Have you heard the term “smart passive income” being tossed around lately? If you’ve never heard of smart passive income, it’s basically you starting a project (a blog, an online store, etc.) that makes you money even when you’re not working.
Sounds cool, right? Just hammer out a few blog posts a month and presto! You’ve got smart passive income rolling in. You’re making money while you sleep, shower, and do whatever the heck it is you’d rather be doing that doesn’t feel like work.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. A smart passive income takes real work, and that’s a post for another day. Today we’re talking about how to avoid scams on the Internet.
It’s no mystery that the Internet is overflowing with scams, but why do people fall for them? Isn’t it blatantly obvious that this one million dollar a week with no experience type of system isn’t going to work?
Are you really going to fork out hundreds or thousands of dollars to a shady looking website with little background info and no free trial memberships available? Sadly, the answer for many people is “Yes.”
If you’re interested in what makes people buy into Internet scams and how to avoid them, keep reading! :p
How to Identify Scams on the Internet
First let’s dive into the “why.” You’d think a little bit of common sense would keep people from spending their hard earned cash on fake money making systems, but that’s not really the case.
People tend to buy into Internet scams because of false promises that satisfy a deep seeded psychological need that’s not being met. Often times, Internet scams target poor people who desperately want to change their financial situations but don’t know how.
This brings us to Identifier #1:
Scams often promise that you will make exorbitant amounts of money in a short period of time with little effort.
In contrast, a real system will tell you that profits vary depending on how you use the training; and that creating a smart passive income takes time; and that you must learn skills and make an effort to succeed.
Aside from fake promises, what does a scam site often look like? If you ever see a blank page with nothing but a video and a link that invites you to pay, that’s your signal to run for the hills.
Identifier #2: Lengthy sales pitch videos with sports cars and mansions.
A typical scam site consists of a long sales pitch video that shows off an insanely wealthy lifestyle and a link to a page where you put in your credit card information.
In contrast, a real system gives you an honest description of what you’re about to do, who the owners of the website are, and what benefits the program can provide you.
You should be able to see right away how long a legit program has been around. If it’s been around for more than a couple years, you are likely looking at a real money making system instead of a scam.
Identifier #3: The program has been around for less than a year.
Due to laws that protect consumers, a blatant scam is likely to get shut down before it reaches a year old.
Does that mean that all new programs cannot be trusted? No, it just means that you should approach new systems with a healthy sense of skepticism. What does the Better Business Bureau have to say about the company?
What do other previous users have to say in their product reviews? If you see pages and pages of negative reviews, you’re probably looking at a scam.
Identifier #4: Mostly negative reviews
When users get scammed, they love to write negative reviews to vent their frustrations and warn others.
You know what program has pages and pages of positive reviews? Wealthy Affiliate. I love Wealthy Affiliate because you can get a Starter membership for free. With your free membership, you can get started and see that Wealthy Affiliate is not a scam.
That reminds me, a great way to tell that a program is a scam is if you have to pay for it to get in.
Identifier #5: No free memberships; you must pay to even see what the program is about.
A scam won’t let you try the program and see if you like it before you spend money.
They want your money up front because they know that once you get inside, you will see that the program cannot deliver on its promises. No sports cars, lavish houses, or island vacations… just a load of nonsense that doesn’t help you make money.
Now you have a decent list of warning signs to look out for when you’re searching for a program that will help you set up your smart passive income. But what can you personally do to protect yourself from getting scammed?
How to Avoid Scams on the Internet
Step 1) This is a tough one for many people. Take a good, hard look at WHY you’re looking to make money online. If any of your answers come from a place of desperation, forget about them.
There is no magic solution to your problems. Hate your job? Need thousands of dollars by next week? Feel like a loser because you’re almost 30 and still haven’t amassed any wealth? Too bad.
I wish I could introduce you to a cure-all money making system that would fix your problems in a relatively short period of time. Unfortunately, such a system doesn’t exist. However, there is hope for you! Keep reading.
Step 2) Go from desperation to motivation. I’ll give you some examples here:
“I need money as soon as possible” changes to=> “I know if I start today, I could have a smart passive income a year from now.”
“I want to put in my two weeks’ notice because I hate my job so much” changes to=> “I can be happier at my job knowing I’ll get to quit when my smart passive income pays off.”
“I want to get rich doing almost nothing” changes to=> “I want to get rich working hard at something I enjoy.”
How does this protect you from getting scammed? It eliminates those desperate desires and turns them into goals.
When you take a more realistic approach to making money online and nix those ideas of making large sums of money in a very short period of time, you are less likely to fall for a get rich quick scam!
Step 3) Read product reviews online from previous users. Don’t let your preconceived notions about a program get in the way of the information in front of you.
If you read 20 reviews in a row that say “Product X is a scam” or “Product X is a waste of money” then don’t get all excited when you see one positive review.
It’s probably fake! Scam companies sometimes purposely post fake positive reviews of their own systems to counterbalance the plethora of real negative reviews out there.
Don’t be fooled! Even if a program has 50% positive reviews and 50% negative reviews, you should exercise caution.
I like to read reviews that are less than 2 years old. Yes, some products have been around for 10 years. If you can find a 10 year old positive review, then that’s a good sign, but if no one has blogged about this product in 10 years, you may want to reconsider buying.
Has the product more or less useful over time? Is the company under new management? Was it a fad that everybody followed a couple years ago, and now its hay day has come and gone? You can find all this out and more by doing the following…
Step 4) Leave a comment for the author. That’s right! You’re going to read a product review online, come up with a couple relevant questions, and *gasp* post a comment for the author to answer.
If the author doesn’t reply in a couple days, then whatever training system they’re promoting hasn’t taught them how to keep up with their potential customers. Tisk-tisk!
If the author does reply but can’t answer your questions to your satisfaction, then find more product reviews and post comments. If no one can give you a straight answer about what the program and why you should join, then it’s probably a waste of money.
Step 5) Join as a free member. If you’ve made it this far, then you’ve decided that the program is not a scam and you want to invest TIME. Whether or not you invest your MONEY depends on how much you like being a member.
What if a program doesn’t have a free trial period? Then screw them. If they’re not confident enough in their product to let you try it out for free, then they’re either not very business savvy, or it’s a crappy product.
You as the consumer have every right to try it out before you make a purchase. That’s why I love Wealthy Affiliate. As a Starter member, we want you to be absolutely sure this is the right program for you before you pay anything.
And we don’t miss out on sales this way. The Wealthy Affiliate Premium membership converts extremely well, so we don’t worry about it if a couple free members decide not to upgrade to Premium.
What about a money back guarantee? Don’t trust it. I’ve tried products that had a 30 day money back guarantee, or a 60 day money back guarantee, and when I asked for my money back, they wouldn’t give it to me.
Or, instead of talking to a human, the refunds are all done via email. I’d get the email saying it was fine for me to have my money back, and the money just never arrived. And then when I’d try to talk to a human, they’d dodge my questions.
Don’t settle for a money back guarantee because you never know if that’s true or not. Go for the free trial membership and only when you’re happy with the program, spend some money on it. And that, my friends, is how you avoid getting scammed online.
How to Earn Money on the Internet
I said earlier that if you have big problems you’re trying to solve by making money online, then there is still hope for you. That’s right- you can be a busy mother (like me!) and make money from home. You can be disabled like some of my friends at WA and still support yourself.
Heck, you could just be an average person who is really sick of being average and you want to distinguish yourself by running a successful website based on one of your hobbies or passions. I have great news for you!
You really can make money online, and people are doing it all the time. I won’t go over every single possibility imaginable because you’d probably lose interest in this article before we got done.
But here are some of my favorites:
- Affiliate marketing- getting paid to sell other people’s products. Example: you love scuba diving, so you write product reviews for scuba diving gear. Using your affiliate link, visitors to your website purchase items you recommend on Amazon.com and you get affiliate commission.
- Advertising Space- an advertiser pays you a monthly fee to display an advertisement on your blog. Example: you run a blog about beer. A company that makes custom beer glasses and mugs pays you to display their company’s banner ad at the top of your website.
- Pay Per Click- every time someone clicks on a link to an advertisement within your website, the advertiser pays you. Payments range from a few cents per click to $20 per click. Imagine if you had 1500 visitors a day clicking an ad that earns you $2 per click…
- Selling Your Own Products- pretty self explanatory. Let’s say that I love chocolate and bacon, so I make chocolate covered bacon balls and sell them online. I’d use targeted advertising to find people on Facebook who are looking to buy chocolate covered bacon and sell my products to them.
Again, this is not an exhaustive list. It’s just enough to give you an idea of how many real opportunities are out there. Where should you get started if you’re interested in making money online? I’d say join Wealthy Affiliate.
That’s how I got my foot in the door to making money online, and I can guarantee you it’s not a scam. If you’ve made it this far into my post, then you have an amazing attention span. Let’s wrap up!
Your Main Takeaways
Smart passive income means making money when you’re not working. (I do this with my blog!)
People get scammed on the Internet all the time because they’re trying to make money fast doing easy tasks. Don’t let that person be you!
Never approach your money making goals from a place of desperation. It’s going to take time It’s not going to be easy. You will not find immediate solutions to your financial woes.
Don’t trust sites with lengthy sales videos followed by a link to a payment page. Scam sites like to advertise with expensive cars, mansions, and hot women Don’t believe it!
If it doesn’t have a free trial, then forget about it! You as the consumer have the right to try the system before you decide to upgrade to a paid membership.
Read product reviews online and ask the author of the review for his/her input on the product. If you can’t get a response from anyone, then it might be a scam.
Scam sites tend to get shut down before they get too old. Therefore, the older systems are a safer bet. Be on the lookout for red flags like poor ratings from the BBB.
You can make money legitimate money online through affiliate marketing, advertising space, pay per click, and selling your own products. If you’re curious about other ways to make money online, please get a free Wealthy Affiliate membership!
I’d Love to Hear From You
So, readers, what do you think? Was this information helpful? If so, what was your favorite part, and if not, what can I do better? Drop your comments below or send an email to: KalieTheBlogger@KalieSays.com. And, as always, thank you for reading!