are sometimes able to register with local marketing companies and be kept in mind for similar focus groups.

A neighbor once earned $75.00 and a free dinner at a high-end restaurant for offering opinions about a presidential candidate. He found this event through a marketing company with which he was already familiar. Election years may see an increase in such events. Along with a few other such situations, there are some real opportunities to be found for focus group work, but not enough to help you earn a consistent living.

The best way to find these groups is to check local phone directories for marketing companies and to read newspaper classifieds. Any such announcements in the classifieds may, of course, be phony. Larger, display type announcements that cost larger amounts of money are likely more more frequently legitimate, but not always, and need to be checked out thoroughly, as with the the Better Business Bureau. Tiny ads in small print are likely not legitimate or are quite labor intensive work at low pay, in my experience.

I think it's best to participate in freelance writing and occasional focus groups, but to skip nearly all of the Internet related income schemes.


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    • chinemeremz profile image

      chinemeremz 6 years ago

      Scams scams and more scams. But for wonderful people like you, these dogs will have sent many hapless hubbers to the cleaners. Thanks and more power to your elbow

    • profile image

      Joel 7 years ago

      Really great great article!

    • profile image

      charmaine 8 years ago

      Thank you so much for this information.. i just found this after i signed in to HITS4pay now i have to be ready for incoming mails...

      Thank you again!

    • profile image

      Private Label Rights 9 years ago

      Excellent post! I really enjoyed reading it.

      I will be back for more!

      Sincerely,Edwin Syahrial H.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Thanks steve.

    • profile image

      steve 9 years ago


      yes it does, although i have been so busy i havent gone there for a month but its better than some of those survey sites out there.


    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Well, that sounds more promising, steve.

    • profile image

      steve 9 years ago


      I have tried some of those paid thingys. Like surveys and some are points based, some are like a 40 minute survey and earn $5.

      For me i feel its not worth the time. I did come across a site where you could write a short review of a website they show and earn like $4 and it only took a few minutes.


    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Here is a link I just found for LiveOps, badchica:

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Hey badchica, I am look into just that topic for several single parents I know.

      One of them is doing something call LiveOps, where she answers requests for infomration over the INternet and her landline phone and she is beginning to make money. Actually, I thin her first paycheck was for $300 for two weeks and it is climbing. I'll try to get the info to you here ASAP.

    • badchica profile image

      badchica 9 years ago from JHB

      WOW!!!201 hubs? You are my hero!!lol!Im a newbie at this.Thanks for this page! It will help me stax on my journey to internet millions.kidding! Patty, what do you recommend for making a living at home on the internet? See im looking to spend more time with my baby. Ive put in my notice and I am panicking at the prospect of not earning! I need my own money but I need to raise my baby too. What do you suggest?

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 9 years ago from New Zealand

      This is an excellent review - thank you!

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile image

      Ashok Rajagopalan 9 years ago from Chennai

      Yes, Patty, and I love the hubbing community.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Thanks for the comment and your link Molly!

    • profile image

      Molly 9 years ago

      Great article!

      You are SO right with those "paid ads" and "paid e-mail" websites. I totally remember the days of sitting in front of a computer for hours on end, hoping I'd make $5...ridiculous, isn't it?

      The internet is fantastic in that it has evolved into a sort of marketplace - as a consumer, you can look and poke around for things that are of interest to you, and try your hand at pulling in a bit of extra dough. The opportunities are really endless.

      Thanks for the tips! :)

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Thanks for the comments.

      Hub Pages really are a great find, Kenny, aren't they?

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile image

      Ashok Rajagopalan 9 years ago from Chennai

      Thank you, I too have tried and given up some of the routes mentioned above. Glad I found hub pages!

    • TheEntertainer profile image

      TheEntertainer 9 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi Patty, great article. I have been around the block myself on many of those opps. What I have found is similar to what you have; there are definitely legit ones and there are definitely scams...all it takes is some homework, and due diligence.

      Mostly, my experience has been it's not worth the time invested in the little ones with small payout...they usually require all kinds of work, clicks, and precious t ime for a small 2 cents a click...the legitamate focus groups are by far the higest paying and biggest bang for your time. You can do a search on the internet for local ones and just make sure they have a nice big local office, and are in multiple cities, and don't charge you!

      I've decided to focus on the top tier programs that pay big like in direct sales that have really nice commisions and payout structure without have to do any selling.

      It's all about systems...thanks for the article!