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“Just Say No”

Written By: Bob Osgoodby

This is what we tell our kids if they are offerred drugs. Well
there are a lot of instances in which we as adults, should “just
say no” as well.

Let’s stick with the drug issue for a minute. The “pushers” lead
someone into their addiction, by making it easy and attractive
for them. At first they might give away free samples. They try
to lure them into their fold with the promise of easy money.
Getting hooked however, has serious consequences for anyone.
Before they know it, they will do anything to get their “daily
fix”.

The smart “pushers” however, don’t use drugs. They recruit
others to do their dirty work. The recruits take all the risks,
while the “kingpin” stays well hidden in the background, raking
in his profits.

The advent of the internet, has created similar situations,
referred to as “Dot.Cons”, that we face everyday. Our mailboxes
overflow with get rich schemes, and the lures they use are quite
similar to that of the drug pusher. The promise of easy money
without work is high on their list of tactics.

There are many schemes hatched to separate people from their
money. There are some general steps however, that can save you a
lot of money and heartache.

First, you should be wary of extravagant claims about performance
or earnings potential. Get all promises in writing and review
them carefully before making a payment or signing a contract.

Before entering into any agreement, read the fine print and
explore all relevant links on their web site. Fraudulent
promoters may bury the disclosures they don’t want you to know
about, by putting them in an obscure place, where you’re unlikely
see them. If challenged they cite those pages that you had access
to as their defense. Be skeptical of any company that doesn’t
clearly state its name, street address and telephone number.

The most popular “Dot.Cons” typically are targeted toward
retiree’s or people who need to supplement their income.

Multilevel Marketing Plans/Pyramids, unfortunately are a fertile
field for the scamsters, and give the legitimate companies a bad
image. Many people buy into programs, whose only customers are
other distributors and not the general public. Some multi-level
marketing programs are actually illegal pyramid schemes. When
products or services are sold only to distributors like yourself,
there’s no way to make money.

You should avoid plans that require you to recruit distributors,
buy expensive inventory or commit to a minimum sales volume.
Beware of shills — “decoy” references paid by a plan’s promoter
to describe their fictional success in earning money through the
plan. This is commonly called “check flashing” and is usually
done in an “opportunity meeting”, or other high-pressure
situation. Never be pressured into making a decision to join at
one of these meetings, and take your time to think over the
offer.

Business Opportunities are also high on the list of potential
scams – “be your own boss and earn big bucks”. Don’t be taken in
by promises about potential earnings, many consumers have
invested in a “biz op” that turned sour, as there was no
evidence to back up the earnings claims. You should get all the
promises in writing, and study the proposed contract carefully
before signing.

Credit Card Fraud is something everyone should be aware of, and
you should never share your credit card number to prove you are
over 18. You should provide your credit card information only
when buying from a company you trust.

Many people want to get their own web sites for their business.
Avoid Web Cramming where you are promised a free custom-designed
website for a 30-day trial period, with no obligation to
continue. Many companies charge their services to your telephone
bill, and continue the service after the trial period, making it
difficult, if not impossible to stop. You should review your
telephone bills and challenge any charges you don’t recognize.

Internet Access or Long Distance Services where they offer free
money, simply for cashing a check should be studied carefully.
Without realizing it, you may become “trapped” into long-term
contracts for Internet access or long distance service, with big
penalties for cancellation or early termination. If a check
arrives at your home or business, read both sides carefully and
look inside the envelope to find the conditions you’re agreeing
to if you cash the check.

Don’t get hooked in buying a discounted computer if you sign up
with an internet service provider. Usually it is a long term
contract, and if you are unhappy with their service, you are
stuck for the term of the agreement.

These are just a few of the more popular “Dot.Cons, floating
about the Internet. When confronted by offers like this, “Just
Say No”.

About the Author

Did you know that subscribers to Bob Osgoodby’s Free Ezine the
“Tip of the Day” get a Free Ad for their Business at his
Web Site? Great Business and Computer Tips – Monday thru Friday.
Instructions on how to place your ad are in the Newsletter.
Subscribe at: mailto:tipofday-subscribe@topica.com

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