Advice on Internet Scams
Get the Specific Facts!
I know I already did a brief section on Internet scams when I posted my first topic on starting an Internet business, but it seems the subject is worthy of deeper consideration, so here goes.
There is no such thing as get rich quick without work. Period, end of story, it will never happen. While you can hear stories of people "making it" almost overnight, the ten to twenty years of work they put into their chosen field tends to be seriously overlooked. Rock stars had to learn to play their instrument, comedians had to learn showmanship, and we have to learn the Internet.
Any "deal" that promises you easy money without work is a scam by definition. Anytime you try to sell anything, you have to actually work at it. You have to do market research, you have to write sales pitches that actually work, you have to learn to provide a good value for people's money, and you have to learn to provide the information people are searching on for free. When working on the Internet, you must learn how to do keyword research and at least the basics of search engine optimization so you don't write stupid copy. You don't have to learn all the HTML misery anymore, most of it is irrelevant now and the rest is against search engine policy, but you do need to learn to stay ON TOPIC for your keywords. Learning to do all of that and putting it into practice takes time.
Most "work at home" deals are also scams of one kind or another. The idea is that you work at home for somebody else, when you turn in your work they pay you for the amount of work you did. They'll pay you substandard wages, if they pay you at all. In addition, this practice is against most tax laws because they're trying to pay you as if you were an independent contractor when you're only working for them. This leaves you paying double taxes, at least in the US. However, many of these scams aren't based in a country you can sue in, so guess who's left holding the bag.
Anything that promises to teach you "secrets" is trying to sell you something you could learn on your own for free by taking the time to read. Don't fall for it. While there are good classes out there offered through the Internet on various subjects, such as herbalism, copywriting, and so forth, usually you don't need them to start out. Once you gain a bit of experience in your chosen field you'll be in a much better position to judge the worth of any given course of study.
Never, ever believe that you've been chosen to be a financial facilitator or that somebody needs your help releasing an inheritance. These are called attempted identity theft or outright fraud.
Never accept or send through Western Union, period, ever. Don't send through PayPal if it's for a large amount of money, use Escrow.com instead. Don't use any escrow service EXCEPT Escrow.com, there are a lot of scammers out there pretending to be escrow services. If somebody says they don't trust Escrow.com and want to use their own, run. They're trying to scam you and the escrow service they suggest is probably owned by a relative. You can check out Escrow.com for yourself, they're certified through the State of California, provide both a phone number and a physical address, and will happily direct you to the FBI's information on fraudulent transaction services. If the FBI has a warning up about financial transactions in a particular country, don't deal with anybody from that country.
If the service in question is not financial, the company may not publish their phone number and address online. I'm a work-from-home copywriter, and I don't leave my number and address out where it can be found. However, if I have a client who uses my contact form and wants the info, I'm happy to give it at that point. Don't trust anybody who can't give you a callback number or a physical office address.
Don't take anybody's word on ANYTHING for granted, including mine. Learn to check things out yourself. Any reputable business should be able to provide you with a phone number and an address, at least on request. You can check the address in question through their local information service or government office. Go through your Internet life with a critical eye. Don't go giving your personal information out to everybody. It's safe to say you can trust companies like Google, PayPal, Ebay and so on, but keep good security measures on your computer. A good hacker can put a viral or Trojan program on your computer that records and transmits the addresses, phone numbers, tax information and passwords you key in.
And remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.