But unfortunately, like many other money making opportunities, scammers find ways to take advantage of unsuspecting people hoping to work at home online, with the promise to make unrealistic amounts of money. Therefore, if you’re looking for a proven and Legitimate Online Business, you need to do your research and exercise caution with every opportunity you investigate. In the coming paragraphs, I will be teaching you exactly that, how to “Stay Safe Online”.
“What is legit and what isn’t”?
Quite often you will read comments about online entrepreneurs making $10,000 + a month, even boasting about it to the point of being annoying. This alone is a sure way of determining a scam.
The reality is most people won’t make a great deal of money when they are only just starting out. Just like in the real world… it takes commitment and time. If you have the passion and/or commitment, then you WILL ultimately make money!…
But let’s be realistic and think about it for a moment: if you could really make $10,000 a month starting in 30 days or less doing practically nothing, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?
This is what makes Wealthy Affiliate (WA) stand out from the rest. WA is upfront about this right from the start! We don’t make ridiculous and unrealistic statements claiming you can make unlimited amounts of dollar signs within your first 30 days. Instead, we provide you with the courses and tools to get you well on your way to earning an ongoing residual income on whatever it is your passionate about.
Quite often, you will also see the word “Guaranteed” thrown around, this is also a clear warning not to bother reading on. No one can legitimately, or legally promise you an ongoing income unless it’s a job and you’re being paid a salary. While these sites are tempting, please use due diligence when it comes to the word “Guaranteed”.
“Join Now and Start Earning Money Today? How many times have you read this statement?? Simply put… fast and/or big money promises are totally unrealistic. Any Legitimate Online Business will never make this ridiculous statement. For instance, WA will layout actual proven facts and help you to better understand how the “initial” process works and how to get traffic to your chosen website. WA will also explain the MANY ways in which you can make money from your website. We teach you all about the proper techniques to build and scale your business at Wealthy Affiliate.
“Join Today or Miss Out”
Online scammers like to use the coaxing trick of luring you in by stating “That you might miss out if you don’t act now”. Please don’t fall for this. Any Legitimate Online Business opportunity will still be there the next day, next week or next year offering the same deal. Be aware of this and remember bad programs or online scams usually disappear within a few months, although sadly, they only regenerate again with a completely different name.
“Look for a key or padlock icon in your browser’s address bar”
I’ve posted an image of my website address above. You will also notice this is identical to the address bar on your computer. This Wealthy Affiliate website is not only a legitimate business, but it stores personal information. Therefore, it will have a closed padlock or key in the address bar portion of your web browser. This symbol means that the connection with the website is encrypted and your information is secure. Avoid sites where the address bar is red, the padlock is shown as open or no padlock at all, or the key is broken. This signifies an unsecured connection and a potential scam to unsuspecting customers.
“Promises, Promises, Promises”
Scammers are usually the best copywriters around. Whatever the reason might be for them to make a quick buck from your hard earned money, they’ll promise it. It’s as if their ads are written specifically to you, the only thing missing is your exact name written up in lights. It’s very tempting to lose yourself in a program that promises to solve all your problems on that very day. My personal advice is to completely ignore all the fluffy bits and hype within any website offering the world, instead look for the meat of the program. When you go scanning for the meat, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that there is NO MEAT! Most scammers make big promises but are very vague on the details and exactly how they are going to deliver these out of world promises.
“No refund policy”
Without a refund policy, it can be difficult to get your money back. Some programs offer a refund but make you jump through hoops and show proof of your efforts before they’ll consider it.
Only after you have gone to so much trouble and time in submitting a fraud report with your credit card company or bank, you might be lucky to receive a refund. Therefore, you’re better off not wasting your cash in the first place. The other tip I will add, is to look for PayPal as a payment option with any program you are looking at. When the option of PayPal is available, this generally a good sign that the company or program is legitimate as they have to go through stringent requirements to even get the PayPal payment logo added to the site. This is one thing you will notice with Wealthy Affiliate, the PayPal option is available for not only making payments but more importantly, for receiving payments!
The Internet DOES NOT have magical powers to enable you to earn magnificent incomes overnight. Any program that suggests otherwise is lying to you!
“How to Research for Legitimate Online Business Opportunities”
When you find a Website offering an online business opportunity that appeals to you and you’ve ticked everything off above, investigate it even further again before parting with your money by looking through some of these options:
Look for contact information… There should be an email or phone number to get in contact with the person offering the program or product. Please also be aware, that many scammers will use the name and address of legitimate companies in place of their real details. Also note that scammers are good at responding to pre-sale emails, but have a tendency to disappear when customers ask for support or refunds.
References… Look for good quality type logos on the website (not pixelated or out of proportion (copied)). Look for the consumer protection badges like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Truste.org, Alexa Ranking, i-Cop.org. If you do happen to see these logos present on the website, make sure you click on each one to see if you are actually taken to the consumer’s site where the information is located.
Look up the domain… on the WhoisDomainTools.com website and view the full registration details. One example you should be looking for is the phone number, just make sure it is not listed as 1234567890. Also note: scammers will make their information private. Although that doesn’t mean a private registration is a scam.
If the website or product makes other claims, such as winning awards or is endorsed by someone you would normally trust such as a doctor or celebrity, just do a Google search to verify these endorsements.
“Read the guarantee and refund policies”
All legitimate business opportunities will offer a guarantee, such as a 30 day, 100% money back guarantee. At Wealthy Affiliate, we don’t offer a money back guarantee, instead, we offer a completely free sign up process and trial for as long as you like with no out of pocket expense. With this, you will also get two free websites, full support of an 850,000 strong community offering help and support since 2005. This also includes a phenomenal amount of tools and training that would normally cost you a university degree out in the real world.
“Understand exactly what work-at-home programs entail”
Some if not most programs are filled with hype and unrealistic promises, plus little or no information on what you’ll actually be doing to earn money from the internet. If you get to the end of the sales page and don’t know how the money is made, walk away.
If you click the following link: What Is The Wealthy Affiliate you will read exactly what we offer our new Wealthy Affiliate members and how you will apply your passion to earning continuous revenue from the internet.
“Training and support”
There’s a lot that goes into creating or buying a business opportunity including learning about the products or services you’ll be using or selling and what the marketing plan is. Scammers will often promise lots of help only to suddenly disappear once they have your money.
Here I’ve provided a screen dump of the Wealthy Affiliate back office just to give you a small insight of the training, tools, and support that will be available to you:
“Read the fine print and/or terms & conditions”
You’ll be surprised as to how many people don’t read what they’re signing up for, especially before sending money via the internet. It’s normally the fine print that scammers will nab you on. It’s a very sneaky way of protecting themselves if and when it came down to a lawsuit. Even with legitimate online businesses, you need to read the fine print.
“Review the program online”
The most recommended way to find out if an online business is legit or not is to simply do a quick Google search using the program name. Pay attention mostly to the reviews and read what people are saying about the program. If for example, you are reading nothing but complaints about the company, especially non-existent customer support or an inability to get a refund = ‘Red Flag‘.
Before I started with Wealthy Affiliate, I, of course, did a google search and found nothing but positive feedback. So please, by all means, do a Google search on the company.
So there you have it. It is a lot to take in I know, but I’m more than happy for you to take a copy of everything I’ve written, or simply ‘Bookmark’ the website onto your computer so you can easily scan back through all the steps again if you happen to come across anything of interest on the internet.
I hope this has helped you in a better understanding of how to stay safe online. If you have anything to add or you would like to know more about Wealthy Affiliate, please leave a comment below and I will endeavor to reply to your post as soon as possible.
All the best…
Founder of ‘Legitimate Online Business‘