Online money making scams โ€“ How to recognize and avoid them?

By Andjela | Jun 30 2022

As you may know, the internet is kind of like a double-edged sword. On one hand, it opened up possibilities for communication and entertainment. Weโ€™d say that the biggest advantage is that you can now earn money from home. Or pretty much anywhere where you have an internet connection. But on the other hand, online money-making scams are a real threat. Itโ€™s always important to know how to recognize and avoid them.

Online scams have been around since the internetโ€™s early days. Just like anything else, theyโ€™ve only gotten better over the years. Even those who work online and who are behind the computer most of the time can be tricked. This is why youโ€™ll need to inform yourself about the issue. After all, you donโ€™t want to be a victim of a scam.

In this brief guide, weโ€™ll look into online money-making scams. Weโ€™ll see how they work and how you can recognize them. Weโ€™ll also go through some of the examples and see how they work in practice.

The ultimate goal here is your safety. Protection of your private information and your assets is the priority here. Whether you opt to make money online with paid surveys or by starting a dropshipping business, you need to be very careful.

Recognizing online money making scams

As mentioned, these scams are getting better and better. It sometimes gets hard to spot them. However, there are some things that make them obvious:

  • When you click on the link, your browser tells you that your connection is unsafe. This is a huge red flag.
  • Always check the โ€œlockโ€ icon in the browser. If the website is secure, it will have โ€œhttpsโ€ at the beginning of the link. Thereโ€™ll also be the โ€œlockโ€ icon.
  • Donโ€™t trust websites that constantly put out pop-ups. And if a website is trustworthy and they appear, donโ€™t click on anything in the pop-up.
  • The website just looks too โ€œflashy.โ€
  • The website has crazy offers, like โ€œdo nothing and earn money just by applying here.โ€
  • The offer includes an insane amount of money. Example: โ€œEarn $10000 per week by sitting at home.โ€
  • An email from an unknown sender offers you money.
  • A website asks you to put your social media login information for a random trivial service.
  • The link name looks like a famous website but it isnโ€™t.

Of course, these are just some of the examples and red flags. In short, never trust weird-looking websites and emails from unknown people. But in order to understand this topic better, weโ€™ll explore some of the examples.

Examples of online money making scams


The so-called โ€œphishingโ€ is one of the oldest tricks in the book. The word is a deliberate misspelling of โ€œfishing.โ€ Someone will ask you to enter login information for your email or social media. The most common way for distributing phishing scams is via email.

The email usually comes from a person that you know. It includes a link, and if you click on it, youโ€™re taken to an unsafe place. This webpage may ask for login credentials for Gmail, social media, or other services. And it will all look pretty convincing.

Even if an email is from a known person, donโ€™t ever click on anything if it looks suspicious. That person has fallen for the scam and has their email hacked. The hijackers are now sending the same scam email from their address. Aside from emails, phishing scams are spread through social media and messaging platforms.

One of the common phishing messages includes โ€œhey check out this photo of you.โ€ But when you click on the link, youโ€™re taken down a rabbit hole. Eventually, it will ask for your social media login credentials.

Phishing can also come in many different forms. Always be careful when logging into any service. Look at the link. Sometimes, it may look the same, but itโ€™s not. For instance, they can use a different domain or letters โ€œrnโ€ instead of โ€œm.โ€

The โ€œNigerian Princeโ€ email scam

The so-called โ€œNigerian Princeโ€ scam is also one of the classics. In fact, itโ€™s become popular after many people have ridiculed it. But despite being seemingly naรฏve, the trick still works.

The scam got its name for the content of the email that it usually arrives with. There are, of course, other variations. But it often featured an individual who introduces themselves as a โ€œNigerian prince.โ€

This person says that youโ€™re, somehow, a successor to a massive fortune. Or, they make a seemingly irresistible offer and ask you to help them. Theyโ€™ll either ask you to send them a photo of your passport or just to send them money. In return, theyโ€™ll sort out all the legal stuff and youโ€™ll be a millionaire.

Googleโ€™s algorithm is easily figuring it out as a scam. Nonetheless, the method still seems to work as these emails are a common occurrence.

It seems ridiculous, but thereโ€™s an actual person who replies to these emails. This makes it seem more genuine, and thus people fall for it.

โ€œWork from Homeโ€ scams and websites that offer easy money

If youโ€™re often on Facebook, youโ€™ve seen these comments. Theyโ€™re also present on plenty of blogs and news websites. Even an obscure website has these.

Essentially, youโ€™ll see a profile that looks genuine and theyโ€™ll post a comment with a link. The comment usually says how you can earn a lot of money working from home. The amount is usually ridiculously high, often surpassing $10000 per week.

Thereโ€™s also a link added to the comments. But it has added spaces that youโ€™ll have to remove before entering the address. If you do go to that website, youโ€™ll see user โ€œtestimonialsโ€ of how the service changed their life. Youโ€™ll be able to apply, but youโ€™ll first need to pay a certain amount for โ€œsupposed learning materials.โ€

The bottom line here is not to copy and paste untrusted links into your browser. Only click on stuff thatโ€™s legit.

Shopping scams

Shopping scams are pretty straightforward. The idea is to have people paying for a product that never reaches the customer. If you find a small independent online store, be cautious.

These offers usually come via email or through social media. But you can also dig up these websites through Google search. In most cases, they offer luxurious stuff at a ridiculously low price. And when you go to purchase the product, the link takes you to a 3rd party eCommerce website.

They will ask for a payment, usually debit card info. This is where things get tricky. If you give your card information to a scam shop, they can potentially steal all of your money.

Cryptocurrency scams

We all know how profitable cryptocurrency trading can be. And when thereโ€™s potential profit, there are scams. The most common scams are with Initial Coin Offerings or ICO. Technically, with your investment, you get a share in the company. And you also get tokens or coins.

For a while, you might get some profit. But these scammers will hold most of the coins and dictate the price. In short, youโ€™ll invest and lose.

There have been companies that combined crypto with Ponzi schemes. The most famous one is BitConnect.

If youโ€™re not educated about cryptocurrencies, donโ€™t do any day trading. You can have savings in Bitcoin or other famous currencies. But stay away from everything else If you donโ€™t know what youโ€™re doing.

Fake antivirus and anti-malware software

This one is pretty common. If youโ€™re a frequent internet user, youโ€™ve definitely seen these. You click on a link and see this weird-looking website. It will tell you that your phone or computer is infected or at risk.

So you download this app thatโ€™s offered and install it. But instead of being an anti-malware app, itโ€™s actually malware in disguise. If you access it via your smartphone, youโ€™ll even risk getting extra costs to your phone bill.

This type of scam is usually aimed at less experienced internet users. The so-called โ€œboomerโ€ generation is their most common target group. If the website looks weird and offers to make your device faster, just leave. The same goes for fake notifications that say that your computer is infected.

Romance and dating scams

Dating scams are so widespread. Aside from adult websites, theyโ€™re even present on social media. A random Instagram profile of an attractive woman may follow you. They might even send a message. But if you dig deeper, youโ€™ll realize that their pics are stock photos. Additionally, their followers are mostly fake, gained from โ€œclick farms.โ€

If they contact you, theyโ€™ll either ask to follow a link or to help them out. Whatever is the case, donโ€™t ever trust them.

If youโ€™re not sure, just donโ€™t click on it

Most of these scams rely on your curiosity. But although something seems so attractive, it doesnโ€™t mean that you should click on it. Whenever you feel that somethingโ€™s off, just donโ€™t go any further. And if youโ€™re not sure, you can always ask for someoneโ€™s opinion.