It started with a short simple email.
“If you want unlimited cash, simply reply ‘ready’.
Then another one:
“So far we have 100 lucky members. This select group is paid $2500 each day working for just 30 minutes online.
We have a few more openings available before this offer is permanently pulled down.
You’re reading this because I have reserved a position for you.
Click here and thank me later”
Hallelujah! $2500! Daily?
I could see myself becoming a millionaire in 10 years. I felt as brave as a lion and so I clicked as advised, sincerely hoping to thank my benefactor later.
Weeks later, and after continuously slugging it out on my keyboard as instructed, the truth sunk in. Some dirty fool had run away with my money (sob 😢).
Worst of all, he almost made my attention-demanding girlfriend ran away as I ‘worked’ on my computer for over 18 hours a day.
I swore to teach scammers a painful lesson. I want you to never fall for their fake baits by disclosing all their nasty schemes in the open.
Once you receive that out of this world ‘offer’, ask yourself-could this be a scam? This is how to tell if it is really a scam:
1. Sounds too good
Now, you know this one! If it sounds magically unbelievable and promises heaven, it’s time to run.
Your scammer knows your emotions well, so he throws in some exciting benefits to make the bait even more attractive.
He will promise what is otherwise very difficult to achieve in a competitive world.
You know it is too good to be true if it ‘guarantees’:
- Bountiful earnings within a very short time.
- Lots of money with little to no effort
- Some big bonus earnings on meeting certain conditions (such as spending some cash then waiting)
2. You didn’t apply or register
You must have heard this. The email, text message, social media inbox message or call just came out of the blue.
You don’t remember subscribing or entering the lottery. But here you are – a jackpot winner 😂 😂
You see, lottery is big business to the owners and they must make target profits under all conditions.
So ignore this. Real lottery firms don’t throw away cash that easily!
3. It is connected to Internet giants Google, Amazon or some big boy
Scammers know how deeply you trust the big boys.
The email will be made to look as if it is coming from big companies such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple, Amazon or even the Federal Bank.
Create a culture of always scrutinizing unsolicited emails which seem to be from a big boy. Fake emails will lack some key features such as the logo or have a fake source email address.
4. It is intimidating
There is an interesting category of fraudsters who frighten their victims before fleecing them.
You will be warned that your credit card account is just about to be closed or your mortgage is about to be recalled unless you meet the conditions given to you.
They make it sound as if doomsday will just happen if you don’t obey. They push and coerce you. You feel as if a loaded gun has been pointed at you.
Threatening reminders will soon flow into your inbox as the countdown to disaster nears – just in case you didn’t fall for their machinations.
5. It is urgent
Scammers are well certain that given time, you might have a rethink, consult and call their bluff.
They will therefore pressure you into making hasty decisions, all the while advising you that the offer is also with some other unnamed players. That the cake will go to the first-to-act guy.
They also claim that the offer is final and will soon be pulled out of the market after a few hours never to come back!
6. It is a top secret
Some scammers will warn you that you are dealing with a top-secret product, the once in a lifetime thing. And to qualify, you must never ever disclose to anyone.
That they also had something similar which changed their lives, and that they succeeded by keeping it totally to themselves.
You start to imagine how you will suddenly surprise everyone around you sudden riches. End result? You feel even more motivated to quickly conclude the deal – exactly what the predator wants.
Don’t fall for this.
7. Spelling and grammar mistakes
They are always in a hurry or are not good English speakers or communicators in whatever language they try to convince you with. So, if you see some petty grammar issues or plain spelling errors, it could be a scammer.
But don’t rely on grammar only. I’ve received scam mails with absolutely impeccable grammar.
Seems scammers have been investing some of their ‘hard earned’ monies in the queen’s language.
That said, there are still many who will display obvious errors in their content.
8. Funny source email address
Scammers use funny email addresses. They also call from premium or untraceable numbers.
Their websites are not found if you try searching for them.
For instance, I once received a spam email from firstname.lastname@example.org. I decided to find out what wasiwear.com does only for my search engine to report that the website was not found.
Note that phishing email may find ways to make the email address look almost the same as the real email address of a big company. Whenever you’re skeptical, simply contact the support team of the said site.
You can also check out message headers to see the correct source email.
9. Starts off free…but
Some scams will bait you by offering free registration initially with a no credit card required promise. True, you will access their systems and start ‘working’.
But they already have your email and will keep emailing you, advising about some more beneficial premium services they recommend. A classic example here is the recently crumbled PublicLikes scam.
Eventually, you decide to subscribe to the premium product to get more. Soon after, you will be wondering whether it was actually worth it as you go into a long wait for the promised returns.
10. Ask for money in advance
Typically, all scammers are a greedy lot. Many will ask for money in advance.
Some demand money to solve an ‘emergency’ that just arose. They will email or inbox you and narrate about a fake ordeal or a misfortune that just befell them. They will then plead for some advance payment.
Others will want money to help a kin, for charity or just to bribe a stubborn government staff who is refusing to play ball. And this money is fully refundable so it is a zero risk scheme.
Of course, you will never hear from them ever again after sending the money.
11. Screenshots with crazy $$$ figures
A scammer will not only wow you with titles like “How I make $2497 daily” but will also post fake screenshots showing his grand daily earnings and bank statements.
This trick is aimed at making you believe their fake story. Most genuine online workers don’t share their earnings statements so openly. Think about it. Do you share yours?
12. You are made to feel like a V.I.P
In most cases, you will be communicating with the who-is-who in the company. You get emails, calls, SMSs and WhatsApp messages from all the big guys on the other side.
They sign off with titles such as Mr. Bill Bean – CEO, Mrs. Suzzy Brown – Director, International Affairs or other mouthful titles such as Country Manager.
Your scammer will also award you a big title. You are henceforth addressed as ‘Dear Hon Newest Millionaire’ or some other headline hogging salutation. Well, it is a millionaire in conversation with another millionaire hence you deserve maximum respect. Or so you kid yourself.
Think about this. Why does the boss have to personally facilitate this?
Remember when you win lotto, you will be contacted by some very junior employee. If you are still feeling like you can take risks, just recall how hard it is to get hold of the big guys even in that local company in your neighborhood.
13. It is connected with some current trend
You can’t be a good scammer if you do not follow news and trends. They will somehow create some scheme around the most recent trends and make it appear very genuine.
For example, there is some euphoria currently around the make money online niche. You will therefore notice a spike of screenshots and people spamming others in the cyber space, bragging about how they have succeeded online and are now working from the beach 😂.
The message? If you want start working from the beach, just ‘inbox’ me!
If there is some calamity, some frauds open crowd funding pages based on such calamities, provided it is in the news.
For example, the BBC reports that after the recent Westminster terror attack, some unscrupulous individuals opened a fake JustGiving page for one of the victims in a daring attempt at conman ship.
13. A scam client refuses to give you some form of downpayment
This has happened to so many freelancers.
You meet a new, awesome client either from a freelancing website or a direct client from some outreach exercise e.g. via email, social media, job boards etc.
The client wants you to start working without any form of commitment. They don’t fund escrow/milestone in these sites. They don’t even hire you in those sites, they just message you to start writing.
If it’s a direct client, they don’t give any form of downpayment.
But they expect you to fully trust them (somehow) and deliver the work. They can be very persuasive and convincing, with different fake stories about issues with PayPal, Upwork etc.
They’ll suavely assure you of payment after delivery. Some will even promise you a quick raise if you do a great job.
Once you deliver excellent work (as you always do), you’ll never hear from the client again. It will all be a waste of precious time and energy.
Scams can be very painful and depressing. They take you back so many steps. Some take time to recover from. Others totally mess up your reputation with your friends, family (and even landlord). When this happens, you wish someone told you it was really a scam.
Have you been a victim to any of these? Did someone try pull a fast one on you through some other method not mentioned here? Leave a comment below and let’s protect others from falling for these, shall we?