I normally try to keep my posts in the form of articles related to personal development and communication, but today I came across a couple scams that I wanted to share with my readers. These days people are desperate will stop at nothing to take your hard earned money away from you so I want you to ensure that you don’t fall for their deceit.
I’ve posted a number of things on Craigslist from small items for sale to professional services. Today I received a response to an ad for a new coaching program I’m testing out – I use Craigslist to test out a lot of my marketing material. The response I got was everyone’s dream — “send me your info and I’ll send you a check and then you can train me.” I almost fell for it but then my brain kicked in as I realized this guy wanted to hire me and send a check, all without any questions about who I was and why I’m qualified to help him. The fact that he spent more time giving me details about how I would be paid than he did explaining what he wanted me to help him with raised a red flag.
This scam is popular on Craigslist and eBay and it goes something like this:
- A person agrees to pay you for something. They live out of the country so they agree to pay you by cashier’s check.
- They claim to try to send the money (usually more than you’re asking for) but there’s a problem (customs, etc…) and they need you to help them cover the cost of processing the check. So they ask you to send some money — which they say they’ll refund to you.
- You send the money.
- They take your money and run.
There’s a number of dead giveaways that someone is trying this scam on you. Usually it’s for big ticket items such as a laptop or even a car, but they could try for anything such as a block of coaching in my case. Here are some things to look for:
- They don’t ask for details about what they’re buying from you.
- They bring up payment details before you do.
- They seem over-eager to make a deal.
- They have a complicated situation such as they live oversees or can only use one method of payment.
- They have poor written English and make a lot of typing and grammatical mistakes.
If you happen to receive a response to an ad that’s like this, delete it and forget about it. I know times are tough for a lot of us so we’re more likely to fall for something like this. But like they say: if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Facebook / Adsense Scam:
I’ve been seeing an ad on Facebook over the last few days about some guy that makes $5000 per month using Google ads. So I clicked through to the site and was totally amazed — some average Joe that lives in the same city as me is earning $60K per year in only minutes per day. And to make it even better, he’ll send me his whole system for only $1.95 — yes, under two bucks and I’ll be on my way to making my millions. He even has a picture of his $5000 check from Google.
I think the part that got me first was that he was from the same place as me. I found it to be a bit suspicious so I used a proxy service to access the site and sure enough, his bio magically changed and he was from a whole different part of the country. I have a technical background (I still code my own website) so I know how easy it is to get this info, but I was still impressed.
However, the Adsense check was a dead giveaway as anyone who uses Adsense (and I do) knows that Google sends you your entire balance when your earnings reach $100. I’ve received a number of these checks and I’ve never had one have an even dollar amount, let alone an amount rounded to the nearest thousand. So even if the Photoshop job on the check looks good, it’s 99.99999999999999999999999% fake.
So what’s the scam? Since I didn’t purchase this system, I suspect two possible scenarios. The first one is that they bill your credit card for more than the $1.95 they claim it will cost you. They’ll either say it’s a mistake or that you didn’t read the fine print, but good luck getting anything back.
The second scenario is that they only give you part of the kit and you need to spend more to get the real secret. This scam is popular in the seminars business (especially for financial or wealth building systems) where you’re invited to a free or cheap program that is essentially a commercial for what they really want to sell you — an expensive system.
Regardless of how they try to get your money, the same advice applies — if it sounds too good to be true, well… you know the rest.
Happy blogging and we’ll return to our normally scheduled programming tomorrow.
James Feudo owns the Boston Web Design Agency JVF Solutions and loves blogging about personal development and communication in his spare time.