The digital age has provided us with the best opportunity in history to connect with others on a global scale. This is true today, will be true tomorrow, and for decades to come.
According to Internet Live Statistics, there are over 3.6 Billion users online and growing every day (14th July 2017).
The growth on an annual basis is increasing on a yearly basis.
This provides the average person with amazing opportunities to take part in the digital economy however, this is also an opportunity for unscrupulous online businesses to take advantage of those looking to make money online.
I am sure at some stage you have come across a post or advert that makes you think ‘This is too good to be true’ and you close it down and move on. While some will advise that is the best way to keep out scams, I would like to suggest that you could also be missing out on amazing opportunities.
That was true for me a year ago when I came across the opportunity that has changed my life for good and allowed me to build the lifestyle of my dreams creating personal and financial freedom in the digital economy.
But this article is not about me or my opportunity. This article is a scam I avoided early this morning (14th July 2017) thanks to my awareness of online scams as well as the ability to spot scammers.
I am not by any means bragging and even though it may sound like a lot of hard work, I would like to take this opportunity to use my experience to show you how I avoided this scam.
Depending on what you search online, you will find that the average person spends between 20 and 30 hours online per week. This is a lot of online time but, with all the education available online, I too spend a lot of time online and have used that to grow personally and professionally.
This morning I went online to carry out my daily tasks of posting my latest blog post, sharing it on social media of which Facebook is my main focus. While on my Facebook Business Page, I get a message popup from Messenger.
Mary as she called herself, claimed to work for Facebook and was contacting me to find out if I had been informed of the prize I had won. That sounded great I mean, who doesn’t like to win something. I told her I had not been contacted.
She went on to tell me that I had won $500,000.00 and a new car in the Facebook Lottery.
I have been online for decades and it is my main source of information and education so I am well aware of the scams going around and sadly, have been previously scammed myself. Luckily, I learn from my mistakes.
With my awareness being ever present, I immediately noticed the red flags. Firstly, if she was working for Facebook, why did she not contact me using my mobile number or email address which, is recorded with Facebook in my profile as it is a requirement.
None the less I decided to see where this discussion was going. I responded by stating that sounded great. She then told me that she was contacting me to tell me how to claim my prize.
While she was typing her next message, I clicked on her name and opened up her Facebook profile page.
This brought up a few more red flags when I visited the ‘about’ and ‘timeline’ sections of her page. There was no mention of her working for Facebook and her timeline was empty for someone who claims to work for Facebook.
Apart from that, her profile page looked extremely unprofessional for Facebook who is the biggest, most visited social media platform online.
Once, I picked that up, I decided to inform her of my findings to which she responded by sending me some images. She (if it was a female in the first place), was clearly prepared.
Once again with some closer inspection, there were more red flags as the checks the people were holding were from 2015. Why for my ‘view only’? Surely is this was legitimate, Facebook would advertise it.
While I was looking at the pictures, she informed me that I need to provide her with my address, email address, and contact number. With so many red flags already, I responded by calling her bluff and informing her that I believed she was trying to scam me.
Again, she was prepared and responded by informing me that I should then confirm this with her CEO.
The red flags were growing with every response she sent. Looking closely at the so called ‘CEO Profile Page’ there were more red flags. Why would Mark Zuckerberg call himself ‘Zucks’ and surely his spelling ability is good enough to spell ‘Roundomly’ correct which is ‘randomly’.
Apart from that, he had no followers as being the successful entrepreneur he is, he should have millions of followers. I personally am one of those as I enjoy following the progress of Facebook and what it has achieved in connecting the global community.
After picking up those red flags I decided it was time to close this scam off and I sent her a very clear message indicating that I was not going to be scammed. I should have checked my spelling (my apologies Mark) but, at this point, I just wanted to close this down.
That clearly did the trick as she was ‘gone with the wind’. From there I went on to report her profile page and that clearly fake Mark Zuckerberg page.
It is unfortunate that this happens but, it is a fact of being online. Don’t let that scare you because as you can see from this example, it is not difficult to weed out the scammers. This whole incident took me no longer than 10 minutes to clear up.
How To Confirm The Legitimate Opportunities
I mentioned earlier that I had come across the opportunity that has changed my life for good. Don’t worry I am not going to pitch you on that. I would like to provide you with a few more tips on how to carry out your own due diligence to ensure you avoid scams and identify the REAL Opportunities.
The first thing I am going to say and this may receive some resistance is that using ‘If it is too good to be true, then it is’, as the red flag. There are legitimate opportunities online that might be seen as too good to be true but, in fact, are real.
There is also another method recommended by many which is to search on Google for scam warnings on that specific opportunity or advert. While that may be helpful, I would like to once again recommend you do not use it as the deciding factor.
You see, there are those online who know you will be looking up this opportunity on Google as they setup pages that look legitimate with the heading of ‘scam revealed’ or similar, only to draw you in and use that to convince you it is in fact not a scam.
How will you know if this so called ‘scam alert’ itself is not a scam? Allow me to give you a few pointers here:
- Check the ‘about’ section of their Facebook profile. If it is empty and has not information on who they are, where they are from and how you can contact them then – RED FLAG!
- If you are considering working with them, then take the time to read their ‘about’ section, contact them via email and mobile to confirm they are real.
These are just a few but, in my view, the most important and will help you weed out the scams from the legitimate opportunities. This may sound like a lot of hard work but, it literally takes a couple of minutes and you will know with certainty that you are now making an informed decision.
If this person or opportunity is legitimate then they will have their profiles complete, their contact details available and their legal pages present. This is actually a requirement by the search engines for websites to get higher rankings.
The social media networks also look for this information inclusive of the legal pages when online businesses advertise with them.
Don’t allow the small percentage of unscrupulous online scammers from denying you the opportunity that may change your life.
If you come across an opportunity or advert that you feel you could be interested in but, don’t have the time to investigate, I am happy to offer you my assistance in investigating and providing you with my feedback.
While I am by no means claiming to be an expert in the field, I can say with confidence that I have been around long enough to be able to pick out the red flags. Apart from that, I myself am an online entrepreneur and know what is required by the search engines and social media networks, for my online businesses to be listed as legitimate.
Feel free to reach out to me. I am more than happy to assist where I can because, by doing this, I am helping legitimate online businesses like mine and that of my mentors and community members from being seen as scams and rather, being seen as legitimate, successful online businesses and opportunities.
The Internet is an amazing educational tool and I will do my part in keeping it scam free and the more people doing that, the safer it becomes for online businesses to prosper for the good of all online users.
Be aware, carry out your due diligence and stay safe!