Yesterday I started talking about internet guru’s promises, fake systems, and useless products.
Today I’d like to close the loop by sharing with you the 10-Point Safety Checklist that I personally use to detect online scams.
Imagine you’ve landed on a website promoting a “formula” by a guru, or a system, or a product: how do you evaluate if it is legitimate and worth your attention?
Here’s my 10-point checklist:
1. Huge promises, hype, luxury
Does the page promise to get results too quickly, or to get rich in 5 minutes?
If promises sound too big, run away!
Does the guru or vendor live in a huge house, or does he apparently own a fleet of sport cars?
When everything seems too good to be real… almost always it is not real.
Does the website contain banners linking to third party vendors?
If the website is just a container of advertisements, that is a bad signal.
3. Do you have to pay immediately?
Warning. Warning. Warning.
Sales letters and video sales letters can be very captivating: keep calm, and lock your credit card in a far corner of your house.
Vice versa, big GREEN LIGHT if you can join or get something for free and you do not even have to give your credit card!
4. What are you paying for?
A membership fee? Course materials? Products?
Make sure to find out.
5. Amount to pay
This is very personal, because each of us has his own trigger.
In my case, until I have to pay or $27, I may risk to waste that money. I don’t like throwing money down the toilet, but $27 don’t change my life.
If I have to pay $97 or above, I become much more conscious.
Your threshold could be lower or higher than mine, it’s very personal. It depends on your income level, your economy, your currency.
Just define what your threshold is, and don’t risk money you can’t afford to loose. When in doubt, don’t pay.
6. What is the business model?
Don’t pay a dime until you understand what you are supposed to do to earn money.
Is it confusing or clear?
What do you have to do, or what does the product do?
If you do not understand who-makes-what, don’t proceed until you’ve further investigated.
I know this sound strange, but I’m not not a strong believer in guarantees.
I’ve bought products with full, unconditioned guarantee, and then I went through hell before getting the refund.
Vice versa, in some cases I did buy a product just BECAUSE it did not have a guarantee.
The vendor simply had the balls to say:
“I don’t want opportunity seekers as clients. If you’re not serious, simply don’t buy”.
Wow, this convinced me to buy.
Every marketer uses scarcity tactics like “today only”, “this offer is valid until midnight”, etc.
They may be annoying. Or sound just ridiculous.
But in my opinion they are minor sins, not a real key to evaluate the reliability of the vendor.
Does the website have contact details? What company owns the website?
If you cannot find anything, be careful.
Do they have a chat? do they have a telephone number? do they reply to emails?
Try to contact them and see how responsive they are, how hungry for your money they are.
10. Gut feeling
Last but not least: what is your overall impression?
Trust your gut feeling.
If your inner voice is saying “no no”, you’re likely right.
There are also other subtle clues that you could search, but these 10 points are the ones I most frequently consider.
Apply them, and you’ll be able to filter out 99.9% of possible bad surprises.
If you would like to put your Safety Checklist at work, go evaluate this: