Monday, March 9, 2009

Stimulus Scams

The SBDCnet site has a great article on Obama stimulus plan scams SBDC staff member Keith Yurgosky would like to share. To read the blog entry, click here.

This got me wondering about internet scams in general. As a savvy consumer, I know how to spot a scam, read the fine print on all things, and never give out any of my information on line, unless I am the one contacting the source to make an online purchase, and there is a security system in place to take my information. Even then, I'm somewhat leery of use.

Off I went to Google, searching for the latest articles on internet scams. I found some things I'd like to share.

First, we find this particular piece on "Top 10 Work at Home and Home Based Business Scams" by ScamBusters. I'm not advocating that this is the best article out there, but it does give food for thought on homebased business scams. The most unfortunate piece of this site is the ADS selected by Google to highlight it. Guess what? They are all work at home scams. Why are we highlighting comments on how not to be scammed with scam-worthy material? This is a lesson in how Google ads can work against your message.

Second, there are quite a number of sites devoted to telling you--from an individual's perspective--how they were personally scammed and how they don't want you to be. So they recommend a "good" work-at-home opportunity. One such recommendation from a previously scammed individual was "Maverick Money Makers." Further delving into on-line research and we find out that Maverick Money Makers may offer you the chance to make $397 per day, though "affiliate" marketing. That is....tell people about Maverick Money Makers so they buy into the program and you get a cut. You should also know that you become a member of a "secret club" for which you must pay $97.00 per month to stay a member, and you don't even get a decoder ring.

It's easy to see how people in dire situations might turn their gas money into get rich quick schemes once you start reading through the countless (and I do mean endless) array of on-line "opportunities" that promise you can make money.

My suggestion? If you are unsure about something you are reading on line, contact your local SBDC and have a consultant analyze the site and opportunity for you. They will honestly evaluate it from an unbiased perspective and give you the ins-and-outs of possible affiliation. Don't turn your hard earned money into a loss situation. To find an SBDC near you, go to http://www.asbdc-us.org/ and click on the map on your right.

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