When you first start thinking about quitting your job to work from home, there’s a quick rush of adrenaline that is soon accompanied by an overwhelming sense of anxiety.
What will I do? Where do I start? How can I avoid all the scams?!?!
These are all valid and common reactions when you start your career from home. But the truth is there has never been a better time in internet history to make money online. If you don’t get started now, you will most definitely be left behind.
What’s so great about now?
Besides the obvious answer, ‘There is no time better than the present.’
The internet is actually exploding with new opportunities right now. Anyone with a hobby or a passion has a real chance at monetizing it. People have always said this was possible online, but now it’s easier than ever.
Perhaps this is because of the mobile revolution, or the rise of social media. Maybe it’s the combination of both, added to a nation of folks who are tired of working for ungrateful bosses.
Whatever is causing it, one thing is certain. Everyone from Fortune 500 companies to small local businesses are spending more advertising dollars and focusing more of their efforts online than ever before.
Unfortunately, not everyone who advertises online is honest. With this new explosion of opportunity, we’ve also seen a rise in things like MLM and paid survey companies. This isn’t to say all MLM or survey companies are bad, I’m just using them as an example. (Although traditionally, they seem have the worst records)
But that brings up the point I’m trying to make here. Who’s to say what’s a scam, and what is not?
There are plenty of companies I would never even consider joining, even though doing a quick search online can easily produce tons of testimonials and pictures of pretty ladies holding big checks, telling you about their once in a lifetime opportunity.
The truth is, you can hire people to do any of those things and more for less than a cup of coffee.
When you see testimonials and promises of big checks, it’s easy to get caught up in all the hype. The things they say, sound so good it makes you want to believe it. This is how people get scammed
Building Your Defense
Now that you know why you need to follow your passion and you’re armed with some basic knowledge of how scammers operate, let’s talk about your defense.
Think of all those testimonials and big checks we talked about.
How many people do you actually know that have one of those?
In the past, this question might not have been as relevant. But we are able to create more connections these days thanks to things like social media.
Almost every part of the web is social in one way or another, so the chance of a scammer being caught is much higher. You just have to do a little research.
Simply searching through social sites like FaceBook and Twitter will produce mixed results. It’s worth your time to have a quick glance at these results, but don’t rely on them too heavily. Since it is so easy for a company to dictate what you see when you search for something, it’s best to dig a little deeper.
Instead, what you should be doing is watching what real people are saying. Real people are the people you know, or have a connection with. For example, a friend of your friend might be a good resource, if they know something about the company or product you’re looking into.
Let’s say you have 100 friends on FaceBook.
If none of them have had good results and they don’t know anyone who has had good results, that’s probably because there aren't any. If you can’t find anything positive about the company in question, that should serve as a pretty big red flag.
It doesn't necessarily mean they are a scam, but at that point it’s not worth the gamble.
Learning to rely on the big “G”
As I said before, simply searching for answers isn't always going to produce honest results. You need to know how to search and where to find the real dirt.(if there is any)
First of all, if you’re looking for information on any company, especially a ‘work from home’ type of company, you better be using Google. I know there are lots of people who prefer other search engines over Google, but are they willing to bet on the results the others produce? Probably not.
Google has spent a lot of time and money to bring you the best results for any given word or phrase. The results you get from Google are not only catered to you, but they have an element of “social proof” built right in.
When Google indexes a webpage, they know who owns it, what their social profiles look like and if they are engaged in any unsavory practices. Google has single handedly made a stance against payday loan companies, cash gifting and other various B.S. on the web.
No other search engines will eliminate that much for you right from the start. (you can see how using Google puts you a couple steps ahead of most scammers)
Learning to use the big “G”
To add to the already great results they give you, Google allows you to use ‘modifiers’ to your searches to really narrow things down. Using a modifier will help you to find anything you want, no matter how hard someone has tried to bury it. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Finding exactly what you want
Using quotes around your search term will produce exact match results. Basically whatever you type between quotes is exactly what you’ll get, nothing else. Let’s say you want information about company A. Go to Google and type in “Company A”
To really make this method work, try these searches.
“Company A scam”
“Company A review”
“Company A ripoff”
Another great modifier will allow you to combine your search queries. Placing the word AND between two queries will combine two results. For example:
Company B AND lawsuit
Company B And Better Business Bureau
Company B AND Testimonials
Minus the B.S. Please
Perhaps the most powerful search modifier to use when searching for business opportunities is the exclusion modifier. This works great for eliminating all the fake testimonials and reviews. Try these to get you started.
Company C -testimonial
Company C -reviews
Company C -$40,000.00 overnight
Accountability and Transparency
Google is making accountability and transparency the most important factors for website owners who want to see their content in the search results. This makes it much easier for people like me and you to sift through pages of information to find out if a company really is who they say they are.
In the end however, it is up to each one of us to do our part. Finding and calling out these scammers not only helps you, but it helps others avoid them too.
The search modifiers shown above will help you find the important info you need to help you make an educated and well researched decision. Combine those techniques with the answers you find in your social profiles and you’re almost certain to avoid scams every time.
Teach these methods to your friends and family and before you know it, the whole world will know how to avoid scams…the easy way.
Thanks for stickin' around.
Leave a comment below and tell us how you avoid scams.