The net has come a long way since the dotcom crash. Now, things are looking up, what with web 2.0 and whatnot. Heck, things are better than they’ve ever been, going by the amount of money flowing in and giant , almost weekly, acquisitions. With all this money, naturally, internet crime is also doing pretty good. Millions of people are scammed every year. The sad fact, though, is that avoiding getting scammed is, mostly, pretty easy. Don’t be just another statistic!
- Try to deal locally as much as possible. Get people’s names, make calls, and meet them in person. This is the best and surest way of avoiding online scams.
- Never pay for an opportunity to work for someone. Would you ever do that in real life? Basically, avoid anything that smells like BS and be smart.
- Do not give out your financial information and thoroughly check out an organization before you pay for anything.
- Always pay for everything online using your credit/debit card – at least then you can trace it and take it up with your bank if anything goes wrong. Avoid escrow agreements (unless from trusted organisations), money orders, certified checks, shipments, etc.
- Turn on your BS sensors (these should be in-built, ideally). Do not fall for make-money-fast, unlimited wealth and easy work schemes. Something like, ‘Make $1000 for doing nothing’ should just scream out ‘BS! BS!’ Are these kind of deals really even possible anywhere? When sniffing out BS, be aware of vagueness (why don’t they give you their address or other contact details?) or incredible offers. Additionally, do some research to find out if the type of work you will be doing has a ready market. Is that market as fantastic as the would-be scammers say it is?
- Do not come across as desperate, scammers will be able to smell you a mile away. Be professional, confident and self-assured. Know what you are doing.
- Patience pays: It takes time to find a good thing. For example, if you’re looking to make money online remember that there are a lot of people in your situation, who are your direct competitors therefore making huge amounts of money will be quite difficult and will take lots of time. Also, scammers usually pressurize you into making hasty decisions so be aware of time-limited offers.
- NEVER ever reply to spam. Who told them that you’re interested? When did you apply for that contest you just won? How did the ‘deposed’ Nigerian Foreign Minister get your email address? How did that person who ‘needs’ your help know of you and why doesn’t he/she approach someone, anyone in real life instead of you, via email? Spammers are just scammers taking shots in the dark – don’t be their bull’s-eye.
Some ‘jargon‘: BS = BullShit