The Anatomy of a Scam

Last time I talked about a really bad advertisement. People did not see the mistakes I was pointing out, and swallowed the ad – hook, line, and sinker. Worse, they thought I was the one offering the free item! We’ll see if I can do a little better job pointing out the tell-tale signs of a scam this time without getting a bunch of requests for the product.

This post will point out a few things you can watch for to keep yourself from getting scammed, but the most important thing is to read the whole page and follow a few links. See if your looking at a real company’s webpage, a real blog (if it claims to be), or just a site made to look like something it is not.

The first thing I noticed was that this “blogger” was from Providence which is where I am right now. What a coincidence – somebody local. The next thing I noticed was that the city was mentioned in three different places and it was in bold. They wanted me to notice the “local” city. If you did not already know this, any webpage you visit can trace your IP address and tell what city you are from.

Next, I looked at the comments. Every commenter gave their first name only and they each capitalized their name correctly. Take a look around the web. You always have a mix of all lower case, or anonymous, or fake celebrity names, or  nicknames (BigMoose etc.), or first and last, or web addresses. No site has 10 commenter that consistent. And notice the perfect spelling and grammar. That is a huge red flag, not mention the perfect lead-in questions. This is a FAQ disguised as comments.

Also note that comments are temporarily unavailable. Why? Because, they do not want any “unfortunate” comments about the product.

Next up, the news sources on the right. Legit sites frequently include a part of an article and a link to the original. In this case they included no links for the original news sources – since there never was anything to link to.

And last, this site implies that it is a blog, but this “post” is at the top of the domain, and there are no links to any other articles.

This is not even close to a complete list, but they give you an idea of the kind of things you can look for. Hopefully these tips will help you catch a scam before you fall for it. As you become more familiar with the way things should be, it will be easier to catch these. If you are ever in doubt contact me, or another friend who is really familiar with the web. You cannot rely on a site looking too good to be true. This site did not, but it is still a a scam. Do your home work before you give out your credit card info.

Stay safe. Have fun!

3 responses to “The Anatomy of a Scam

  1. Luke:

    I’ve seen ads for several of these types of “blogs” – for teeth whitening, losing weight, etc. They’re very clever and well done – people who know nothing about creating a blog think they’re totally legit. They tie into the psychological trigger that says “this is someone like me and they seem really sincere”.
    Even though they’re scams, they are very effective, I’m sure. Thanks for your info.
    .-= Daunta Lewis´s last blog ..<a href="http://www.internettroy.com/component/content/article/3-internet-marketing-articles/57&quot;

  2. Usually those are Cafienated Conternt or another automatically generated blogs, it os all happening because many “gurus” sell ebooks like “sit back and enjoy your blog growing and brinig you tons of money…” lol They actually will recommend to turn off comments, it is less customer supports questions.

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