How To Identify An Online Scam

So you see a great opportunity on your social media feed. It promises to make you incredibly rich within few days. You are excited, all your money troubles will be over soon, you can pay off your loans and treat your family to some nice things. Fantastic! You sign up and pay up, only to realize some weeks or months later that you were cheated out of your earnings! You are heartbroken, but fall for it again month later, thinking you can cover the losses you made with the previous scam. STOP THE VISCOUS CIRCLE AND LEARN HOW TO IDENTIFY AN ONLINE SCAM!

I bet you like me have been cheated countless times online! To help you out I have created a guide in understanding why we get cheated time after time and how to actually recognize an online scam, doesn’t matter how  well it’s put together! My mission is to keep you and your investments safe by offering you alternatives, which might not look so lucrative at first, since they actually require some hard work. However they are all safe, vetted and legitimate ways of making an income online. If you are interested to read more about how to succeed online, read my previously published article: How To Earn Money Online Legally – Key To Success

Scammers Hold All The Aces

All The Aces

It’s like gambling you might think! The odds are in your favour, I didn’t get lucky this time, better luck next time, right?

Wrong! It is like gambling, except that they hold all the aces! Since they are cheating, there is no way you can actually win!

But like with gambling you get addicted, blinded by the greed. You see the big money they are ready to hand to you and you want to grasp it badly!

You will end up loosing and loosing. Time after time, until you are broke and even then you are willing to lie, cheat and borrow to continue. Until you have exhausted every single way of funding your habit and have to admit your defeat.

How To Break The Vicious Cycle?

You need to learn to recognize an online scam from legitimate business opportunity! It’s actually quite easy and will get even easier with practice. Yes, there are some really clever scams out there, not so easily recognizable, but that’s what my blog is for, please return often to read about the new scam sites that I cover!

Learn To Recognize The Scams

There are several methods to learn to recognize an online scam. I will introduce you to them all.


  1. Use Common Sense – When you read about a new online program, use your gut feeling, it is often right! Does the program sound too good to be true? Does it promise to give you income with no work involved? Make you rich without recruiting anyone? Do they promise to automatically build a downline for you? Do they tempt you with pictures with piles of money? If so, it is a scam with 100% certainty! Affiliate programs like every other business will take time to build and eventually automate into a passive income.
  2. Do Little Digging – Do you know who owns the company? Where is it registered? Where is it hosted? If people are not willing to put their names on the websites and stand behind their company, it’s most like a scam!
  3. Read The News – Many MLM large scale programs are experiencing legal problems at the moment, due to chances in both US and European MLM  laws! If the program or it’s leaders are convicted, under investigation or it the company is closing offices in US and other countries around the world, you have every reasons to be cautious!
  4.  Look For Reviews – Look for online reviews and not only on Facebook and google reading the reviews that appear on page 1! I can guarantee you those articles are meant to fool you, because people put a lot of money into search engine optimization in order to appear withing first results and fool you into joining. Use Bing and Youtube besides Google!
  5. Look For Payment Proofs  – Does the program actually pay the affiliates like it promises? Many legal programs experience payment programs and it is disheartening to loose all your hard earnings due to the company having financial issues! You can search for images, be aware both payment systems the companies use and fake pictures with grammar and spelling mistakes! Legitimate companies use Paypal, GoCoin, Solid Trust Pay, Neteller and Credit cards. Most scammers only accept Bitpay, Perfect Money and Payeer and are not registered as companies but rather individuals!
  6. Talk To The Person Recruiting You – Try to figure out how long he has been part of the program he is recruiting you for! How much is he or she earning and how much time does he spend working on it weekly basis? Look any holes in his or her story using common sense like I describe in the first point! If he or she is too busy to talk to you at all, the program might not be legitimate! Notable exception to this are often female recruiters, who can legitimately be extremely busy with families and household to have a lot of time to discuss with them. However if you genuinely show interest in joining their program, they WILL make time for you and your questions. Females also tend to be more honest and have more difficult time working for scams!
  7. Evaluate The Information You Gathered – There are lot of people out there, scamming others to join their programs so they can make an income. They couldn’t care less if the program they are recruiting you into is legitimate or not. Take a paper and pen, draw down the pros and cons for the program you have investigated to make sure you have evaluated it properly. If you found no cons, be sure to dig harder! Even best programs fall short on some issues. You can see an example here of my favorite program  review. Even though the program is extremely good and I have no problems of recruiting anyone for it, it has few short comings, which I honestly state:  Wealthy Affiliate Scam Review – Read Before Joining!

 Proceed With Care

So you have done your reseach and come to the conclusion it’s legit and safe to make your investment. Now you can go full speed ahead to neat profit, right? WRONG! This is what you should do instead:

  1. StartThink About it – That’s right! Sleep on it and talk it through with a friend. Make sure you don’t make a decision to join any program lightly! Evaluate the information you have gathered, put down pros and cons.
  2. Test It Out – One you have made up your mind, go head and join, but be careful! Never invest everything right away! Make sure you start with small amounts and test the withdrawal of your earnings before you invest more.
  3. Recruit With Care – Make sure to provide integrity! Only provide accurate information for the people you want to join your adventure. Make them understand the pros and cons of your program. Building a good business relationship is a key to being successful building a good downline affiliate marketing!
  4. Create An Online Precense – In order to be successful today in affiliate programs, you need to create a great website to help you with recruiting. It really is a key to online marketing. Read my article here about how to get started with creating a website: How To Create a Website For Free – Practical Guide

Report Scams To Keep Others Safe

Online ScamsReporting online scams can be difficult and even dangerous at times. That’s why I am here! You can contact me any time about any online scam you discover! I will do a review to the best of my ability and report the scam in your behalf.

Please note that I used very throughout method, which requires me both to investigate the scam online and to join it in order to verify it’s legit or scam status. You can read more about my mission and the methods I use here: Scammers Be Aware!

Because of my lengthy investigation, it might take few weeks before my review will be published. I am also writing an other article this week, which other actions you can take, so stay tuned and be sure to return to read my online scams reporting article!

My Professional Advice

Are you feeling discouraged? You shouldn’t be, because there are several legitimate and very effective ways of making money online! I have listed some of them here in my article Beginners Guide To Affiliate Marketing, be sure to check them out! Good luck with your next online business adventure, keep my advice in mind and stay safe.

Kisses Xena


12 Replies to “How To Identify An Online Scam”

  1. Hi Xena, that’s an awesome article 🙂

    There are a lot of scams online. Unfortunately, people are too blind to join them, I have recently written a review about Four dollar click which promises you to earn $4000 per month and you can only withdraw if you buy a membership! That’s an example of a scam! 😉

    The tips you have shared are absolutely the best the one can use to avoid online scams, some scammers would just post a bunch of usernames and random numbers and try to fool you into thinking that is a payment proof 😀

    I have been scammed before but now I do intense research before joining any online program.

    Another thing I want to add is you can just type on Google the name of the program you want to join +Quora , Yahoo Answers or forum.

    This is a great way to instantly find out what other people say about that particular program.

    Thanks for sharing and have a good day! 🙂

    1. Hi Anis, thank you for your comment. Yes, there are a lot of scams out there and many people are falling for them over and over again, every single day. Very sad!
      I think you are referring to patch numbers with the payment proofs. While it’s correct that one can see the payments on some of these systems, for instance Perfect Money, by the patch number, most people don’t bother to check or don’t have an account there and just blindly trust these as payment proofs.
      I would still be careful as those places have also been saturated with false comments in order to fool you!

  2. It does seem to me that scammers are getting more and more ‘equipped’ these days with what they are doing and how they are doing it!

    I constantly see extremely dynamic and impressive sales pages aimed at newbies – they do a wonderful job of pulling on your heartstrings and getting you to sign up…apparently for free (which is never the case!).

    When I first came online myself to work, all those years ago, I fell for a dud offer twice…and parted with about $30. It could of been a lot worse!

    Have you ever fallen for one of these dodgy offers?

    1. Hi there, it’s true that the scammers are getting more and more clever. And it’s like a plaque, every time I expose a scam, 10 more are growing in it’s place!
      The emotional ones are the worst, a lot of women fall for them. You are right, none are for free and we should always be honest in advance, not to mislead anyone.
      I think you should count yourself luck! 30 dollars is still relatively small amount of money, I know people who have lost thousands of what they couldn’t afford to loose…
      Yes, I have lost couple of hundred all together before I got tired and started my investigations. Now I sometimes loose money on purpose to investigate, but it’s calculated in as business expense 😉

  3. Hi, Xena! Thank you for writing this great post 🙂

    I have fallen victim to a couple of scams in my day. One was a lottery scam and this was ten to fifteen years ago but they got us to send them three hundred dollars! It was supposedly for taxes on the lottery winnings. We asked well why can you take the money out of the winnings but the scammers had a quick excuse and got us to send the money.

    Of course, we felt like idiots when we finally said okay this is a scam and were out of the money.

    Online scams can come in so many forms today because you can’t see the person on the other end of the scam. So if may seem and feel like and honest person but that’s when the spider can bite you!.

    I may have to take a look at your beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing! It seems like an interesting venture!

    1. Hi there,thank you for sharing your story. Lottery scams and other email scams are quite popular even today! They are not limited to online either, but are even reaching us via mail and telephone calls. Just remember the Microsoft support scam that was going around last year, before they arrested most people involved in it by raiding the Indian call center it operated from!
      It’s true that not being able to look the person who is selling you something into the eye, makes it easier for you to fall for their lies and for them to lie to you in the first place, as not many crooks can stand an intense stare without breaking down or looking away!
      Take a look, there is no pressure…those are all programs I am part of myself, so I have personally vetted them.

  4. Hi Xena!
    I really appreciate your insights in this. I have noticed indeed that the scams are getting so clever than a lot people rather intelligent people get caught into their nets. This really worries me. Besides online scams, here in UK, a lot of the scam happen via phone! So many of my friends got caught in the Microsoft help scam and had to pay a ransum to regain access to their content!

    1. It’s true that scammers are getting more and more clever. I unfortunately see it every day in my line of work. Microsoft scam went on really long time, I am happy they finally raided the call center in India and caught the leaders of this scam!

  5. Those scammers are getting more and more clever these days and you have to keep smarter than them. You do a great job of outlining how to do that. Hopefully humans reading posts like these will get those scammers out of business and tarred and feathered like they deserve !! LOL

    1. Hi Brent, yes the scammers are getting more clever, but also on the other hand a lot of people can’t actually recognize a scam, even if it hits them in the face. I hope my article make more people aware.

  6. Hi Xena

    Your advice here is fantastic, thanks for taking the time to put together such a helpful list of things to look for. Like a lot of commenters here, I’ve fallen for several scammers both online and offline. I think the first one was the letter stuffing job that cost $20 just to find it was doing the same thing to someone else.

    My husband and I were victims recently with a Revshare site that stopped paying all their members stating that the payment processor had closed on them.

    1. Hi Leone, I am happy you found value in my article. I wanted to clear up once and for all how people can easily recognize if a program is a scam or not. There are so many different forms of scam out there that I am thinking of writing on article about it, however I am always going to concentrate on the financial scams.
      Yes, most revshares are unfortunately sponze schemes, where you only get paid until new money stops rolling into the system in a form of recruits. Then the funds run out and the scam ends. They will always come up with one or an other excuse. There are of course few legitimate programs out there, the problem is to find the correct ones. I am sorry you got scammed, luckily at least they stopped operating and can no longer hurt others.

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