Skill For Newbie Internet Marketers: Recognize A Scam

How to recognize a scam:

My goal in writing this article is to help you recognize a scam so that you won’t ever have to face being the victim of one.

If you have already experienced this, you’ll learn tips for you to be able to recognize a scam in the future.

What Is Scam?

Wikipedia defines a scam:  “A confidence trick or confidence game (also known as a bunko, con, flim flam, gaffle, grift, hustle, scheme, swindle or bamboozle) is an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence.”  I have seen it mostly practiced by dishonest marketers in profitable niches such as finance, health and make money online.

It is highly possible that you’ve come across a scam or even become the victim of one.  Every day, millions of spam emails are being sent all over the world promoting these unscrupulous scams.

recognize a scam

Some Examples of General Scams

Prizes: You get an email stating that you’ve won a great prize like cash, an expensive vacation or a car – and to claim it, you will have to pay some kind of a fee.  This is where they steal your money.

recognize a scamBank Notice: A bank contacts you claiming that there has been fraudulent activity in your bank account, and they will investigate it.  Once you provide your account details, you can expect to lose your money.  I have received Bank of America scam emails that appeared to be authentic.

Phishing: An email arrives that appears as if it comes from the original source like your bank, school, or a service you are a member of.  It includes a false link which, once clicked, will lead you to a fake website which looks EXACTLY like the original, and asks for your personal and account information.  This will most likely result in identity theft and stolen credit card/charges.

I have experienced this with PayPal and eBay, and at first, I didn’t recognize a scam.  I spent some time learning how to filter these scams with my email program’s junk/spam rules.  Once set up, it works automatically.

Spotting Make Money Online Scams

Recognize a scam by these characteristics:

  • You are not able to contact them.
  • Claims that you can make a specific amount of money in a specific time.
  • Get rich promise in a ridiculous, impossible time frame.
  • Claims that you don’t need to work in order to make money.
  • Vague descriptions with little or no details.
  • Require payment to get started. Never pay to get a job or start working.

Their purpose is to deceive people by giving fake/wrong information and stealing their identity, money or both.  So, you may ask…

How Do I Stay Away From Scams?

It is difficult to get experience about scams without falling victim of one.  However, you don’t have to be a victim first before being able to recognize a scam. The following will help you know when you see a scam.

  • If it sounds too good to be true, then it most likely IS too good to be true!
  • Does it require that you spend any money? No real job or work opportunity requires a payment beforehand.  There may be a few exceptions to this one, depending on the field of employment.
  • Having trouble getting in touch with them?  No connection  =  scam artist.
  • Do you uncover only bad reviews about it?  Don’t be the next victim.

Click here to see another cool post called Eric Holmlund of Eric’s Tips Warns of Scam.

What Scams Aren’t

How do I spot the real opportunities online?

There are legitimate offers and all of them require hard work and dedication.  For the most part, the information required to start is freely available on the internet.  A professionally written course or guide about making money online cannot be considered a scam.  There are honest marketers out there who have wonderful programs and products available to help you make money online.  The key is to have a balance – be careful and cautious but try not to become cynical.

Take Care,
Carol Amato

Personal Coach and Mentor
Click here to never miss a post - connect with Carol Amato
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  • Sandy

    The ability to recognize a scam is very useful. Great article.

    • Carol Amato

      Thanks, Sandy.

      I know everyone can relate to it.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      Carol Amato

      • sandra martinez

        Hey Carol thank you for sending me these great tips I’ve been working with PMI to start working online but haven’t really gotten anywhere yet.I’m having a hard time finding my niche and i worry about being scamed by some of the people I’ve spoke with so thanks again.

        • Carol Amato

          Hi Sandra,

          Well, as you work with your coach, make sure you don’t let them move forward until you understand and take action on the current lesson; that should avoid confusion and help you get more accomplished. I know I used to be timid when I didn’t understand something…but if you’re paying money for coaching, it is only right to take it little by little and to see results from your hard work.

          Yeah, it is a balancing act trying to discern who to trust.

          Thanks for stopping by. – Carol

  • Larry

    Thanks for this guide to recognize a scam. Very helpful reminders.

    • Carol Amato


      I have been scammed, and I hope to help others prevent from being scammed by giving tips to be able to recognize a scam.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      Carol Amato

  • Yancy

    This article is extremely helpful on how to recognize a scam. Thanks for the wonderful info.

    • Carol Amato

      You’re welcome, Yancy.

      Glad to help prevent trouble.
      Thanks for stopping by,
      Carol Amato

  • Vany Isberto

    I think I’ve learned to spot some of them Carol. Thanks for the warning.

  • bigtone

    Thank you,your always very seems to me that
    Most of these guys online (gurus)always offer free money
    Making tips but then when you try their step by step
    Instructions it end up that in order to make money you will need
    To purchase their software! Or they seem to leave out critical
    Componets that have to be implamented in order to work
    Its getting really bad online these days.its nice of you to offer your support
    I know i can trust your advice. Keep it up and again. Thank you

    • Carol Amato

      There does need to be a balance, however, in helping educate folks and offering paid programs and services. A marketer does need to sell to be able to continue what they do. I offer free help by way of good, consistent content on my blog. I put a lot of time into it and many have messaged me saying they have learned a lot. There are also programs/services for sale, a nice mix.

      If you want to learn from a marketer who knows how to be successful in this industry, choose one that is selling, not one that is just giving free stuff away. Balance is key.

      Thanks for stopping by. – Carol

  • Ray

    Seems like most of these offers are ploys to get you to buy five other things before you can download what you bought. Good points this AM Carol. Thanks.

    • Carol

      Hello Ray,

      Yeah, a lot of marketers go overboard with upsells.

      However, having said that, an upsell is a natural part of the sales process, and if done well, (not excessively)
      is a great tool for adding to revenue.

      For example, some people may have asked the vendor for extra features, etc….which he may provide to those interested.

      What I am dead set AGAINST, is having to buy something EXTRA to even get the original product to work completely – to me, that is just wrong.

      The original sale of product should be “complete’ in an of itself, and the upsell an optional thing.

      Buy, yes, you are correct, it is overdone, and we need to make sure we go slowly to only check out with what we want to pay for.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Have a great weekend.

      • Aimee Velez

        Yes, your right about that. Recently I bought a product that was suppose to teach me to make money on-line. It cost. 49.99. After I gave them all my billing information and they charged my card, I find out that I needed to pay an extra 99.00 to recieve all the material. I called for a refund which I got, thank God! It is very discouraging. If they would have been up front with the cost I might have bought it.

        • Carol Amato


          I am sorry you went through that. I have been burned too in the past. Unscrupulous marketers lurking around every World Wide Web corner it seems. It’s hard to know who to trust. I am glad you got your refund. :)

          Thanks for stopping by. – Carol

  • Tommy

    I was given a great tip about “Phishing” by a customer service rep from Ebay where I am a powerseller. Besides the obvious one about not providing any personal information. Their comment was, if you should ever receive an email from someone claiming trouble with your account. NEVER click the link in the Email, instead close the Email and go to the site DIRECTLY in your usual manner. Then log-in and see if the problem you supposedly have is really there. Chances are you don’t.
    PS Thanks again for all your informative Email tips.

    • Carol Amato

      Hello Tommy,

      That is excellent advice. Thanks for sharing that. You’re welcome for the tips; I enjoy helping people.

      – Carol

  • Trevor

    Hi Carol,

    A very nice article, wish I had read it when I was getting started, but I think it can be like telling a child not to touch something that is hot because they will get burnt, usually they will touch it, get burnt and learn a lesson that stays with them for life. Scammers play on human nature, with lines like “With just seven clicks of your mouse you can be banking over $1000 per day with just 15mins work a week”, sounds fantastic while you think people are telling you the TRUTH. The really silly bit is the scam merchants are normally really good at promoting and sales pages, and don’t realize that if they did things properly they would earn themselves much more in the long-term anyway. It is reassuring to know that there are genuine people like yourself, who are prepared to help the uninitiated over the hurdles of internet marketing and point them in the right direction for success.

    Kind regards


    • Carol Amato

      Hello Trevor,

      I really appreciate your kind words; that means a lot. Yes there are a lot of unscrupulous marketers out there, which unfortunately, give all of us a bad wrap.

      Ya know, I used to shy away from anything that said “with two clicks of your mouse”…..however, when it comes to SOFTWARE, that can be true, as I’ve bought awesome tools where this is the case. So, I don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, if you know what I mean.

      Thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts, and hope you have a fantastic rest of the week!
      – Carol