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How Online Money Scams Work

Now scammers dont even have to leave their homes, and can sweet talk thousands of people at a time scamming has become incredibly easy to do. There are many people internationally scamming, some are even protected by the better business beauro in the United States, even though they target young emotional teens and the elderly like in the poetry.com scam where everyone is called a "semifinalist" in their international poetry competition. If you find a site that's questionable please use RipOffReport Search.


Most all scams we've seen require a registration free but promises to get you back the money within the first few days. Many scams don't actually offer a service, but a package, or trivial product to help you get started. Make sure you read their full terms of service.

Been Scammed?

If it was initiated by a telemarketer or letter contact your local police department. For all online scams: Use the whois search to get more information about the domain required for filing complaints. File a complaint with the FTC the file a complain with the IC3, file a complain with state security commission, file a report in the security exchange commission submit the scam to Ripoff Report, use DNS lookup to find their IP, and dshield for possibly even their bandwidth provider. Complain to both. Finally try the better business beauro online which will do nothing. If you paid with check or cash you're screwed. You can ask your bank or credit card companies to reverse the charges if you explain your situation but try to report as soon as possible or at least less than 2months after scam occured. File a small claims report at your local court house if they wont let you.

Pyramid Scams

By far the most dangerous scams are pyramid scams. You are asked for an initial investment, sometimes as little as $6 and they say you get a high return of investment within a first assignment, or few days or weeks. The explanation and legality of the operation seems very logical, although a little sketchy on details. It instead talks more about all the things you could do with the extra money, giving random testimonials. Here's the dangerous part, you do earn money. Like in the case of the late 12dailypro, they did give a return on your investments initially. This is done so you tell more people about the operation and actually invest more money. People get extremely excited when they make money doing nothing. Being happy they ignored common sense for a chance of hope, like in lottery tickets, they feel like their intuition paid off, and invest even more money.

Example of Pyramid Scams Failing

A great example is Charles Ponzi from the notoriously dubbed "ponzi scheme". He found that he could make a profit trading European stamps for American Stamps at 6 times the profit per stamp, taken they were only a cent. The concept was logical and encouraging, but illegal. He got a few friends to invest, and he returned their money just as he said. He setup a company. He got more and more people to invest. Pretty soon he was no longer buying stamps at all but just paying off the older investors with the money from new investors. As soon as the money from new investors wasnt enough to pay the older investors, the scam crumbled.

Get paid to Fill Surveys, Read Emails, Review sites

These are about the same thing. They pay you a pathetic cents for your efforts. Sometimes they ask you to pay first, for example, a $30 fee/month, and then only offer $2 worth of surveys, each taking a considerable amount of time. This disgusting company called webmystery shoppers was advertised on the news, paying $15 per website you review. Basically it works by asking you to do an initial review of the website then never contacting you again, letting all new members earn them money from mortgage and credit card companies by free initial reviews. They only needed to pay out initially for publicity.

AutoSurf, surf the web

AutoSurf programs are increasingly popular. There's the scam type, which asks you to pay a registration fee like 12dailypro which recently had its assets frozen. There's the type where you view sites, in exchange for people viewing your site. Usually these programs offer little traffic and wasted bandwidth because the views aren't targeted and people rarely pay attention to the sites, some people even make bots to switch sites automatically. The bottom line here is you may get 30 people worth of work an hour, when you could have been making more content for your site, or working a regular job for money to be used on legitimate, targetted advertising.


MLM is a business model running off franchising. You sell products or services that the company offers and you get a percent of the revenues generated. Other signs including paying for over inflated merchandise or forms then relying on you telling other people to do the same for cash. Legit MLM companies do not require a sign up fee!

Data Entry, Virtual Assistants, Typists

Many offer these as a way to earn hundreds of dollars a day, just typing from home. While I was working on this page I got a telemarketing call asking me to pay $398 for a package to tell me how to do it from ameriXperts.com. They claimed to be registered with the better business beauro and located in illinois, when the domain was registered in India, to an Indian, who was calling me in Texas. They actually sell information on how to get these type of jobs advertising the max salaries of people who do it. Typists and data entry jobs are not in very high demand. You have to be able to type fast and accurately with at least a GED. The work varies and can be done in Mortgage companies, law firms, or medical organizations among others. It earns like 8 to 12 bucks an hour doing boring repetitive tasks in a company, which is not a big pay upgrade from saying hi to people in walmarts. Virtual assistants help users in websites that have questions, such as in hosting companies or with credit cards. Again, the demand isnt amazingly high and the pay isn't as advertised.

I've made money on X and it's not a scam

There's plenty of testimonials of people who have gotten money. For example searching "12dailypro not a scam", the company that recently had all 300,000 members assets frozen on google has plenty of people offering "I've made x0,000 dollars on this program", adding their referral id at the bottom hoping to scam someone else into the program they ignorantly joined and now need their investment back. People can be very enthusiastic after making money with these type of programs, but remember even if you're of the lucky few that profits from them, you're still making the company much richer and the majority who sign under you, will have a net loss.

They were sweet talked, they convinced themselves, and now they're trying to get you to validate their ignorance by signing you up and having you agree with them.

Stuff Envelopes/Shop

We provide stamped envelopes that you simply fill and send to us!... Not quite... Full refund if you're unhappy of that pitiful processing fee!!... but you're only eligible to get the refund if you stuff 100 envelopes.

You pay $x bucks. You get a package containing nothing but a letter. Basically they ask you to make your own paper advertisements based on the list of sponsors they have. You send them your advertisements for approval(if they bother responding), then ask you to flood all possible locations that you can, legally with ads like malls, parks, craft shows. If someone sends you a letter back, containing a self addressed envelope and asking for more information, you send it to the company and they send you back $x. They have the right to deny payment for any reason. Always read the terms and services, for example:

The following is part of a terms and services agreement from a envelope stuffing site, in tiny text:
"Interested people will respond to your ad or flier. They will send you a SASE, (therefore, you will be supplied with the already stamped and addressed envelope as promised). Insert our advertisements into the SASE, fold neatly and leave envelope flaps unsealed. Send these to us every week, along with the envelope each SASE was sent in, and your payment will be in the mail within 24 hours from the time we receive your secured envelopes. *Please remember that you must stuff one of each circular into each SASE you receive*. Your payment will include $12 for every envelope we received from you, whether the potential customer ever buys anything or not! Notice: Failure to follow these guidelines will void all payments and future participation in this opportunity. If we find envelopes to be forged or fraudulent in any way, you will not receive payment. We reserve the right to reject any flier or ad."

From Envelopesathome: Terms of Service: http://www.envelopesathome.com/terms.php

Althought it says we may not link this site in their terms(you'd wonder why), this section is protected by Title 107 of United States Copyright Laws.


Nigerian Spam

You're contacted though email by a very rich and important person in trouble. They want to use your bank account to transfer funds. You'll get a portion of it, they're desperate. They hijack your bank account.


Congradulations you won 78 gillion dollars, please contact us so we can transfer the funds. They hijack your bank account.


These are fake emails from banks and online money transfer programs like paypal. Learn more in our How Phising Works Page. It includes a fake phising example.

Credit Cards

Maybe not as much online, but they can get your information online and send you their scam offers. Before you signup to credit cards offer no interest and a huge credit limit see the credit card ripoff report and the PBS credit card show.

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