Before you send money to a company for a product or service, ask yourself some key questions. If you don’t, you could easily be disappointed and scammed.
Rather than finding out too late, be sure to review a few basics before responding to any solicitation or advertisement. Avoid offers that do any of the following.
Contain the word ‘millions’
No reputable person would ever start hinting that you are going to make millions of dollars. Why? Because that automatically makes the claim absurd.
If you knew one sure way to earn millions of dollars, what would you do?
- Earn millions of dollars.
- Go on TV or the Internet and try to sell this information to other people.
People who say their idea can make millions of dollars are either idiots for not doing it themselves or liars. And it’s not a good idea to send money to one or the other.
Promise “anyone” can do it
Here is a copy-paste of an ad, typical of many:
“Can you point and click? Enter a web address? Follow simple step-by-step instructions? Live in the United States or Canada? Then you too have what it takes!”
Stop for a moment and think how ridiculous that promise is. Are we supposed to believe that this idea is so simple that a 5 year old can earn hundreds of dollars in their free time?
Again, the person peddling this promise is either a liar or an idiot.
Contain the word “secret”
When it comes to making money, there aren’t too many secrets. But if the offer uses the word “secret”, you’ll probably be expected to dump your cash without any concrete idea of what you’re buying.
If someone came to your door today and offered to sell you a plain brown box for $34.95 with the sole promise that you’d like what’s inside, would you buy it? That’s exactly what you’re doing when you respond to an ad containing the word “secret.”
Come with testimonials
Completely ignore testimonials. Just pretend they’re not there. Do not read them, look at them, or pay any attention to them in any way.
Instead, evaluate the idea. Testimonials can easily be completely made up. Use your brain – not someone else’s delusions – to evaluate an offer.
Offer unverified “facts”
As a journalist, I constantly come across “facts” and “studies” from sources that have an obvious ax to grind. What do I do with stuff like that? If I cannot personally verify the information, I do not include it in my story.
In other words, if it’s not verifiable, it didn’t happen. Period. And if it is verifiable, the people with the ax to grind should make it easy to verify. If they can’t or won’t, wouldn’t that mean they’re probably lying? Of course it is.
Do not include contact details
If a company does not offer a phone number, email address, and physical address, it could be located in Nigeria, as far as you know.
At a minimum, such a lack of information suggests that the company doesn’t want you to know where they are, which isn’t very reassuring if you’re sending them money. When dealing with a company that doesn’t provide a physical address, email them and ask for it. If the company doesn’t have an email — or does, but doesn’t respond to your request — ask yourself why.
If it Is answer, check the address. If you can’t, ask yourself why.
For more tips on avoiding scams, check out “10 Golden Rules to Avoid Getting Scammed”.
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