What is a Scam?

Put simply, any get rich quick scheme.  Be realistic here – if you want to earn anything, you have to put in the effort, and work at it.  There are no short-cuts to getting people to give you their money (unless they are illegal of course!!).  So below, are some common scams to be aware of, or that you may have come across, via letter, email, phone call etc.

Scams can include:

  • Pyramid Schemes
    • Wikipedia cites: “A pyramid scheme is an unsustainable business model that involves promising participants payment or services, primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, rather than supplying any real investment or sale of products or services to the public.”
    • In other words, there is NOTHING for anyone to buy – so the fact that money is being paid should ring alarm bells.  If there is no “product or service” why would their be a charge?
    • Pyramid Schemes are illegal – the only people who make money, are the ones at the top.  Very quickly, the friends of friends quickly run out (or catch on) to what they are being “recruited” for – and it isn’t to sell a fantastic product.  So the people in the chain, other than those at the top, lose their money,  friendships, families – you name it – if they gamble, and lost it all – what is left?
  • Work from Home Scheme
    • work-at-home scheme is promised to be a get rich quick scheme, where the task is seemingly very simple – but the rewards are huge.  You are either charged a fee to join, or you have to buy the kits you are going to put together up front.
    • An example would be, stuffing envelopes.  Simple enough – but you may have to buy the packs first – then when you do stuff them with whatever (a printout of something mostly), they have to be quality checked – and guess what – your quality is NEVER good enough – so you have to buy more packs, so you can get better, but still you always fail the quality check and therefore never get paid.
    • nb. Not all work from home schemes are scams – but be aware of something that sounds too good to be true – and question it.  If it sounds to good, as the saying goes, it probably is!
  • The Rich African Prince/Heir to a fortune
    • If you haven’t received one of these emails then you are most likely in the minority.  They say you are entitled to a huge sum of money, but you have to help pay the solicitor and bank transfer fees (to process the legal papers and make the arrangements to transfer the money to your account – or similar).
    • Often these fees start off small.  If they can get you to pay the $99/£99 fee in return of a promised 20 million – to the uninformed, and desperate people, that sounds like a very small amount, for what the reward would be.  It doesn’t matter that it seems crazy – some vulnerable people WILL fall for this type of scam, which is a real shame – and I can’t feel more sorry for those that do.
    • Inevitably, the legal fees and transfer fees will rise steeply with each email/phone call received, and each will make it sound more and more like “we are almost there – there was just this last hidden legal cost we have to pay to do SOMETHING…”
    • Reality is, there is no pay out.  All the money you have sent, to secure your fortune, has been lost – to a SCAM.
  • Money Laundering
    • The premise is, you are sent a very large cheque to pay into your bank – in return for then sending on a cheque/bank transfer from your account to someone else, less a %fee for your troubles.
    • eg. If the cheque is for 1 million – and your fee is 1% – that is 10k for paying in a cheque, and drawing another!  How could you ever refuse that opportunity?
    • Simply put – this is very serious – if you are caught, depending on the laws of the country, you could be held to account, and face a jail sentence.

These are the most common scams you will come across online, but are not exhaustive.  As I said above, if it seems to good to be true, it almost definitely is!

So what can you do?  Look for legitimate opportunities, where you know and accept, that to reap any rewards, you have to work.  There are NO get rich quick schemes.

If you are unsure about an email, letter or phone call you’ve received, that seem to offer such a fantastic opportunity, please post below in the comments.  If I, or any other visitor to this website is aware of it, we’ll reply to you asap.

All the best, Mark