What Is An Online Scam And How Can You Spot One?

If you’re looking for ways to make money online, you’ll come across thousands of programs all claiming they can help you do this.

Unfortunately there’s lots of people out there that instead of actually trying to help you, want to scam you out of you hard-earned money by selling some useless software or program.

Therefore in order to become successful online, you’ll want to know what is an online scam and more importantly how to spot one so you don’t go wasting money on it.

So my hope is after reading this post, you’ll be able to spot a scam a mile away before it can lure you in with its false promises and pipe dream sales page.

What Is An Online Scam?

The basic definition of an online scam is used to describe a fraudulent online business scheme, that aims to take money from unsuspecting people.

And as I said with more and people becoming connected to the internet each year, scams are also on the rise as well. So its important to do proper research beforehand, that way you can distinguish the legitimate programs from the fake ones.

But how do you know what to look for?

Well luckily there are several common signs that most online scams share, which can help you distinguish the good ones from the bad.

Common Ways You Can Spot An Online Scam

When you can learn how to recognize certain elements within a program, you’ll then be able to tell if its a scam or not usually within the first few seconds after viewing it.

Here are 5 very common ways you can spot a scam online.

1) There’s Little Information On How It Works

If a program is vague about what their selling and how it works, then take a step back before you go spending money on it.

Vague about what their selling

These types of sites will say they have an amazing service or program, and hope that by the end of the sales video you’ll have enough trust to give them money without second guessing.

Personally if I don’t know what the program offers, the exact steps of how it works, and some real life examples of ordinary people using it — I skip it.

So next time you find a program that interests you and they beat around the bush as to what it is — there’s a high chance they they might be trying to scam you.

2) You’re Told You Can Get Rich Quick

A very common thing I’ll see a lot of programs say, is they’ll tell you that with their amazing system you can get rich fast and do it by only working 20-30 minutes a day.

Get rich schemes

Now again you got to think, if you had a system or program making you thousands of dollars a day — would you be selling it for 30-50 bucks a month (as this is usually the price these type of programs).

Of course not!

Just like everything else in life, to achieve anything worthwhile it’s going to take a considerable amount of time, work, and yes some failure on your part to succeed.

Ask anyone who’s making a full time living online, and they’ll say it probably took them several months if not years to get to where they are now — as well as making a ton of sacrifices along the way to make it possible.

And again any program claiming you can get rich within a few days or by the end of the month — is simply lying and scamming you out of your money.

3) They Use Fake Screenshots Within Their Promotion

Using fake screen shots is a huge tactic scammers like to use to make you think their program or website is worth joining.

Some of their photos will include fake profits, fake reviews, fake pictures of themselves, and even fake results to show their program “works”.

You have to realize that faking an income amount or any picture general is very easy to do nowadays.

For instance I could take a screen shot of my click bank account (which is nothing but 0’s), then I could take another screen shot then add a few 0’s into it and pretend I just made a thousand dollars.

How to manipulate Click bank earnings
Then I could go right around and sell some scam claiming it helped me make this thousand dollars in 1 day.

Therefore when deciding whether or not you want to join a program, don’t let screen shots be your deciding factor. If the program truly is worth purchasing, you’ll be able to tell based on other aspects besides money — along with doing your own research on other people’s reviews who already joined it in the past.

4) You’re Pressured To Act Quickly

Another common tactic scammers like to do, is make you feel pressured into buying their program because they supposedly only have a limited amount of spots open to the public or a limited amount of time before it expires.

And the funny thing is about almost every program that tries to use this tactic is flat out lying!

Most of the time you can simply refresh the website, and see the countdown or ticker reset back to its original position.

Pressured to act quickly
To give another example of this scheme in action, I’ll compare it to timeshares in the real world.

I remember about two years ago me and my wife went to a timeshare because they would give us $100 for free just to listen to their pitch. So we thought why not easy money.

Well after we listened to their whole sales pitch, they clearly told us what the price was and said this is the best deal you’ll ever get — and we just simply and kindly declined their offer. And wile I was expecting to get the $100 dollars and leave by this point– too much of my surprise they suddenly had an even better off for me, and again I declined.

I’ll tell you by the end of it all they had dropped their price about 5-6 times and both me and my wife were very annoyed by this point. Finally after sitting there about 2 hours and almost having to yell at them we don’t want to buy — they finally gave us out money and let us leave.

So what’s the point of this story?

Well online scammers act much like these time share holders do. They’ll say there’s very few openings or this is the best price you’ll get all year long — then when you decline suddenly the price drops or they have more spots available. -_-

Therefore if you ever feel pressured to join a program for any kind of reason, simply walk away and find a better opportunity — or step away and do your own research into the program before joining.

Trust me your not going to miss out of anything important if you don’t act right then and there.

5) Says They Have Secret Methods Or Tricks On How To Succeed

Another way scammers love to lure you into their programs is by telling you they found some super secret method on how to become successful online.

Their methods usually includes something along the lines of either being able to get you a ton of traffic through a top secret source, or being able to rake in thousands of dollars with their highly advanced software.

Secret methods
The truth however is there is no shortcut, secret, or advanced software that will make you rich and successful. If anyone tells you this, they flat out are trying to scam you plain and simple.

And as I’ve stated before, the only way to truly succeed in the online world is by working hard and putting in lots of hours each and every week — just like you would do with any offline business.

So don’t fall victim to these scammers saying you can become successful very fast and without much work by using their secret method — as they are doing nothing but preying on your wants and desires of making a lot of money and doing it quickly.

What If You’re Still Unsure About A Program?

Last but not least if you’re still not sure if a program is a scam or not, simply do a Google search about it. All you have to do is type in the program’s name + reviews, and you’ll get all kinds of people telling you what their experience was like.

Just be sure you read reviews from several different sources, that way you can get a more accurate view on what people think about it.

I would say a good 5-10 minutes of research should give you enough time to tell is a program truly is a scam — or is its something you might want to consider joining.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to join a program online, just keep an eye out for potential scams that might come your way. Remember to look for tale tale signs like…

  • Being told you can get rich quick
  • Being vague on how the program works
  • Using photos of bank accounts to lure you in
  • Pressuring you to act quickly
  • And telling you they have secret methods

In the end if a program truly is legitimate and worth joining, you’ll have all the time in the world to decide if you want to join it — and it won’t have to use any of those tactics I just shared with you to get you to join.

Personally after looking at hundreds of scams online, I recommend Wealthy Affiliate as my number 1 choice for several reasons.

They are very ethical, they have amazing and up to date training, and they also has a huge community of people all willing to help one another become successful online.

But don’t take my word for it, simply do a search on Google and see for yourself. You’ll find out that people have nothing but great things to say about them, and how much they are grateful for finding it.

Also if you want, you can check out my personal full review of Wealthy Affiliate here, and see exactly what they have to offer and how it works:

Check out WA here
I hope you enjoyed reading this post about scams, and now have a much better understanding as to what a scam is, and also how to spot one in the future.

However if you have any other questions, or would like me to review a certain program to let you know is its a scam or not — please leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to help you out. 🙂

Want to turn your passion into a thriving online business?
Check out this simple 4 step formula millions of people are using to make money online!

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6 thoughts on “What Is An Online Scam And How Can You Spot One?”

  1. Hello there Michael,

    I have not seen another detailed description of scams, mostly visually. You have really hit all the major signs including the one I fell for a few months ago.

    Boy I wish I had this post that time. I could have saved myself from being scammed $500 twice. But then, we make mistakes to learn, right?

    • Exactly Dave. They only way to succeed is to get out there and try different things to see what works and what doesn’t until you find something that works for you.

      That’s why I decided to create this post to help give people a head up on what programs could possibly work for them, and which ones are flat out trying to steal money from them.

      I’m sorry also to hear that you were scammed out of 1,000 dollars a few months ago. Hopefully you’ve found a better program by now, but if not you should check out my number 1 recommendation online for helping people build a business and earn a regular income online.

  2. Those are excellent points about how to spot scams and avoid them. When I was searching for information on how to get started with affiliate marketing, I was scammed twice until I had to find the right channel of doing things right.

    I watched a very classic video on how easily these guys made money online just by a click of a button and this just hooked me up and I decided to try. They lied to me that it’s 100% risk free only to realize later that was just a scam language. Immediately I sent them $250, and that was the last time I heard from them. I wish I had read this post before then, but I don’t regret it. I think this information will help many people out there.

    Just a little point of concern, what should one do in case he/she has been scammed? Should I have reported the matter to police or what should I have done?

    • I’m sorry to hear that you got scammed out of $250 dollars. 

      Honestly the best thing you can do is do a thorough research into the program before spending money, to make sure it’s actually legitimate — and also just look out for signs that I mentioned in this post to determine if it’s a scam or not.

      However if you’ve already been scammed, you can either file a compliant here: Report a scam here 

      Or you can go to a popular scam site like ripoffreport.com and write a post about how bad your experience was with a certain company.

      I hope this helps, and also if you have any questions about other programs in the future — please feel free to let me know and I’ll be happy to do a full review about them here. 🙂

  3. Hi Michael, thank you for sharing. 

    Before reading your article, I was trying to understand how to spot an online scam. So, I found your information helpful.

    I must admit that scams are everywhere, even offline. And what may be confusing is that many sellers tend to use some of the strategies you listed in your post for selling their product, although they have a good product.

    • Your correct that many programs even if their legit might use some of the tactics I listed in my post to help sell it –however what you’ll find out is scams usually over exaggerated things in their sales videos like saying you’ll make thousands of dollars within a month or you can work 2 hour a day and make a full time living online.

      Also as I said within the post, one of the easiest and most effective ways to find out if a program is a scam or not is to simply do a search about it on Google and read people’s reviews about it.

      If the program is truly legit you’ll usually see many people leaving positive reviews — and if it’s a scam you’ll see lots of angry people talking about getting scammed out of money or saying they wasted their time with the program.


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