The care and feeding of Internet scams

ID-10079656Hard to protect yourself

Less than 10 years ago, if you were to search the Internet for a company that was scamming people it was as simple as putting their name into the search engine and typing “scam” right after it. Unfortunately, these high-end scam artists have learned the secret to making sure that they have time to perpetuate their scams. In fact, one need only look as far as the latest craze to hit the Internet, Wazzub to see some of the truly stupid things that they are trying to convince people are possible.

For example, Wazzub was called out on HubPages by KSChang and by Robert Clinton both of whom did a great deal of work on figuring out what was really going on in this company (and I use “company” loosely). Yet with all of this great research (and some I did on my own) I have received more comments on one of my blog posts calling this company out for exactly what it is – a scam. In fact, here is one of the comments that I got for calling this exactly what it is:

You call yourself a marketing person or a person that know how to make money online !?
No you can’t do any of those things you are just a stupid person that the only thing you do online is create this kind of blogs and then delete aprove modify comments that’s what you do you really don’t have the slightest idea what is making money online and you have no possibility of teaching me what is an online business or a Scam I have been in this business for far too long more than you can imagine and I’m telling you that is more then normal that a company that’s going to pay you for any services ask for your personal information like adress phone number email first and last name and even bank information or some kind of online payment processor!
So my dear put a sock in it and learn something before making a fool out of yourself….

Now interestingly enough, in no way, shape or form did I ever call myself a marketing person. I have been accused of a lot of things in my lifetime but being stupid was not one of them. Also, before I go any further I want to say one thing because I’ve been accused of this NUMEROUS times: I HAVE NEVER BEEN TAKEN IN BY AN INTERNET SCAM. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the tactics these bozos use to lure in unsuspecting “workers”.

Lets play search engine roulette

Most of us when we are investigating something turn to a search engine as a way of getting some additional information. However, as the Google Panda update proved, stuffing keywords into documents, videos and images can have a significant impact on where things rank in search engines. These scam artists have learned this trick and they have also discovered the value of buying cheap domain names and making sure that information that they want people to see gets published. In many cases (not all) you can do a free plagiarism search and you’ll find that the contents of these scam sites is duplicated across many platforms including Blogger, WordPress and cheap domains from GoDaddy or other similar services.

Article writing and marketing

Regardless of how hard Google has tried to stop low quality content, websites, content writers and marketers have discovered that writing a lot of positive information is still effective. In fact, if you take a look at the screen shots to the right, you’ll see that if you put in “just been paid scam” what you actually get are a batch of really positive articles written by the people who have been conned into this Ponzi scheme. Back in the “old” days, scams were scams and there was usually a batch of “negative press” on the Internet, but since these guys have smartened up, they are using the keywords for their scam and the word scam to make sure that the positive information gets ranked higher in the search engines. Of course, the more people they con, the more people that write positive information. In fact one of these “cheerleader” sites states this little gem under FAQs answered by Frederick Mann:

Question: How are your “investment programs” different from ponzi schemes?
Answer: We do our best to identify legitimate programs, but we can’t guarantee their legitimacy.
There’s always a risk that an “investment program” is a ponzi from the outset, or will later become a ponzi.

Then there’s the video blitz

What I find so amusing is that people actually go on video and talk about these scams. In the case of Just Been Paid (which is a Ponzi scheme by the admission of the founder, con artist Frederick Mann) there are hundreds of videos out there that also contain the keywords “scam” and “just been paid” which of course means that anyone who is trying to find real information is going to get a sales job with a link to the scamming site. The problem is that this type of marketing technique is effective for the simple reason that people DO NOT want to believe they are being scammed.

Now here’s the thing: The comment that Frederick Mann made about this particular program and how it works is this:

““JustBeenPaid! provides the total solution to this problem. Because it has member-to-member payments, the company never has anyone’s money to run away with.” Keep in mind, that means NO product, new members “fees” pay “older members”.

Now, take a look at how the SEC defines a “Ponzi” scheme:

What is a Ponzi scheme?

A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors. Ponzi scheme organizers often solicit new investors by promising to invest funds in opportunities claimed to generate high returns with little or no risk. In many Ponzi schemes, the fraudsters focus on attracting new money to make promised payments to earlier-stage investors and to use for personal expenses, instead of engaging in any legitimate investment activity.

Well, DAH…if it walks like a duck and it talks like a duck, well my friend, it’s a duck. Of course, Mann has wised up and now offers new users a $10 credit to be used initially. However, you have two choices – you con friends and family members into signing up for this con game or you “buy” a new downline. What is wrong with people?

Promoting frauds on social networks

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are probably the best known and most used social networking sites. Not only do we interact with people we know in “real” life but we also interact with people we have met online through writing sites and other networking opportunities. Twitter users often have thousands of “followers” and many of them are not even people we are familiar with. For example, I have almost 11,000 Twitter followers and I’d be willing to bet you that I couldn’t recognize more than 200 of the names in my following list. But I digress.

Social networking has provided a ripe garden for Internet scammers because it has provided them with unlimited reach and “shortened” links so people do not necessarily see where they are going before they “follow” a link. There is also something to be said about numbers. Let’s face it, the more people who see something, the more likely someone is to get sucked in by the promises of untold wealth, money for nothing and other typical Internet scams. It’s like the law of the jungle, and the power of attraction all rolled into one.

The problem is that most of these social media accounts are from decent, honest people who have been conned by the “guy at the top” (or the gal) and they are just pursuing a dream. They have been sucked into believing that simply by “paying” the $10 that is being “given” to them by the con artist at the top that they will get an unlimited payout forever. Yes, that’s what I said, forever. In fact, I almost choked on one comment I saw about this particular program (the Just Been Paid Scam) where a person specifically said it was great for people who did not want to work. Give me a break and do something useful with your life.

You can find these scammers using hashtags including the company name, you will find them setting up multiple profiles on Twitter and Facebook and if you look hard enough, sadly you’ll also find them at LinkedIn which is supposed to be a “professional” networking group. It is professional but just like any other social networking site, you will find a fair number of con artists and scammers.

It does not fall out of the sky either

All of us have heard the phrase “money doesn’t grow on trees”. I have bad news for you – it doesn’t fall from the sky either! You might be making money today from scam programs and Ponzi schemes like Just Been Paid but take my word for it, like every other one of these scams it will fall apart and you will have zilch, nothing, nada to show for it except that you will find your email on the next list of “potential” work at home scam artists to come down the pike. Take a look at what the Italian authorities did with the JSS Tripler scam which is what the Just Been Paid scam depends on.

Once these scams are outed and people smarten up and stop “investing” in them, they always fall apart. Frederick Mann is a serial MLM and serial Ponzi scheme mastermind who has been hiding out in South Africa for years. On top of that the guy lives in some fantasy land where he believes that you never have to pay income taxes and that the IRS is not a legitimate organization. Also one final thing: There’s a red flag here that most of us should be able to recognize right off the bat. Stop and think about this: How many legitimate online opportunities DO NOT offer users the ability to receive money to their PayPal account? Enough said….

About Doreen Martel

Well-rounded freelance writer who contributes to various blogs, paid to write sites and revenue sharing sites. Doreen is legally blind and has worked at home for more than 10 years. She uses the lessons learned from this experience to enhance her writing and share information with others.

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