by: Peter V. Ruble
For college students and other people who feel burned out trying to balance paying the bills and living at the same time, ads like these can prove to be irresistible. Many of them make perfect sense and easily hook you based on good concepts. Unfortunately, many times the product or service does not match the brilliance of a great idea for making money from home or through the Internet. As I’ve learned myself, the further you go down this road, the more excited you get. You basically get hooked, and if you aren’t careful, you will end up working hard and falling further into debt than you can imagine. Much like gambling, the lure of easy money and independence can make just about anyone fall prey to work at home scams that feed off your dreams to get to your wallet so they can go on to the next victim.
Hopefully, you will never fall victim to these scam artists. However, the fact of the matter is that these scammers would not be wasting their time if they were not making any money. And as long as people continue to get mixed up in this business, these scammers are going to stick around to trick more and more people.
The best way to keep a scammer’s claws away from your credit card is to do thorough research on each opportunity that you are considering. This means doing much more than simply reading a bit about it online. In my personal experience, I have been taken by companies who were savvy enough to pollute the Internet with staged testimonials, guarantees, questionable references to big name endorsements, and even appearances in the Better Business Bureau.
A colleague of mine who invested in vending machine placement services even went so far as to physically go to the manufacturing plant to tour the warehouse as well as contact the Better Business Bureau of that state. What he received, in return, were twenty malfunctioning candy machines with a list of local businesses who had apparently agreed to receive them. Not only did none of these businesses know what he was talking about, many of them were hostile when he showed up to place them.
What you want to do is check message boards such as the ASK section of Yahoo.com. Another simple method of weeding out the scams from the genuine opportunities is to go to a search engine and simply type in the company name followed by the word “scam”. If you do this, and you are barraged by an endless list of complaints, you my friend have found a nugget of gold in a sea of mud.
In terms of the Better Business Bureau, it is best to contact them directly to ask about any complaints, and also find out how long a company has been listed. The Better Business Bureau operates state by state. They will be able to tell you if they have any complaints on file. If they do, you will want to avoid the opportunity at all costs. But if it appears that a company is doing business the right way, you can continue your own research.
Being in the Business Bureau is not necessarily that hard to accomplish. Many scammers can use their money and connections to set up a front to initially qualify for the Better Business Bureau just long enough for them to collect their cash from unsuspecting victims, close shop, create a new identity and start again.
Before you decide to do anything, attempt to get in touch with the company that you are interested in. Can you get a human being on the phone? Do they have an actually physical address? How long does it take them to respond to your e-mails, if at all? If you cannot even talk to the company before you start, there is not chance that they will be around when you really need them. I once made quite a bit of money selling vacation vouchers on auction sites. The marketing plan was sound, and the money saving vouchers was a hit. Only problem was, I could never get in touch with their customer service department to handle my customer inquiries and complaints once I realized that the promises that existed in writing on the vouchers were misleading at best. This proved to be such a problem that it took me over a year to recover from the negative publicity on my auction site.
Of course, there are legitimate home based businesses out there. With the Internet and all the low cost, web producing tools available, there seems to be a renaissance in entrepreneurship. Basically, just find a product or service you can market online, and do your research. Sell on EBay if you don’t want to build your own website. You can have a website their and all search engine marketing is already done by EBay. The Small Business Association has an office in downtown Tacoma and contains invaluable information on their website http://www.sba.com. Since small business is the backbone of our country economically, sources such as these are eager to help you create a plan with realistic expectations.
However, like anything else worthwhile, you have to do your homework and work hard at it. The problem is that too many people make you think you can practically go online and make money just clicking on a mouse. You want to steer clear of any business that asks to you to pay for their “Top Secret” e-book that will teach you how to make an automated income.”
Think about it, if you are in dire need of cash, can you imagine any other situation in which you would not only work for free, but pay for the privilege to work. There are no magic formals or secrets worth paying for. All of the information in these e-books can be found for free through your own research if you have common internet skills.
If you don’t want to work hard and just make a few easy extra bucks without donating your blood or volunteering to be a guinea pig, it is possible to make some good extra money filling out online surveys or through mystery shopping. There are real opportunities out there which require no fee to get started. Not only that, several of them will even give you a $5 bonus just for signing up. If a company such as this is legitimate, they would be making lots of money through the success of its members. Companies that require that $49.97 start up fee only make money through the fee and only want to teach you how to get other people to do the same. The products are all useless lists and general information that anyone with a functioning mind could figure out on their own, or get for free by doing their own research.
In 12 years of trying to make a living on the Internet, the following are the best companies I have ever encountered for making a few extra bucks filling out surveys, playing games and mystery shopping. They probably won’t pay the rent, but if you’re interested in making an extra $400 or $500 a month or eating out at nice restaurants and going to movies for free, you may want to check these out:
Mystery Shopping Providers Association: ." target=new>http://www.mysteryshop.org/shoppers/">.
This site contains all the information you will ever need on starting up as a mystery shopper. It is also a portal for the best sites to go to for mystery shopping jobs online, and they don’t require that you invest a penny.
InboxDollars.com. (you can sign up for free and get $5 just for signing up. You can make a few hundred dollars in one day, theoretically, if you are willing to use a credit card to sign up for free or paid trials. Just make sure you have the patience to fill out the long surveys and keep detailed records so you can remember to cancel your free trials before you get charged. Also, you can fill out surveys to make a dollar or two which are completely free. I’ve made about $400 with this site.
http://www..sendearnings.com.(almost identical to InboxDollars.com)
http://www.treasuretrooper.com. (a lot of free surveys and cool games).
http://www.tiktikcash.com. By far the best of the survey sites. The free surveys are tremendous. You can make a dollar or two in one minute. This site has the shortest, most painless surveys. I made over thirty bucks in less than after signing up.