Avoid the Scams: Red Flags

The following was guest blogged by Steve from I’ve Tried That.

This is part two in a three part series about making money online and avoiding the scams that are out there. Read part one here.

Here is a list of common themes you’ll see on illegitimate websites. If you come across any of these on a presell page, you better hold off on completing any transactions. All of these can be considered red-flags that you’re about to waste money.

“Anyone can do it!”

Ah, the most popular slogan with no real backing. If anyone can do it, then why isn’t everybody already doing it? Perhaps the ‘it’ they are referring to in the sentence is the ability to fill out a form with proper credit card information in order to give money away. If that’s the case, then yes, a lot of people can get scammed. If anyone could make thousands of dollars online, poverty and unemployment would cease to exist. Everyone would be sitting inside making money online. The truth is that a lot of people will be suckered into believing they can make money online. That’s a pretty important difference.

High-Pressure Sales Tactics

The most common tactic here is literally a clock that is ticking away. If you don’t make a purchase before that clock hits zero, then you’ll severely lose out on a great deal. Can’t you see the previous sale prices with strike marks through them right next to the current sale price? It’s not like HTML is permanent and you can’t edit it after publishing. If it isn’t a clock then it is probably tomorrow’s date. Refresh the page and the clock will start ticking all over again. Go back tomorrow and you’ll see it’s always the next day that the sale ends. No matter what tactic it is, they are trying to force you to make a decision without properly thinking it over. Don’t give in.

Shady Images

There are two major image themes that pop up consistently with these online scams. First, is wealthy stock photography: fancy cars, million-dollar homes, yachts, people holding fistfuls of cash, and beautiful tropical resorts. These pictures lead you to believe that you can live this luxurious life after buying into this program. The second set of images usually portrays some sort of Clickbank, PayPal, or bank account that has thousands upon thousands of dollars currently deposited into it. Anyone with even a beginner’s knowledge of Photoshop (or Microsoft Paint for that matter) can doctor a screen shot in seconds. Suddenly, a mediocre bank account has turned into Bill Gate’s personal account. The only difference that will happen in your bank account will be a loss of money, not a gain.

Million Dollar Formulas

This is what should set the red flags off, but usually it encourages a buyer into completing a sale. The seller usually claims to have stumbled upon the secret to making money online. Think about this logically for a minute. If the seller is thousands of dollars per week/day/second/whatever, why the hell would they sell their techniques for a measly $49? First off, whatever market the seller was operating in would quickly become over-saturated and prove less effective. No one would want to compromise that.

Second, why would it cost only $49 to learn how to make tens of thousands of dollars? We need to look to real life for a minute. Those earning high-five or even six figure salaries are those with college degrees. Now, the average cost of a college degree is about $50,000 and that is just in tuition and administrative costs. Factor in the cost of living for four years and any debt acquired and you’re easily looking at $100,000. How is it possible that anyone could make a similar salary at $99,951 less than what college graduates are paying? As long as you are a living, breathing human being, you should know the answer to that.

53 thoughts on “Avoid the Scams: Red Flags”

  1. Neil says:

    So pretty much over 50% of the stuff you advertise on your blog…

    1. Terry Tay says:

      Yeah people, stop throwing your money away. Just send it to me and when I hit $1 Million Dollars, I’ll send you a free ebook telling you how I made $1 Million dollars πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜†

      1. Or you could just lie and say you already made $1 million and sell the ebook now like every other marketer πŸ˜€

      2. Thiago Prado says:

        To tell you the truth that’s the best idea I heard in very long time. I was looking for a way to make money doing nothing and that’s the way. πŸ˜€

    2. yes most of content of JohnChow.com are reviews… THat’s how he makes money!! 😯

      1. Abdul says:

        Not only he, but everybody!

        1. That’s the tough part. How do you rise above everyone else and make good money?

        2. yeah you are right buddy even i make some little money through reviews!! but not as much as John MAkes 😯

  2. Jon says:

    Hopefully more people follow this advice!

    http://woodmarvels.com – Create Unique Memories

  3. Joe says:

    “Those earning high-five or even six figure salaries are those with college degrees.”

    Deal blackjack. You don’t need college and if you’re sharp and at the right casino, you’ll make six figures. Or land a good sales job. It really isn’t that hard to find a higher paying job without a degree.

    You just need to be “street smart” and a little ambitious. Most people aren’t.

    1. Yes, I can’t agree with the statement that those earning the big bucks are the ones with college degrees. Sometimes all a college degree will get you is a cubicle. What a wonderful future. No thanks!

      1. Flimjo says:

        Indeed, all a college degree gets you is a cubicle and the 9 to 5 drudgery. Stay away from that AT ALL COSTS.

      2. Agreed. These days, college does NOT guarantee you a great future. On top of that, I know plenty of people making money online & never even went to college for a year.

  4. Yeah I definitely agree with everything here. Sales pages all look so stupid and ridiculous that I just laugh at the noobs who actually buy these BS products.

  5. Gregory says:

    Another great post. This is certainly a great place to learn from.

    Thanks John!


  6. Trent says:

    JC, First off let me be very clear in saying I think your blog is great!
    Now… I Like the idea of the post, but not necessarily agreeing with all of it.
    1. I am assuming that like most affiliate marketing, you are NOT getting payouts over $50 at a time… meaning it is a volume game. So, you need to get a lot of traffic and make sure that you have quality content for them to see and hope it converts. Not necessarily brain surgery, and people won’t need a degree to understand that if they read it in an ebook.
    2. I love the fact that while reading the post I saw an ad for “$5000 dollar a week” reverse funnel system. Wonder how much that costs πŸ™‚
    3. I truly believe that “Anyone can do it”, it is just a matter of working your butt off. Something tells me that the people having the most success in this business aren’t really that much “better off ” than others. Like most “jobs” the people on top aren’t always the smartest, or best. They more often than not have gotten lucky and/or have worked really hard to get what they want. Something ” anyone can do ” even though most will not.

    All that being said, I do agree that most ebooks online suck, and there are a ton of crooks out there waiting to suck your money from your bank account. Moral of the story is don’t wait for life to hand you the perfect lifestyle… get off your butt, work hard and take it!!

    1. Flimjo says:

      Great points. I think, too, that the key is working hard for what you want. Most e-books out there are duplicative. Instead of buying them or buying whatever other products exist for making money, the best method is simply to hone in on what drives you, what your passion is, and go with that. Find the one thing (or few things you love) and turn that into a business. It’s easier than you think.

  7. Photoshop can do anything … that’s right the bank balance shown on many sites is made with it…….. NIce post john!!

    1. Speaking of that, if anyone wants the Photoshop boss (me πŸ˜† ) to help you fake a screenshot to use for a landing page, let me know. I’ll make it look like you make $100 million a day πŸ˜€

      1. He he that’s funny… i would like to see that page on your Website first…. πŸ™‚

  8. kineticworks says:

    Unfortunately, no matter how stupid the claims that these scammers try to sell, there will be people in this world to buy their stories. That’s why scammers still can exist till this day.


    1. Pretty much. There are a lot of gulliable people in this world.

  9. mie says:

    very rice aa

  10. I came across several posts about these scams in the past months , what I can`t really understand , is how on earth doesn`t any law stop this phenomenon , they pretend they are rich , but in the end the way they make that US $ 1 mil is by scamming people ! And it`s not about Photoshop , that is only one of the things they must have , a great look , something to pull your eye balls out of your head . What is a bit harder than Photoshop-ing , is marketing the product , actually selling it. Take a look at the Beach Bum – his alexa rank is #4000 , he is on every single blog now , including this one , and there is no doubt it`s the internet biggest scam. Someone should introduce some kind of laws to stop this phenomenon because people just get fooled.

    1. Yea, the beach bum guy is everywhere and you can’t even learn about the product he’s selling until you pay $50 up front.

  11. It’s quite ironical…a post on a blog where you can see tons of ads about these “baaaaad ebooks”. At the moment I see 5 eBook related ads on the sidebar of this blog. Basically you (the guest poster) tell the people not to click on the sidebar ads of Johnchow.com as the advertised ebooks don’t worth a dime. LOL. You know dear guest poster, those advertisers help John to break the income record every month….without those “crappy ebook” ads, this blog would make $8000-$10,000 less every month…

  12. coldtobi says:

    Well, most people are greedy and only see the $$$. And worst, the immediatly loose common sense and cautioness. Look at all the 419 (Nigerian) scams and the Russian bride mafia. One can be sure, that only the persons “advertising” will earn mony. And this is the same with all the “Earn xxxx/week,partime, while sleeping, etc etc schemes.

    “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. That usually hits it.

    coldtobi — blog.coldtobi.de — life is more than binary

    1. tyna says:

      Anyone that falls for 419 scam is a criminal too,how can you expect that someone is going to send his country’s revenue to your account for safe keeping.Somebody that you don’t know from Adam unless you were planning that when the money comes to your account you won’t be releasing it to him.So tell me what does that make you? a vicitim?

  13. Sucker says:

    This isn’t even close to being true. Internet Marketers have too high of moral standards to even think of using tactics like falsified screenshots or revenue checks, and usually they share their secrets out of the goodness of their hearts so that you too can become a millionaire like them. They’re just using high pressure sales tactics to force you to buy because they know you’ll be so much better off after reading their ebook! πŸ™„

  14. This is a good series John. Keep it up:)

    Just out of curiosity do you just accept any ads for your blog? Or do you try to avoid letting stuff like this be advertised?

  15. A trained eye can easily spot scamming sales pages – lots of testimonials from people you don’t really know but are posing to be experts, exaggerated marketing jargon, etc. But I wish more people with not-so-much knowledge will read more info like this article so that they don’t have to succumb to scams.

  16. Thanks for usefully tips to
    avoid scam John Chow! πŸ˜‰

    1. Shame it was a guest post πŸ˜‰

      1. Abdul says:

        he would have known that only if he would have read the article, too busy in commenting!

  17. titan says:

    actually. Too many scams today.
    What you need are avoid them and ignore them. If you fall in their trap, its your own fault.

  18. Adam Holland says:

    This is a load of crap.
    Anyone Can Do It – anyone with the drive and persistence to succeed… so, yea, anyone CAN… but 95% WON’T!
    High-pressure sales – yes, some are pretty darn bad… but you need to use the “take-away” with your readers sometimes to put things in perspective. “Buy now or stay broke” is usually read between the lines…
    Shady Images – would you prefer they use trailer-park images? A photo of their used ’99 Toyota? The sales tactics, images, etc. are their so the reader EMOTIONALLY connects. People don’t buy because of logic, they buy because of emotion. So these pages invoke emotion FIRST, and then post the clickbank and paypal accounts (real or not, whatever…)
    Million Dollar Formulas – Think and Grow Rich goes for like $10, you moron. So does every other self-help book. $49 is overpriced for “millionaire secrets”, haha.

    1. I concur with you 100%.

  19. Anyone can do it, as long as they have a credit card to send scammers their hard earned money.

  20. Thiago Prado says:

    The other day I read an article about scams at Money magazine that showed real people who lost so much money in so easy to find out scams. β€œIf something sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.

  21. I have bought $39 products and made $30k from the info provided in there. My suggestion – Take calculated and educated risks. Learn all there is to learn about the subject and if you feel someone can teach you more, by all means pay $50 to get it. It does not matter of the sales page has a stock photo on it.

    Take your calculated and well researched chances. Big deal – You will end up $200 in the hole over a period of time.

    But, you would never know, which product is a goldmine and which isn’t unless you try.

  22. Noobpreneur says:


    Good point – especially on the 49 bux investment to make million.

    The most annoying thing is that most of the scammers target newbies that are most definitely will take everything at face value to learn making money online.


    1. People should always remember “if something seems to good to be true it usually is”

  23. Ingrid Riley says:

    Hey John, this is a great idea. But isn’t the reverse funnel system somewhat shady too and meets a few of your red flag criteria?

  24. make150aday says:

    so i guess we should not click on majority of the ads on this blog…

    1. hucast27 says:


      “Avoid the Scams: Red Flags” has to be one of the most hypocritical posts on an internet blog I’ve ever seen, seriously.

  25. Binary Ant says:

    Most people is easily cheated with those pictures of expensive cars and houses. It is true that all of us desire them but it is imperative to learn to distinguish when someona is trying to scam us, the vast mayority of the times.

  26. AJ says:

    WOW, you pretty summed everything up right. But when I enter a page which has a cheap design and a long page with all these information I turn away because those are the types of sites which most likely be a possible scam site.

  27. I think the problem is some people keep thinking that they can get rich quick without doing much work. They don’t realize that unless they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, they have to start from the bottom.

  28. I have made it a point to make the least use of credit cards and only on secure sites.

  29. tyna says:

    Most people that fall for scams especially the 419 type of scams are very greedy people whose intentions were to reap off the scammer.

  30. Dennis Kane says:

    Someday I’ll make a little, just doing what I’m doing.

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