To put it bluntly, a lot of people are out of work right now. The NC Division of Employment Security claims that unemployment rates are down in 72 out of 100 counties. As impressive as that sounds, it really doesn’t mean a whole lot to me overall. We still have a whopping 451,806 out of work just in North Carolina and 9,951 in my county, Buncombe. No wonder people can hardly find jobs! Or, excuse me, jobs that aren’t just awful. I actually saw a job posting today named “Deboning Supervisor”. The job description included “must have 2-5 years of debone supervisor experience.” What…? What is that? It seems to have something to do with poultry. Other than that, I make myself stop imagining what the job entails because I come very close to throwing up.
So, with all the joblessness going around, people are going to be a little desperate. They have families to support, student loans to pay, bills, groceries, what have you. And, frankly, minimum wage just won’t cut it. So they get themselves online and start Googling it up. Eventually, if you look long enough, you’ll stumble your way on to a site that claims you can make money from home, online, without lifting a finger while you watch Jersey Shore reruns all day. “What’s this,” you say, “work at home and make $700 a day?” Maybe they claim all you have to do is place links in blogs and other websites. Or stuff envelopes. Or even, this is my favorite, receive mysterious packages from a company that can’t send the stuff overseas to military families due to some sort of international law. They send you the “stuff” and you take it to UPS and mail it at your cost. Apparently this will make you tons of money…and probably get you a comfy cell in the state penitentiary. But hey! You’ll have a new roommate and everything is provided free by taxpayers! No more money woes!
On the side panel of the website you’ll see a number of people with very professional looking photos (found on any stock photo site) claiming that they were able to work at home and spend time with their families because they followed this program. They could buy groceries, see their kids, and take a dream vacation to the Caribbean thanks to Profit Masters Academy/Home Profit Masters/Give Us All Your Money Inc. There’s usually some news report taken totally out of context pasted there as well, because anything that looks and sounds like it came from CNN must be TRUE!
So you look around and it never really says that you have to pay anything, but it doesn’t sound free either. You try to leave the page and up comes “WAIT! Before you leave! There are only a limited number of spots left! For a limited time only we will offer you this program for only all of your money, your left arm, and the blood of your great-great-great grandfather! Click OK to stay on this page and take advantage of this offer. To decline click CANCEL below.”
Here’s the funny part. There is NO cancel button. There is always, always, always just an OK button. Apparently they think that if you’re stupid enough, you’ll give up and click OK. I mean because clearly it was meant for you to buy this program if there isn’t a cancel button…
Some pages are slightly more relentless than others at this point and the only way to get away from them is to actually close the entire browser. Best to avoid these places altogether.
If you actually were to purchase the program, you would be putting your credit and personal information at great risk. These pages are hardly confidential. The entire thing is full of BS so you can’t trust they won’t give you a virus or steal your credit card number. Plus, purchasing the initial software isn’t enough. Whatever they are claiming to teach you will eventually lead to you “needing” more information or better resources or more software or this or that. They tend to charge anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 for all these “services” and all the time you aren’t making any money, you’re just funneling your own cash into the bank account of some greasy, chain wearing man with gold teeth and a cane.
And no matter how much you think that you won’t fall for some crap like this, you can’t really know what you’ll do until your back is against the wall and your cats are pissed because you can’t afford their food. I personally know a number of people, including my own mother, who have fallen for this type of scam. In fact, my mom (love you mom!) has fallen for this kind of thing more than once. It doesn’t mean that she or anyone who goes for this is stupid. It just means that someone out there is pretty darn good at getting your money. They play on your trusting nature and the fact that you’re hard up for cash to get what they want.
You just have to train yourself to look for the warning signs:
- Sounds too good to be true or really vague
- Lots of underlined, italicized sentences
- Stock photos
- It won’t let you leave the page
- The price seems to keep changing
- It has some stupid name like Profit Masters Academy
- They “teach” you what to do
When in doubt, leave the page and Google it. If it’s a fake you’ll find out pretty quickly because some person who was ripped off, like you were about to be, is sure to have posted a warning about it. You might have to scroll down, though. A lot of these fraud companies will pay the search engine to constantly put their own fake sites on top of the search. Look out for http://www.nameoftheproductreview.com or http://www.nameoftheproductisnotscam.com or the like. Those are planted sites and will not give you any real information.
Hopefully you won’t ever fall for something like this. But at least if you do you there’s a better chance that you won’t make the mistake again.