When "Carpe Diem" and "Caveat Emptor" Collide: Online and Work-From-Home Money Scams
The nation is in rough shape right now, with an infrastructure and economy suffering after eight years of neglect and abuse that initiated a period of record job losses. Even after a massive stimulus package, folks are still finding money tight, and jobs scarce. Conditions are forcing people to look toward new and different opportunities and within different venues to make a living; the conditions are also creating a perfect opportunity for scammers, who have been having a field day with the growing numbers of potential victims.
Many of those who have been forced to look for income opportunities outside of their normal areas of experience have turned to online and work-from-home opportunities, hoping to find something that would enable them to work on already strained schedules. Some see themselves as budding entrepreneurs, embarking on new voyages to endless vistas of self-employment with cries of Carpe Diem! Seize the Day! -- a battlecry oft associated with and used as encouragement for the new entrepreneur. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with any sort of cautionary note; it's an oversight that I think should be amended to include a standard disclaimer and reference to personal due diligence, which I'll define in this case to mean a "reasonable person's responsibility to follow up and follow through on reasonable research into any opportunity."
It's a disclaimer that could be simply stated and relatively benign, like "look before you leap" or somewhat more enigmatic such as Caveat Emptor, or "let the buyer beware."
One of the prevalent scams that I've recently become acquainted with is the Google Home Business Kit, which is known by several other names as well. I'm sure I'd seen it around and ignored it, but actually got an email from a skeptical-yet-hopeful friend asking me if I would check it out.
I did. It quickly registered on the b.s. meter, and a bit more Googling provided some links that appeared to confirm my suspicions.
Over the fold, I provide some links and excerpts from sites that have already taken it upon themselves to do the heavy lifting and expose this particular scam; please check 'em out and share 'em. By educating ourselves and sharing information, we can diminish the effective impact of these scammers and hopefully help save a few of our fellow citizens before they find themselves counted among the victims of these schemes.
OK -- let's dive right in. There's a good article exposing the Google Business Kit scam available from Revewopedia titled Google Home Business Kit Review, which provides a few great image examples of some of the scam sites:
Here's a site I found, too:
But check out the fine print disclaimer:
There's a lot more information available at the WorkAtHomeTruth blog entry by Michael S. Brown from April 17, 2009 entitled Make Money Posting Links On Google Scam. Most important of all, however, is the list of sites provided by a note at the bottom of the entry from Paul Schlegel, the founder of WorkAtHomeTruth: a huge list of known scam sites.
Here's a short excerpt, taken from somewhere midway through:
- www.My Google Cash.info | Richard Plante
- www.My Google Money Blog.com | Lillie
- www.My Google Money Secret.com | Steve Anderson
- www.My Government Business Grants.com | Jeff Donahue
- www.My Gov Grant Success.com | Dave Collins
- www.My Govt Bailout.com | Jim Jill
- www.My Govt Stimulus.com | Jessica
- www.My Grant Secret.com | Jack
- www.My Grants Story.com | Rob Anderson
- www.My Grant Story.net | Kevin Hoeffer
- www.My Grant Success Story.com | David Williams
- www.My MoneyBlog.com | Scott Hunter Married
One of the most in-depth pieces comes from an article by The Electron Plumber, dated April 17 2009. Here's some salient points:
How do these earn at home working for Google blog sites work? Can you really make money online, and will it only cost $1 to find out how to make thousands of dollars a month working a couple of hours a day from home? And does Google really pay people to post links? Well, yes and no. For a detailed explanation of how the whole thing works, check out The Easy Google Profit Scam.
Why is this a scam in my opinion? And how can you, gentle reader, spot these types of scams for yourself?
- Check out the Comments section. There is no where to actually enter comments! They’ve all very likely been faked.
- Google does actually pay people, but only through it’s Adsense program. It’s what automatically puts context sensitive ads on websites and the most popular internet advertising program in the world. They pay out 30-60 days AFTER a link has been clicked, NOT 72 hours. And then typically they only pay out a couple of CENTS per click.
- For the Google Biz Kit and Internet Biz Kit, you only need to spend $1 and $1.95 for shipping, which should raise some flags. Shipping charge for an electronic delivery? What? What the blog fails to tell you is that likely before you figure it out, your "7 day trial" will be up and they’ll whack your credit card for $150 combined.
Check out the very very fine print at the bottom of the Google Start-up Kit page that Mary’s "blog" links to:billed seventy one dollars and twenty one cents USD monthly for the continued access to the software. No refunds will be given for failure to use the requested and provided services. You may cancel at anytime by writing to 51 W. Center St. #621, Orem UT, 84057 or calling 877-208-6571.
By submitting this form I authorize Fresh Keyword Ideas to immediately charge my credit card for instant access to the Instant Google kit. I hereby request that Fresh Keyword Ideas activate my account and authorize them to advance funds as indicated. Monthly Service fees will commence seven days from the date of this purchase, and will be billed monthly thereafter. After the seven day trial you will be
And hidden at the very very bottom of the www.my-internet-payday.com page:
* When you order the Risk Free Trial of My Internet Payday Program you will be charged only $1.00 (non-refundable) for access to the My Internet Payday training program. You will have a full 7 day risk free trial period from your original purchase date to decide if the My Internet Payday program is right for you. At the end of your 7 day trial period you will be charged $78.64 per month for access to the My Internet Payday training program.
Note, that is MY red highlighting above, certainly not the sites that you are giving your credit card to.
So keep in mind, folks -- if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. That doesn't mean be an eternal cynic, but maintain a healthy dose of skepticism until you can follow through with your own research into whether something may or may not be legit. Remember to start with places like Snopes -- and even Google around a bit.
Above all, caveat emptor -- "Let the buyer beware."