Funny! When you log onto the Internet, nothing indicates that you have just entered an untamed jungle. You don’t hear any roaring lions or other ominous sounds, and you don’t see any wild animals that are planning to have you as the main course for dinner, but they are out there. They are just in disguise.
There is no particular order that you will meet these dangerous characters, but some of the first ones you are likely to meet are those I like to think of as the ‘welcoming committee.’
Selling What’s Free.
This welcoming committee’s objective is to sell you what can be had for free all over the Internet if you know where to look.
The first thing that you will be told that you must buy is anti-virus software. Now, there are some excellent anti-virus programs out there that are being sold. But if your financial ability is somewhat limited, you really do not have to buy expensive anti-virus programs.
Yes, you must have an anti-virus program on your computer. There isn’t any doubt about that one. The Internet is full of creeps that get their jollies by infecting computers with viruses, worms, and trojans. You don’t want that to happen to you or your computer.
Some spend their every waking hour just dreaming up new and insidious ways of making problems for the rest of us.
Luckily, there are just as many good folks out there that spend their time figuring out how to keep them from doing it to us.
Two of the best-known anti-virus programs out there are Norton and McAfee, and both are excellent programs. Both of them are also rather expensive. McAfee is more expensive than Norton, but neither one is really cheap, and they are certainly not free.
However, there is also a free and perfect one. AVG has many anti-viruses and other security programs available, but they also have a free version. This free version works very well and provides ample protection. You can find this free program at AVG.
Most computers today come with built-in firewalls. Windows added that feature. It is already on your computer when you bring it home.
Just because you already have a sufficient firewall to protect your computer doesn’t mean that there won’t be members of the welcome-to-the-jungle committee who won’t be trying to sell you one.
The scan is, of course, free. The purpose of the scan is to sell you something that you don’t need… usually a firewall, but there are other programs.
You already have a firewall, and multiple firewalls do not add protection. They interfere with each other. You are better off sticking with the firewall that came built into your computer.
There are many excellent instructional courses available on the
Internet. There are even more instructional courses on the Internet that are bogus. They only offer you information that is readily available for free and charge you large sums to provide it to you.
One of the very worst ones that I have seen promises to teach you ‘data entry.’ This course has absolutely nothing to do with data entry or data entry work. It ‘teaches’ you to sign up for affiliate programs and place ads in Google AdWords for those products.
Affiliate marketing can be a very lucrative Internet business.
It isn’t learned easily, but it is a real Internet business. This program tries to disguise affiliate marketing as data entry solely to fool young stay-at-home-moms, retired people, and others into spending fifty hard-earned bucks on a program that isn’t going to be of any value to them at all if they are looking for a work-at-home job and aren’t prepared or able to put in the hundred-plus hours each week that is required to launch a successful affiliate marketing business.
Remember this. Anybody with dollar signs in their eyes, a computer, and an Internet connection can advertise instructional programs. Some of these ‘helpful’ folks gather the information that is readily available on the Internet, package it, write some slick advertising, and then sell it to unsuspecting, hard-working newbies who just haven’t learned the ropes yet.
Before you ever sign up for a ‘course’ and pay money for it, do some research about the subject being ‘taught’ first and then ask yourself these questions:
Question #1: Can I find this information for myself?
Question #2: Is this information that I really need?
Question #3: Can this information help me?
Question #4: Is the information being offered what it appears to be?
Question #5: Is there a guarantee?
Question #6: Will I be required to spend additional money to implement the information?
Question #7: How stiff will the competition be?
Question #8: Does the ‘course’ assume that I have more computer skills than I possess?
Question #9: Is the person teaching the course knowledgeable or well-known?
Question #10: Do the advertisements sound too good to be true?
Disguised Pyramid Schemes
Pyramid schemes have been around since about the time the actual pyramids were built. You’d think that in the intervening few thousand years, people would be able to easily recognize a pyramid scheme when they came face to face with one. The people who dream these things up, however, are pretty slick characters.
A pyramid scheme never comes labeled as a pyramid scheme.
It is effortless to get sucked into one of these schemes. You need to understand how they work and be able to spot them for what they are. There are a few ‘buzz’ words that can tip you off:
1. Recruit: “to engage in finding and attracting employees, new members, students, athletes, etc.,” That’s one of the definitions of the word according to the dictionary. The use of the word, ‘recruit’ (or any variation) should be a major tip-off that the program that is being promoted to you is most likely a pyramid scheme. Some of these schemes can be easily spotted, while others are a little harder to identify. Just beware when you see the word ‘recruit.’ There was a scheme that went around a while back that was sent by unsolicited email that offered an ‘exclusive opportunity’ to earn a boatload of money by recruiting people to sell a device that would provide access to the Internet by television. No, I’m not kidding. This happened, and people fell for it.
2. ‘Buy the secret and sell…’ This is a typical pyramid scheme that you will often see. This is another ‘offer’ that arrives in your inbox that you have not solicited. You are offered an ‘exclusive’ opportunity to buy a secret that will allow you to make a hundred thousand dollars a month (no work required), and then you can sell this secret to others for a substantial profit, and they will make money for you. These gullible folks will fill your bank account with beautiful green-backs. Wait! You are the gullible folk they are targeting.
You can believe me when I tell you that there aren’t a lot of people out there in this world that are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to send you money.
You can also believe that there is no legitimate Internet business that will immediately make you hundreds of thousands of dollars a month. You might someday make that kind of money, but if you do, it will be after you have put in an incredible amount of time and effort and not because you bought a ‘secret’… there isn’t one.
3. ‘Let others do the work’: This little phrase has a pyramid scheme written all over it. The ‘pitch’ is usually for a non-existent product. You will be sent information to buy bulk mail that gives you instructions for getting others to promote this ‘product,’ and all you will have to do is count your millions.
Right! Don’t fall for that one.
If you are new to the world of internet business or work-at-home job opportunities, you may not know what MLM means. It means Multi-Level-Marketing. MLM is similar to a pyramid scheme, but it isn’t the same.
True pyramid schemes don’t involve selling an actual product, but MLM is all about selling an actual product.
According to this glossary of Internet terms, “Multilevel Marketing is selling products by using independent distributors and allowing these distributors to build and manage their own sales force by recruiting, motivating, supplying, and training others to sell products. The distributors’ compensation includes their sales and a percentage of their sales group (downline). “So,” you say, “that just sounds like a good idea for making money.” Well, it IS a good way of making money.
The problem is that it is illegal.
Do you see that tip-off word, ‘recruiting’? The other tip-off that this is an MLM scheme is the phrase, ‘percentage of sales.’
There is nothing illegal about setting up an affiliate program and PAYING a percentage of sales to those who sell your products or services to others. There is nothing illegal about COLLECTING the percentages offered by the producers of the products or services. That is simply good business and more than just common practice in the Internet business world.
The problem arises when you start COLLECTING percentages of sales from people recruited to sell the product. Then another level is added, and it becomes multi-level marketing. Even one additional level is illegal, but MLM schemes will have many, MANY layers.
The main Internet banking and money exchange on the Internet is PayPal. PayPal employs full-time personnel to search for and identify MLM schemes. When these schemes are uncovered, the account (and all attached accounts and credit cards) are frozen.
Yes, sometimes PayPal does indeed misidentify a legitimate business like an MLM scheme. Still, it doesn’t happen very often, and the problem can usually be resolved in just two or three business days. This very thing happened to a friend of mine not long ago. It was resolved, but not without him proving that his business was not an MLM scheme.
This does point out the fact, however, that some are looking for illegal MLM schemes. You may think that you are very anonymous on the Internet, but you are no longer anonymous when you do business on the Internet.
Beware of Lions
There are a lot of big hungry lions in the Internet jungle. They are looking for easy marks… they love newbies best of all.
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I’ll continue with (2) soon.