I don’t know a single person who would not want to earn money online. With ‘success stories’ of online entrepreneurs proliferating, it is no wonder that many people think that anyone can make a living online. While this is true – anyone can indeed make money through the Internet – it is also true that work is needed to become successful at it. You can’t simply create a web site and expect cash to come flowing your way.
More so, there is also a proliferation of online business ideas and deals that may actually be scams. With anything that becomes popular, unscrupulous individuals are sure to try to take advantage of the naive and trusting. While trusting is a good thing in some cases, being scammed out of your hard earned money is another story. How do you keep yourself protected from the numerous online business scams that are out there? Read on to find out.
Keep your feet on the ground.
If something is too good to be true, it probably is. That saying is something that I take with a grain of salt as it is too pessimistic for my taste. However, being the realist that I am, I also see the value in the saying. Indeed, if you encounter a web site promising you astronomical returns for the least amount of risk and the minimum amount of time, you will do well to be careful and not immediately jump at the opportunity.
Here’s another cliche for you – there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Although the Internet provides a whole lot of possibilities in terms of making a living, it does not mean that no work or effort is necessary. If you find yourself facing unbelievable promises, dig deeper and go back to reality – it probably is not true.
If you have the slightest doubt, do not ignore it. Instead, go ahead and take a closer look at the people or entity behind the web business. Check with the Better Business Bureau and other similar institutions that can help verify the business.
Look for proof.
Anyone can make promises. You shouldn’t let yourself be swayed by well-written copy in a web site. You shouldn’t let yourself be convinced by mere words that anyone can come up with (well, a talented copywriter perhaps and not just anyone).
What you should do instead is look for hard proof that the online business is for real and that it delivers consistently on its promises. Where can you look for proof?
- Better Business Bureau. I already mentioned this in the previous section. Businesses that are verified by the BBB are safe. If a business is blacklisted by the BBB, run away – no ifs or buts. If a business is not listed by the BBB, dig deeper if you’re really interested.
- People with first hand experience. Now this can be tricky. Some people are convinced by the testimonials posted in the web site of the business. While some of these may be true, it is very easy to come up with testimonials. You can also search blogs and forums for people’s experiences. Again, you ought to be careful as some might be sponsored posts. If you can find people you know (or people someone you know knows), then that would be better. Oh, and don’t settle for one happy customer. Find as many as you can until you are totally convinced.
- Documentation. Proof is not only about people tell you that they’ve had a good experience with an online business opportunity. Again, words are easy. What you want is documentation that will support the legitimacy of an opportunity. Receipts, invoices, and the like – that’s what you want to see.
Don’t pay anything!
I’m sure you’ve encountered some work or business opportunities online wherein you are required to pay before you get the chance to earn. While you do need to exert effort and work at making money, it doesn’t mean that you have to pay someone to work for them. It should be the other way around! You ought to get paid to work for someone.
Now, what if it’s an investment deal? Of course, that means you need to fork out some money in order to make more. Before you do so, make sure the company is absolutely legit and that you look at the fine print before committing to anything. Even better, consult a professional. Talk to your lawyer and have him go over the contract or agreement, and do not hesitate to let the involved party know that you are consulting with your lawyer. That might help you sniff out a scam.
Avoid hard sells.
Is the agent you’re dealing with pressuring you immensely? If it’s starting to look like a hard sell, I suggest you just say no and leave it alone. It’s one thing to be enthusiastic about something you’re selling, but it’s another to continue to badger someone to sign up for an online business. Trust your instincts. If you feel that too much pressure is being put upon you, remember that it is okay to say no.
The Internet is such a wonderful thing, and it brings a lot of potential for a better life for everyone. However, we cannot ignore the ‘bad’ side, and we can only stay vigilant in order to keep ourselves safe from scams.