Scams and Cons

Everyone runs into this once in a while. You're busy surfing the web, watching late night television or reading a magazine and you come across the perfect scheme for making money. It all sounds so wonderful. Just follow the instructions (exactly of course), and you will make thousands of dollars. Of course, one of the first things that you have to do is buy a book, a web site, a tape or some other package.


Even a cynical old man like me has fallen for a few of these scams. I've signed up for a dozen multi-level marketing plans, and not one has paid back a single dime to date. These things are all over the web and they sound so wonderful, so great, that it's almost impossible to keep from signing up without a major effort. Just pay your $20 or $40 or whatever, and you'll get back thousands. Of course, you never do ...

And the web makes it even more interesting. You get your own "professional" web site which looks great and is, guess what, an exact replica of every other site of that plan. It all sounds so easy - just advertise the site and the hundreds of millions of people who surf the internet will all come by to see what you've got to offer and send you money.

You want a 900 number? These always make money, right? Well, there are hundreds of people who will rent one to you. Again, just put out the word on a web site and you'll be rich, rich, rich. Who can resist a good 900 number, after all?

If you watch late night television you'll even see some young looking, very animated guy offer you his concepts on making money. He'll even include an internet site and it will only cost you a few dollars, plus a perfectly reasonable $20 for each change that you make! Wow hold me back. The money will start rolling in!

Then there's the one that's the most fun to read - the $6 chain letter. This is a wonderful piece of junk written by a very sick individual which details how with just a six dollar investment, plus postage, you can make zillions and zillions of dollars.

One of the newest gimmicks is the "pay-to-do something" programs. Wow, has anything ever produced more spam in the entire history of the internet? I know people make money from these programs (I've made a few dollars myself) but they seem so, well, silly. And unless you can get hundreds of people signed up for them very quickly, they just are not worth the trouble. And the viewbars - they get in the way, slow down the system and make things difficult.

Okay, here's another tip for you. Take this advice from an old pro, someone who's heard them all, fallen for a few, and learned the hard way.

Don't bother. These programs are all a waste of time and money. Yes, you quite possibly could make cash from attending endless MLM meetings, but do you really want to subject yourself to that? And you certainly can make extra dollars from the "pay-to-do what we want you do to" programs, but do you really need them recording everything you do over the internet?

And if you do bother, before you spend a dime check with the Better Business Bureau and search the web and newsgroups for that program and see what others have to say. You may even want to check with the District Attorney's office, the FTC or the Post Office Fraud site. It's your money and I presume you worked hard for it - don't give it away to some con artist.

There are an endless number of ways to make money from the web and the internet. You can put up a nice web site quickly and sell products. You can auction your old used comic books. You can join hundreds of affiliate programs and get a percentage of sales. You can write an e-book and sell it. You can even become a consultant and tell other people what to do and what not to do.

These get rich quick schemes are just rainbows. They all promise a pot of gold at the other end, but all too often there is a deep, hidden pit with spikes at the bottom. It's probably best to avoid them all together.

Written by