16. Possible Scams When Making Money Online
The idea of making money online is very appealing. People dream to be able to quit their day-to-day job and make money from the comfort of their home. Those unemployed are lured by the pompous figures those working online make. However, the reality is that there are so many people who will try to exploit this idea and lure you into scams where you will not earn anything, and might even end up paying yourself.
Scams to avoid
Here you will find a list of some of the most commonly used scams, along with the brief description of how the scammers pull this off.
Writer and research scams
This scam is particularly targeting writers and assistants to do the research. The scammers are not interested in your money, so you will not pay anything. Instead, their goal is for you to get the work done for them, after which you will not get paid. In most cases, these scams start with asking a sample of your work.
Then they either hire you, or you are asked to complete the second round of tasks where you have to do more work for free. Supposedly, they want to assess your work. They commonly require you to write on specific topics or do research related to a particular problem. In the end, they do not pay you, and all your work will be in vain. This scam is widely used on Craigslist.
Money scam looks so appealing at first because you are only required to process payments and then transfer them to another account. Along the way, you keep the percentage of every transfer. After these start well, and you successfully transfer a couple of payments, those who got scammed received a payment (usually way higher than they used to receive) and transferred it without suspecting a thing. After some time, they realized that the deposit would not clear, so the bank canceled the transaction even though the person had already sent the payment.
Other money scams include money laundering, hacking your bank account when you send the details to be paid for some made up job, etc.
Multi-level marketing (MML) is commonly used as a scam in affiliate marketing. It works like this. People hired by the company are supposed to recruit new people to sell and promote the product. The profit is thus shared among the affiliates and this creates a sort of a pyramid. However, some of the largest scale scams turned out to be MLM pyramids where the people were hired to sell no product at all.
The problem for you occurs if you are hired by the recruiter and asked to make a deposit in order to participate. You are promised to earn a lot of money, but you need to pay sort of an “investment” to get training, access to the database, etc. In the end, you will not get paid, and you will lose your “investment”.
Contest and sweepstakes
These scams again require a fee to participate and offer all sorts of things from earning prizes to getting a job for the company behind the scam.
Watch out for these signals
If you choose an online career and you are interested in making money online, you must be aware of those scams, and you must learn how to recognize a scam. Not only will you waste your time and money, but these scams can also be really harmful to you, so always do thorough research and watch out for any signals that could tell you that something is wrong.
Sounds too good to be true
When the deal or job opportunity sounds too good to be true, it often is. You should not get tricked by those “get rich quick” promises. Even though making online can turn into quite a profitable career, each of these jobs you have seen require hard work, it requires dedication, commitment, and above all, it needs time.
The first warning sign should be a promise of a huge salary, usually for little or no work. Just think about it. Why would anyone give you that money? What is in it for them? What kind of value do you have to offer to them? If things sound fishy, avoid the deal.
Vague job description
If you come across a job post that is pretty vague and offers no concrete details, the chances are that this might be a fake job. Once you get in touch for such employment, you can end up being subjected to numerous scams, as you will probably provide your contact details. Besides these problems, this can lead you to life-threatening danger, especially when you have a scheduled interview and you have no idea what you can come across.
When you look up jobs online, always make sure you get enough details about what this job requires and what your tasks will be. Do not get persuaded by sweet-talking and fake promises of what you “could” achieve.
No contact information
Another sign that should put you off from applying to a job post is the lack of contact details. If the company is legitimate and they do real business, they usually provide information such as phone number, address, the name of the contact person, etc.
If you do not see any of these data, you should either ask for those before applying or you should skip applying altogether.
Research shows nothing
If you see these signs with a vague description and no contact details, your next step should be researching the person or company online. Nowadays, you can google anything, and if nothing shows up, this might be some new scam with new players involved.
People who have been fouled and engaged in a scam usually share this experience somewhere online. In this case, the company you are interviewing for might already have a bad reputation that you still have not heard of. This is why it is safest to check the company’s background. When you apply through platforms for finding jobs (such as Upwork), you will see the client’s reputation so you will be able to assess the situation more easily.
Being contacted about a job offer without applying
One day you might open up your email to find a job offer. Seduced by the lucrative offer, you might not even think about the fact that you have not actually submitted any application. These offers can be legit and come from companies that have researched your reputation online and have heard about you through recommendations.
However, these offers are rare, and you should immediately be suspicious. Start with the research and then explore why this company would contact you? Also, read the email you have received carefully, as you might notice suspicious elements here as well.
You are required to provide personal/confidential information
Be very careful when applying for a job where you are required to provide personal or confidential information such as your social security number, bank account, etc. In some cases, employees might need those details, especially if you will be handling sensitive data or money. But in most cases, your personal details can be used in some scams, allowing scammers to commit frauds or even steal your identity.
Avoid deals based on product profit
Even though this could be a legitimate way to earn money, and it might also be more profitable than a one-off payment. However, you should accept such deals only when they come from a person you know and trust. In that case, also, you might want to create a contract that will define the terms and conditions for the product profit payment.
Otherwise, this could only be a scam where you are required to do free work. Once you complete the work, you will see no record of any profit and the scammers will just stop contacting you.
Scams are a well-known problem, and people are trying to deal with them. Email services are using filters and advanced screening process to filter emails precisely for this reason. Websites that offer job posts do the same, and they also hire people to monitor the activities and prevent (or quickly stop) possible scams.
But the best way to stay protected is to look out for yourself. You must not be naive and believe everything you read. Even if you are a beginner and you are not sure if the offer is real or not, always do thorough research. Extra caution is suggested when providing personal information.
You need to accept that this job comes with the risks, so being educated and being able to check if something is legitimate is the best way to stay protected.