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How to Spot an Online Scam

This is a topic we must address, because – as you know – there are so many scams online, you don’t even know where to look or what to click without the fear of losing your hard-earned cash. We’ve all been there at some point in our lives. How to spot an online scam is something that most of us have learned the hard way, so I thought it would be a good idea to share some experiences and information to help you avoid falling for those online thieves.

I guess that’s how you ended up on my page, right? Perhaps you were looking for a way to recognize a scam online or to avoid it, or perhaps even a way to make money online with an honest platform.

Honest is hard to find online these days, isn’t it? Anyone can just type false promises of high earnings while hiding their name and personal info, which brings us to our first point of making sure a site or person is legit.

how to spot an online scam

Steps to Spot an Online Scam

1. No Transparency

When you are on a website, there should be an “About me” or “About us” section, which gives you information about the website and/or business owner. As you can see on my website here, I have an “About me” page where you can find my photo and my name and where I also share my personal story with you and the reason why I started write-topia.com.

I also have a privacy policy in which I share my email address, making it possible for you to contact me.

hiding

If an online platform or a website owner hides who he or she is, then there is something fishy going on. Why would he/she have a reason not to divulge his identity to you? After all, if he/she is asking for your money to sign up for some program he is selling the least that person can do is tell you who he or she is, right?

2. Claims of high earnings for absolute beginners

While I am not going to dispute the possibility of making a lot of money online – we all know it is possible – I do not think it is right that online platforms promise you the stars and the moon and they tell you that it is easy and you only need to work 30 minutes a day for this, or 5 minutes, or whatever else they come up with.

If that were true, wouldn’t everyone be quitting their 9 to 5 jobs to do this?

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Making money online is great! That’s why I am here too. I am an author and it is my dream to live of my books’ earnings. I also have three websites and my goal is to generate an income with those three websites. There you go, yes, you’re here for info, and now I am telling you that I want to make money with my websites. Uh oh, but don’t run please 😉

I am not asking you for any cash, am I? And I won’t. So, don’t click away from my site 😉 If you came here to find info on how to spot an online scam, then please stick around. I am writing this article to help you avoid the mistakes I have made and mistakes I have read about. It is important to share, because honestly, I am tired of all the online scams, and I am pretty sure that you are too, right?

There are honest ways to make money online, and if you’d like to more about that, then please scroll down to the end of this article. I will tell you more about how I earn money online.

3. Alert: no https!

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If the site URL is a HTTP and not a https, please be very careful. Not having a https means that the site is not secure. When making a money transaction online, you should always make sure that you are on a site of which the address begins with https. A website should have an SSL certificate which is the secure protocol on the top of HTTP to deliver the data secured.

In other words, a Secure Sockets Layer certificate ( SSL certificate) is a small data file. It is installed on a Web server that allows a secure connection between the server and the web browser.

4. Alert: the company doesn’t own a domain

website

I mentioned this in a previous article, when I shared my story of my experience with a scam publisher. He had a website, but what I did not notice back then was that it was a free website. He did not own any .com, .org or any other type of domain.

There is nothing wrong with having a free website. Many people do. As a business, however, owning your own domain is a requirement and it makes your company look much more professional. If a business is screaming high earnings online and does not even have its own domain, run the other way.

5. Many Complaints

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Before trying out an online platform, it is recommended that you read reviews about that company, so that you can make up your mind if it is really worth it. If a company has nothing but negative reviews, ignored requests for a return of money, and even lawsuits, you have your answer, don’t you? Research is always recommended.

Any Other Thoughts?

There are many scams online, and not only regarding making money. There are plenty of dating scams, military scams, charity fraud, social media fraud, counterfeit postal money orders, online gift card fraud, online ticket fraud, email fraud, and so on. Scary, isn’t it?

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I have not been a victim of a making money online fraud, since I was always turned off by upsells, and I never wanted to invest my money in companies I hardly knew.

Nevertheless, I had an experience with a scam publisher and also with a romantic scammer who pretended to be someone from my past, using photos of the person I used to know. Fortunately, I discovered the truth, but only after a very painful process that nearly crushed me.

This is why I am writing this article. We do have to be so careful and I don’t want anyone to go through what I’ve been through. Always, always, always be careful online. It’s a jungle out there, but there are still many good websites. We just have to know how to keep the bad apples out, and I hope that these tips will help with that.

An Honest Online Platform

Last year in March I was tired of all the online money scams, and I did not even feel like searching online anymore. I began to think that finding a decent and honest platform was not possible anymore. I had heard of affiliate marketing and I knew that it worked, but I wanted to learn about it.

I came across a review of Wealthy Affiliate. I read it and realized that perhaps I had finally found something decent. I clicked the link and saw that I could join for free; I did not even have to add my credit card information. No harm done, right?

I signed up and then discovered free lessons. At first, I was skeptic. I had tried other things before and they had not worked out. “Free” did not always mean free. What if another upsell would pop up or perhaps the free videos would not provide any useful information. ..?

happySurprise surprise, though. I learned a lot in my first free video tutorial, I also did in my second one, and third, and fourth, and by the end of the week I had gained so much knowledge that I was simply blown away. Even the technical website aspects which I had been apprehensive of were explained so clearly that it turned out to be quite easy.

This platform actually provided me real help without trying to sell me anything, and that was something I really appreciated. Sure, I was offered the Premium membership, and after only a week, I signed up as a Premium member, but the wonderful thing about Wealthy Affiliate is that you can remain a free member for as long as you like and build your websites.

The reason I signed up as a Premium member was that I simply knew I had finally found the real thing, a platform that would really teach me all the ropes and where I could find other online entrepreneurs who are always willing to help and share their expertise.

I was also impressed by the accessibility of Kyle and Carson who are the creators of the Wealthy Affiliate platform. Kyle personally greeted me when I signed up, and I have reached out to him and Carson several times during this last year. Both have always responded kindly and offered their support.

Remember my first point in this article, transparency? That certainly applies to Wealthy Affiliate. The owners are visible, they have their own profile, social media links, info about them, and photos.

So, if you are – like me – sick of the online thieves, scams, and upsells, and you are looking for a decent platform, Wealthy Affiliate is one I definitely recommend. It is not a get-rich-quick scheme, though. It teaches you how to build your online business. Besides, most get-rich-quick schemes are scams – we just talked about that, didn’t we? 😉

Wealthy Affiliate shows you how to build your online business and get it off the ground. Instead of making false promises of immediate riches, Kyle and Carson are very honest about it and tell you that it takes time and effort. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Any business needs time and effort before it can be successful.

 

 

 

24 thoughts on “How to Spot an Online Scam

  1. When I was searching for an online job, I had so many scams. Two of them even sent me checks so I would put in on my account. I knew it was a scam because they never did a background check before sending me money. Who would do that? I also noticed that their checks were fake. Your article is great, Wealthy Affiliate helped me a lot, all the people there are nice and always willing to help.

  2. Really sensible advice and good to know especially in the current enviroment. There were a few basics I had not thought of. Thanks very much for sharing certainly helps in confidence building online,

  3. Great information about how to spot a scam online.We all need to be aware of that. I loved your article and especially the recommendation of Wealthy Affiliate at the end. Like so many other people out there, I am also grateful to be part of the amazing community of Wealthy Affiliate.

    All the very best to you
    Rani

    1. Hi Rani!

      Thank you! Yes, we need to be aware, there are scammers everywhere online.
      It is so nice to meet another Wealthy Affiliate member here 🙂 It is indeed an amazing and helpful community.
      All the best to you too!

  4. Your post caught my eye because I was scammed once. And after this I was very aware. I agree with you on the https and domain issue. Transparency is always a good thing. A lot of companies online have a lot of upsells and hidden costs as well. I think your  article is great. I did like you . I found Wealthy Affiliate. I was very skeptic from the start, but now I am also a premium member and I have not regretted it one day. WA changed my life around.

    1. Hi Hilde!

      That is so great that you also found Wealthy Affiliatte! It is sad how we learn the hard way about scammers, and I wish it did not have to be so. I hope that my article will help people avoid those horrible scams.

  5. You provided great tips here on how to spot an Online Scam. It is increasing these days, especially with the current event right now where a lot of people are vulnerable.

    It is very important to be smart and be careful on dealing with any other online activities particularly on make money online stuff. Because more and more people are looking for ways to make money and tend to overlook is your Tip #3 – No HTTP, a tiny detail but dangerous. And also people forget to research deeper to know more about a certain platform, which is your tip #5.

    I hope that this post would reach a lot for it could help newbies out there from being scammed.

    1. Hi Mina,

      Thank you! Yes, we need to be so careful, especially now. There are many covid scams making their rounds on the internet right now, it’s scary … people trying to profit from such a terrible situation. It’s important to be on the alert.

  6. hey Christine,
    I must say that you did a really great job putting up such an awesome review on how to spot an online scam I have booked this post of yours on my blog already and I look forward to review it whenever I come across a new platform I wish to sign up with…
    thanks for all the tips given here I look forward to utilise them

  7. Helooo Dear, I really want to say a big thanks to you for sharing this insightful and education piece non how to spot an online scam. This is really going to be helpful to so many out there. Basically when ever I come accross any online platform thiese are basic things I do check on to make sure I am on the right track. This will really help reduce the rate of people falling victim to scammers. 

  8. hello Christine,

    so thoughtful of you to share such a great in-depth and informative post on how to spot an online scam I really can’t remember reading such a helpful post dedicated to such an intriguing topic that will be of great benefit to everyone..

    keep up the good work and I look up to sharing this awesome and informative tips you’ve given on how to identify online scam…

  9. Thank you for this information, more people need to read it. Scams are all over us and we need to learn to see them. I almost got scammed couple times, I never would want another person feel the way I did.

  10. Hi Christine,
    I really enjoyed reading this article. I have run across many scams in my time too. I appreciate this because it will help others avoid scammers.

    I also decided I was going to start a business online without having a clue how to do the tech. Luckily, I found WA and highly recommend it to anyone else interested in getting started.

    Planning on bookmarking this post. Well done.

    Warm regards,
    Sonia

    1. Hi Sonia,

      Great to meet a fellow WA member here! I’m glad you liked my article. It is true, there are so many scammers online, we have to pay attention all the time …
      Thank you for your comment!

  11. Amazing review. That’s why I love Wealthy Affiliate as its so transparent with No hidden fees. We all gotta be careful about what is sometimes sold in a shiny tin.

    All the best.

    Habib

  12. Hi Christine,

    Thanks for sharing this informative article to filter out online scammy programs in the first place, so that we won’t lose our hard-earned money. Due to the impact of COVID-19, I believe the scammy programs are just widespread during this difficult time.

    Besides the ways you listed in this article, I personally prefer to read lots of online reviews to see what others say about the programs I have interests. I would try my best to collect as much information as possible to examine whether it’s legit or not. If I read five reviews in a roll, what I got is all negative, I would definitely avoid this program. This works every time for me.

    Cheers,
    Matt

    1. Hi Matt!

      Yes, research is always strongly recommended. It is best to read several reviews about a company before making a decision.
      Thank you for your comment!

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