by Calvin Miller
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, and easy, ways to protect yourself from scams, and how to recognize legitimate online opportunities.
Treat Every Offer Or 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 will find a job offer that will allow you to work from home, or to work as your own boss. The internet is full of golden opportunities, but it also has a numerous amount of 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 that time back.
Fully Understand The Offer Before You Invest
Many of the online scams are successful, because the investor did not know about a certain clause or agreement. Read the fine print, and do your own research. If there is any part of the offer that you do not understand, ask questions, and get answers, until you do understand it. Do not waste too much time reading up on every aspect of an offer 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 completely transparent.
Qualify The Person Or Company Who Is Making The Offer
Whether the opportunity is an entrepreneur looking for salespeople or recruiters, or an advertisement for a better PC security service, you need to know about the person who is 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, research them. Then, search for previous customer reviews about the person, and/or company.
If you do not have a clear understanding of who the person is, and how they do business, then you are better off not investing with them. Information about 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 an ethical business. With the speed of social media, it is important to remember that dealing with a questionable person or organization can make you look bad very quickly.
Take Time To Look Ahead
Now that you fully understand the offer, and the person (or company) making the offer, it is time to look ahead. Identify the value that the opportunity will give you. Know exactly what you are going to give up to get that value. Calculate exactly, or approximately, when you will receive the full value, and/or profit. 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 a legitimate offer to work from home, make sure you can handle the workload. Will you still be able to handle it in six months? In a year?
Where will the opportunity take you in the future? Will the work be worth the time that you put into it? Finally, as with any investment you make, do not invest more than you can afford to lose. Whether you lose your money today, or if it is ten years from now, the same investment formula applies.
I am a senior at UWF majoring in Supply Chain Logistics Management. My goal is to work hard, protect myself, and utilize all of my potential. I strive to help others do the same. You can email me here: [email protected]