Identifying Pyramids, Scams, Pickpockets and Ponzis

If you are trying to start an online business it can be very easy and tempting to fall into some of the money making scams that permeate the Internet on a daily basis. I hate to burst your bubble but a lot of these scams are very crafty at making it look like a legitimate online business when in reality only the person offering the opportunity is the one making money.

The truth to matter is that an online business takes the same effort to build as a brick and mortar business on the street and there is no quick fix or easy way around it. If you are going to build something worthwhile you have to be willing to put in the effort.

With that said, if you are suffering from severe job burnout sometimes you will do anything to relieve your misery so it is very easy to get sucked into some of the scams that are out there. To help you protect yourself from falling prey to a money making scam let’s identify what some of these scams are and how they work so you will resist the temptation and run the other way when you see them coming.

Pyramid Schemes

Although not all multilevel marketing programs are pyramid schemes but the fact still remains that the schemes are out there and can often be difficult to identify since they are so artfully put together.

A pyramid scheme often presents itself as a business opportunity that is dressed up to look like the opportunity of the century when in reality only a few people at the top are making all of the money. It pays the people well that get in on the opportunity at the ground level and then as the market gets saturated the people coming in at the bottom often lose their shirts.

Once the market gets saturated the company focuses on recruiting and requiring new recruits to purchase a specified volume of product each month to maintain their status with the company. What happens is the company profits from all of the recruits that are buying monthly product volume. The recruits fail to make any money because the market is saturated and they end up in the poor house which is just the opposite of what they set out to do in the first place.

If the company is high pressure during the opportunity meetings and the focus appears to be about recruiting others instead of the quality of the product, it is a good idea to take a second look before you jump in with both feet.

Business Opportunity Scams

Business opportunity scams are usually presented as a turn key business in a box opportunity complete with website, ecommerce services, and all of the other components that are necessary for running an online business. They present the opportunity so it appears to be a no brainer while there are often hundreds of strings attached behind the scenes to ensure that the company offering the opportunity makes a profit.

The opportunity is dressed up to look like a legitimate work from home job or business until they ask you to shell out money to get into the program. If it is a business in a box opportunity these often consist of cookie cutter websites that everyone else is using and then you pay hidden fees to access other ecommerce services provided by the company.

Some companies will even go as far as to take advantage of the people who are new to online business and do not know any better by asking them to sign a contract which locks them into using the ecommerce services for the company for a specified period of time. This can result in thousands of dollars to set up an online business when in reality many people start up an online business for as little as $150.

Online Pickpockets

With many banking institutions moving to the online environment, online pickpocketing has been increasing at alarming rates. If you are starting an online business it is necessary to take certain security precautions to keep your personal information safe as well as your customer’s personal information.

Online pickpocket criminals are sophisticated criminals that are well versed in computer programming. They create malicious files and insert them into links on Web pages, ActiveX controls, and on hijacking websites. If you inadvertently click on something it downloads a tiny file onto your PC that runs in the background of your computer and spies on all of your computing activity.

The malicious files can arrive in the form of a keylogger which keeps track of all of your keystrokes and other files that are designed to track your computing activity. The file is set up to communicate with a remote server where it sends all of your personal information back to the criminal for identity and monetary theft purposes.

Online Ponzi Schemes

Online ponzi schemes are known as cash gifting and anyway you look at it, it is a pyramid scheme and it is illegal. Ponzi schemes have been in the news lately and have recently become popular on the online video site YouTube. They are presented as cash gifting programs and prey upon people who are looking to make a quick buck online.

The program promises to help others make money by cash gifting by making a small investment to obtain the right to recruit others into the program. When you recruit others into the program you supposedly receive a money for each new recruit. When each new recruit sponsors others into the program they make money and so on and so on. The program is artfully presented as legitimate however it is highly illegal and the equivalent to a first class Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme.

When in doubt, do your due diligence. Call the business you have an interest in and check with your local authorities. Online business can be a very rewarding career but it also most definitely needs to be legitimate.

Respectfully Dedicated To Your Success!

Derek Bayer


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