Tips to Avoid Rip-Offs

Q: How do I find out if a work from home business is for real they supposedly have a e-mail address but nobody is answering me it’s called jeff paul shortcuts to internet millions I’m not looking to make a lot of money just better than I am now. Also there is project payday I … Continued

Q: How do I find out if a work from home business is for real they supposedly have a e-mail address but nobody is answering me it’s called jeff paul shortcuts to internet millions I’m not looking to make a lot of money just better than I am now. Also there is project payday I have been talking to them by e-mail. Thank you if you can help out.



A: L…

I wish more people would be like you, L****. That is, ask these types of questions before they send money to some outfit, rather than later when it’s too late. So let’s go over a few fundamentals when it comes to any solicitation for any ad from any source that promises you easy money or anything else. This advice is general, not specific to companies you’re asking about. Even if I had the time to evaluate these “opportunities,” which I don’t, I doubt very much that sites like these would never provide the information necessary to evaluate them. But we’ll take some of the wording they include in their ads as a basis for the following tips.

  • Avoid any ad, website or infomercial that contains the word “millions.” Nobody reputable..or even smart…would ever begin to imply you’re going to make millions. Why? Because it automatically renders the claim nonsensical. If you knew a guaranteed way to make millions of dollars, which would you do? A. Make millions of dollars. B. Go on TV or the Internet and try to sell that information to other people.And btw, when I’ve talked to people in the past who invested their hard-earned money in promises like this, they invariably say what you said: “I’m not looking to make a lot of money just better than I am now.” Their logic is apparently that if the idea could potentially make millions, and all they want is hundreds, then the business idea must be good enough to work. Try this logic instead: a person who says their idea can make millions of dollars is either an idiot for not simply doing it themselves or they’re a liar. And it’s not a good idea to send money to either.
  • Avoid any ad, website or infomercial that promises that anyone can do it. Here’s a cut-and-paste from one ad, typical of many:

    Can you point and click? Type in a web address? Follow simple step-by-step instructions? Live in the U.S. or Canada? Then you too have what it takes!

    Stop for a moment and think about how ludicrous this promise is. Are we expected to believe that this idea is so simple that a five-year old can make hundreds of dollars in their spare time? If so, why aren’t they taking homeless people off the street…or five-year-olds for that matter…paying them minimum wage and keeping the profits for themselves? Since they’d rather sell the idea to you, that means that this person is either a liar or an idiot: see advice above.

  • Avoid any ad, website or infomercial that contain the word “secret.” When it comes to making money, there aren’t too many secrets. But by using the word “secret” you’ll probably be expected to part with your money without any concrete idea of what it is you’re buying. If someone came to your door today and offered to sell you a plain brown box for $34.95 with only the promise that you’d like what was inside, would you buy it? That’s exactly what you’re doing when you respond to an ad with the word “secret” in it. Here’s an example, culled from such a website:

    Due to the nature of the Internet, I have to keep quiet about the exact details of (INSERT PRODUCT HERE) or else everyone and their brother will rip off the idea, create competition, and make it less effective for our valued members.

    Let’s evaluate this statement. Even if there is an actual secret that makes money, by making it available to you and billions of other people worldwide on the web, isn’t the author already creating competition, thus making it less effective? Yes. They are, in fact, doing exactly what they claim to be avoiding. They’re using the internet to NOT keep quiet about the details of this idea: they’re just selling the details. Following that logic, since every person who buys into this idea is making it less effective for the ones that follow, shouldn’t the ones that follow pay less for what in the author’s own words is an idea that’s becoming less effective every time they sell it?

  • Completely and Totally Ignore Testimonials Pretend they’re not there. Don’t read, watch or pay attention to them at all in any way…then evaluate the idea. The reason why should be obvious: they could easily be completely made up.
  • Completely and totally Ignore any “Facts” not independently or personally verified. Which will more than likely be every single “fact” in the ad or infomercial. It’s a common technique to introduce details into false claims to make them seem more likely to be true. Here’s a cut-and-paste example:

    …when I find a potential opportunity – especially an opportunity almost no one knows about – the first thing I do is test it. So I found 14 test students to try to make money with this new system for 30 days …The results? 13 out of my 14 test students made more than $200.00 in their first 30 days … working purely in their spare time. Some students admitted to working less than 3 hours total, and still made more than $200.

    As a journalist, I’m constantly confronted by “facts” and “studies” like the above from sources with have an obvious ax to grind. What do I do with stuff like this? If I can’t personally verify the information…in this case by having the study verified by an independent third party that I trust, or by talking to the “students” involved in the test and verifying the money they made, I don’t include it in my story. In other words, if it’s not verifiable it didn’t happen. Period. And if it is verifiable, the person with the ax to grind should make it easy to do so. If they can’t or won’t, wouldn’t that suggest they’re probably lying? Of course it does. Which leads us to another tip-off.

  • If you can’t contact them, don’t let them contact you. Here’s one more sentence cut-and-pasted from a work-at-home ad:

    I Want 40 Lashings If This Doesn’t Work 100% Of The Time!

    Ok. But where will I go to give you your 40 “lashings?” (Btw, I hope this particular “opportunity” doesn’t involve spelling: the correct word would have been “lashes”) Neither of the businesses you asked about have a physical address where I find their offices. Which means they could be in Nigeria and beyond the reach of US law. At the minimum, it suggests that they don’t want you to know where they are, which isn’t very reassuring if you’re sending them money. Companies that sell things to the public should let the public know where they are to show that they’re legitimate. So when dealing with any company that doesn’t provide a physical address, email them and ask them for it. If they don’t respond to that email, ask yourself why. If they do respond, verify the address. If you can’t, ask yourself why.

  • Money-back guarantees offer zero assurance that something works. Just the other day, someone in my office mentioned an online ad where you could buy a flash memory drive for $10 that came with a $10 rebate. Thus it was virtually free. The question was, “How can they lose money like that?” The answer is “because the manufacturer knows that a large percentage of people won’t jump through the necessary hoops to get their rebate.” In other words, if you collect money from hundreds of people online, then send them an empty box, a certain percentage of them won’t ask for their money back. How large a percentage will depend on how much the product costs and how hard it is to return. If you believe that’s true, then you’d also have to believe that since people can make an “honest” living selling empty boxes, money back guarantees offer zero assurance that something works. And then, of course, there are those companies that have no intention of making an honest living. Imagine for a moment that you weren’t honest, and you owed me $34.95. I have no way of physically finding you (see above) and even if I did, what am I going to do? Shoot you for 35 bucks? Sue you? The most I could do is complain to the authorities, but trust me…they’re busy. And even if they do act, I’ll probably never see my money again, because you’ve probably already used it for a Mercedes payment.

In conclusion, L****, I wish I could provide you a proven technique for making extra money in your spare time. I can’t. But what I can do is provide you with the above tips and this simple advice: the better something sounds…the more testimonials it has…the simpler it is…the more guarantees it has…the less recourse you have…the more you skepticism you should bring to the table. And that includes anything being sold by anybody, from new cars to political candidates. There’s a reason for the expression “If something sounds too good to be true, it is.”

Best of luck,



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