Americans have unlimited access to the internet with today’s technology. This gives criminals new ways to reach victims with scams and fraud from anywhere in the world. On a daily basis, we are exposed to questionable offers and opportunities on the internet. Some scams are very easy to spot, while others can take years to uncover. It is true that not every offer you see online is a scam. It is safe, however, to treat every offer you find online as a scam until you can prove otherwise. Here are four simple measures to protect yourself from scams and to recognize viable opportunities online.
Treat Every Offer/Opportunity as an Investment
You may come across an ad for a product that will cure balding with one use, or an ad for a service that will email you exclusive stock tips. Maybe you find a job offer that will allow you to work from home, or as your own boss. The internet is full of golden opportunities, but it also has a numerous scams going around. Whenever you find an opportunity online, you need to view it as an investment. Be smart and protect your money. Not every online advertisement is looking for your money, but they will still take up your time. You can always make more money, but you can never get time back.
Fully Understand the Offer Before You Invest
Many of the successful online scams are done because the investor did not know about a certain clause or agreement. Read the fine print and do your research. If there is any part of the offer that you do not understand, make a simple attempt to understand it. Do not waste too much time reading up on the aspects that you do not understand. Scammers make sure that the victim cannot fully understand the offer. If something seems too good to be true, then go with your gut. When you get suspicious about an offer, it is usually for a good reason. Do not waste time on opportunities that are not 100% clear. Instead, look for opportunities that are 100% transparent.
Qualify the Party Making the Offer
Whether the opportunity is an entrepreneur looking for salespeople/recruiters, or an advertisement for a better PC security service, you need to know the party making the offer. Before you invest, research the company’s history, background, and reputation. A good place to start is the company website. If it is an individual making the offer then research them. Then, search for customer reviews. If you do not have a clear understanding of who the party is and how they do business, then you are better off not investing with them. Information on the company should be easy to find. Successful and ethical organizations do not have to seek out consumers on the internet. Customers go to them because they enjoy doing business with ethical producers. With social media it is important to remember that dealing with a suspicious organization can give you a bad image very quickly.
Now that you fully understand the offer and the party making the offer, it is time to look ahead. Identify the value that the opportunity will give you. Know what you are giving up getting that value. Calculate when you will receive the full value. If this process seems to hit a roadblock, remember that scams are meant to be confusing. Most fraudulent schemes take advantage of victims who do not think before they invest. If you find an offer to work from home, make sure you can handle the workload. Will you be able to handle it in six months? A year? Where will the opportunity take you in the future? Will the work be worth the time you put in? Finally, as with any investment you make, do not invest more than you can afford to lose. Whether you lose it today, or ten years from now.