After spending the last year looking for work-at-home type jobs on the Internet, I can say with all honesty that the search has been somewhat disappointing as well as a huge eye opener. On the surface it would appear that one would have to be a crook or dishonest in some way to make any real money. And that method would be to take advantage of everyone else by becoming a con artist. I am just an ordinary guy with no miraculous talents or toting around a PhD who thought he was conscientious and awake to the possibilities of being shammed. I have to admit that I have been taken for a ride by these unscrupulous shysters more than once. Part of the reason is that i am too trusting for my own good. I still find it difficult to understand how so many can be so unprincipled and determined to make a buck (sometimes millions of bucks) by deliberately misleading the public. I am sure some of you have been caught in the same boat with that sinking feeling of having been conned when you tried your darnedest to not get trapped. However, there is proof of some great and honest opportunities out there in the web world. This site is one of them.
Well that is my first impression of A/C.com, since I am new to this site. It just took me a long time to find it; like the country singer years ago who was looking for love and searching in all the wrong places. Yes I did, search in many of the wrong places. I am reminded of a movie back from 1973 called “The Sting” with Paul Newman and Robert Redford. If you have never seen this movie,you are missing a great adventure. It is about grifting and conning people out of their money with the use of deception and false premises and takes place in the 1930’s. I am sure most of the Internet crooks have used this movie as part of their teaching course since I know of no school that teaches grifting 101. And there are several other movies of this type, like the “Color Of Money”, where a professional con artist can get some education. I don’t know if there is a proficiency test for this kind of thing, since it does seem that many of the characters who practice this art are every bit as professional as your neighborhood banker. Actually I like these kind of movies since they portray a part of American history like many movies do. I just don’t care for the scammers who try to imitate them in the real world.
So what about the actual scams? There are many sites devoted to describing them and listing some of the names of these swindlers. They are everywhere; on-line, infomercials, on the radio, and in magazines. Even the scam listing sites aren’t trustworthy. After presenting all the various deceptive businesses in their listing, they tell you that they have the one true opportunity for you….at a cost of course. Sure thing Jack! One scam where I became almost involved in dealt with an overseas package forwarding business. This particular scam was run by the Russian Mafia. They would steal credit card information and make purchases of electronics in this country and then hire a rube (like me) to forward the stolen merchandise through the international mail. Lucky for me I got wise to the operation before doing any damage to my freedom and ending up in jail. And I found this job listed in the AOL career job listings, as it was listed in dozens of cities across the country. Even today I have run across similar scams posted on work-at-home sites and have tried to alert the sites about the possibility of them being scams. But no one seems to care much since I doubt they believe me. These Mafia guys have since refined their recruiting methods and the ads seem more real than ever.
Another great scam that started back in 1999, was the tax write-offs that could be taken on your return for investing in web sites that catered to the handicapped. Supposedly these sites were shopping malls and with special upgrades, they could be altered somehow so that the handicapped could use them to purchase goods and services. There were sites selling for $2500 or there abouts for every zip code in the country. When you purchased a site it was upgraded for use by the disabled which gave the owner a special tax credit for that year. The actual purchase price was somewhere around $10,000, which included a promissory note for the balance. Then you could pay off your site note, a dollar at a time, for every one who clicked through you zip-coded shopping mall web site. Finally in 2004 the IRS cracked down on this scheme saying that the upgraded sites did not correctly meet the requirements for the special credit. Yes, there is a real credit available for improving your business for the disabled, but it mostly applies to physical improvements made on your business property. So along about the end of 2004 there were over 40,000 people owning sites when the boom was lowered. The IRS started to collect millions in back taxes as the result of disallowing the credits. But I can see the point of many of the owners asking why if this was illegal did the IRS let it go on for almost 5 years? I just hope the perpetrators of this scam are happily ensconced in a prison somewhere in Turkey experiencing the remake of “Midnight Express” in real time. They deserve no less.
As I write this story, I come to realize that there will be no ending to it. Since the number of rip-offs floating around on the web is virtually endless, I could be here for weeks on end writing about them. That is a depressing thought in a way because that means there will be many more victims taken for a ride and for the most part these scoundrels will keep on pitching their slunky wares. Take for example the late night real estate pitchmen. I know a few people who have spent many thousands of dollars trying to make these schemes work. Perhaps some of them have a bit of merit, but with everyone and their brother attempting to get rich with these programs the vast majority who purchase these concoctions don’t make a dime. Please raise your hand and be recognized if you have made your fortune with these late night dream theories. I am not talking about buying and then selling houses when their value goes up or fixing them up and selling them for profit. It is the methods like using no money down or seeking for-closed properties. You know who makes the millions….the promoter on the other end. Ever notice that you have to keep buying more information and new strategies or go to more conventions (oh, sorry…seminars) costing thousands of $$$ and still you are left in the dark? With the real estate market cooling down somewhat, I am sure these confidence men are dreaming up new angles to pry open your wallet. Maybe they will start pitching repossessed houseboats and water acreage on your favorite lake.
Next I could go into investing scams but that would require a whole other story and then some. Since I am involved with stock and options trading, I know what to look out for and who I can trust. As with most come-ons, it is the promise of instant riches that sucks many unsuspecting people into the world of investing. Low priced stocks, commodities, options, funds, overseas ventures, start-up companies, you name it and I have had at least some experience with most of them. I can honestly say that this is one area that I do trust more than most others. There are far more legitimate businesses than phony fly by night operators, but still the flim- flam men come and go like flies on a dead carcass. You can be successful in this arena if you are willing to learn the ins and outs and master your emotions. That is the big secret that drives the majority of these markets. It is all about fear and greed which is reflected in the price action from minute to minute. You can do this from the comfort of home and earn quite a good living; however it takes time and planning. It involves actual real-time learning experiences and acceptance of the fact the you will lose money when you first start this business. Yes, trading and investing are businesses much like any other and require education and expertise. There are in fact several great teachers and methodologies that are well worth the time and effort to learn from or about. There is no normal schooling for this subject, as you will discover your best teacher will be the markets themselves. Simply stated, your goal will be to find a way to survive with enough capital to make it through the learning period. Deal with reputable firms and you will avoid becoming the victim of some larcenous thief.
Well, I guess I sort of digressed from the main topic, grifting on the web, so lets discuss a few more mis-represented opportunities you might run into. There is of course the never ending list of work-at-home for profit and fun offerings that seem to pop up everywhere you go on the web nowadays. I am sure if you have the desire you can find dozens of them posting into your email boxes as you are reading this. My best suggestion on these hyped-up bribes is that right from the start, before you have to spend a dime, you should be able to determine exactly what the offering is all about. You should be provided with enough information to know the main product or service that is being touted. Usually this specific information is non-existing until you have sent in your hard earn money. And even then it usually leads to more offers for you to spend more money before you get the entire message. Another tip off as to the truthfulness of the ad is if it suggests there is some unknown “secret” that will provide you with worldly riches when you purchase the formula. It seems there are so many of these secrets floating around it is no wonder many of us are poor and begging. What nonsense this is. The only secrets in this world are what the government hides form its citizens and the few mysteries that were never solved from that show in the 1950’s…I’ve Got A Secret. Practically any information you need to find is available somewhere and for free. Sure there are many informative and quality publications well worth the money. Just beware that any claims of instant income are likely to good to be true. It takes planning and dedication to build up an income from working on the Internet.
Another area involves working from home for somebody else. There are many great jobs available from reputable companies. It sometimes takes a lot of searching and time to discover them. I have enrolled with a few sites to get access to their employment listings. Again, for most of these jobs one needs specialized knowledge and some real life experience to be considered when applying for a position. I have found that many of these sites required money up front before you can search through their listings. At this stage in my exploration of work-at-home job sites, I can say the experience has been mostly positive and encouraging. In fact, I even found A/C in this manner. On the other hand, there are many misrepresentations and I have found several sites that I would consider nothing other then….give us your money, good bye, don’t call us, we’ll call you….as I am sure many of you have discovered a few while surfing the net. I also do surveys, and there are good companies that are real and you can make some money. Yeah, I have been doing surveys for almost a year and figure for the hundreds I have completed I have earned somewhere between $1 and $2 an hour. There are a few that pay decently but most have you entered into a contest to win cash in a monthly drawing. Unless you are extremely lucky, you will have a difficult time making minimum wage. Yes, you might have a lot of surveys come your way, but the problem is that you might only qualify for half of them. If you want to try this arena keep in mind that you do not have to pay a dime to find good survey lists. I paid money for a list of some 400 survey companies, which after plowing through, I discovered about 100 actual companies. Out of those, maybe about 30 decent companies that sent me surveys on a regular basis. I was able to get my money back, but know of others who have been left to twist in the wind.
As you can see, this is turning into a full scale book. My overall experiences with attempting to generate real Internet income have been inconsistent and riddled with treachery and misconception. The only thing I can say is that grifting is still a huge business in this country to the tune of over $100 billion swindled every year from the unsuspecting public. Young or old, rich or poor, no one is excluded from becoming a target of these mastermind con artists. It pays to be careful and act in a prudent manner. If you become a victim, do not feel alone, even the best prepared can be had at one time or another. If you are sincere about working from home and making an honest living, there are plenty of honorable occupations and businesses to become a participant in. You might even create your own business and hopefully bypass the untrustworthy element on the web. Remember to keep the smelling salts nearby for when the time comes and you do find a true adventure to take a chance on….you just might find yourself fainting with disbelief.