Avoiding Scams Online: 7 Tried-and-True Methods to Avoid Being Scammed
Making money online is everyone’s dream. Many people do it part-time, trying to make a little extra money here and there to pay some extra bills. Others see it as a full-time venture, a personal quest that they become obsessed with until they see it come to its fruition. If you are one of these people, the first thing you have to know is how to protect yourself from scam artists.
Contrary to popular belief, most online jobs and ventures are not scams. But because of the level of threat of the few that are, the very idea of getting scammed or robbed of one’s money or good name and reputation online are enough to send some people packing and heading back to the “real world” job line. Don’t do it! If it were easy, everyone would be here, but if you’ve chosen to make money online, you just have to be smarter than the scammers to avoid being “taken.” Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way:
- Never give money in advance to partners, outsourced workers, or anyone else until the job is done. While there are some exceptions to this in the online world among seasoned professionals who do long-term work for businesses, where a level of trust is maintained and understood, as a general rule, you should only pay for work after it is completed. So, when outsourcing online or dealing with partners, remember to only pay once the work is completed and according to your specifications.
- Guard your personal and business accounts, passwords, and login information as though they were the keys to Fort Knox. Keep your passwords and logins in a secret place where only you and perhaps one other person knows where it is, in case you are ever unable to get to the information.
- Read the “fine print” when dealing with any business, freelancer, or vendor. Make sure you understand what you are signing to do and that your role is clearly defined. You can end up on the short end of the deal if you do not know what you are getting into before you start.
- When it comes to marketing, get the best. Marketing is perhaps the most important element of any business today online. Whether or not your business makes it may depend primarily on whether the marketing is done correctly. You need aggressive marketing partners who are not afraid to get your presence out there on all of the important social media platforms and other places you need to be to build your brand. Remember building an online business is about branding. So get a marketing expert who will make you look good online, but who will do exactly what they say they are going to do.
- Have your “real world” lawyer look over contracts and documents. Remember, even though you work online, you can still have attorneys in the real world look over any contracts to make sure they are on the up and up. In fact, you should have this done, especially on any contracts you are unsure about, where it is compounded with “legalese,” or where you just don’t understand what you are signing.
- Research your venture online with Rip Off Report or other agencies that are dedicated to exposing fraud and scams. You must always be aware of what others are saying about a business or venture, and weigh this against what you know about them. People sometimes lie on these sites, but in general, you don’t go to a site like Rip Off Report without good reason. Proceed with caution.
- Choose safe money transfer methods. What is totally safe these days? Nothing. But Paypal is among the top contenders for this title, due to their eagle-like sensitivity to any malfeasance among transactions that come and go through their portal. Other methods that are considered safe are bank transfers done through a secure site. If you are working for someone else, choose these methods primarily. Never wire money through Western Union or other ways as this is a method often used by criminals who can hide their identity through wire transfer. It is also just like sending cash and is not considered safe by most online entrepreneurs.
These would be 7 of my best tips on avoiding scams. So keep these things in mind when you are building your online empire and remember, just like Rome, it wasn’t built in a day, but it could crumble in a day if you do not do your due vigilance and be aware in the online world.