Careers & Education

Common Internet scams

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Never submit personal information to anyone online without fully understanding what you are getting involved with - if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn't true
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Beware of these scams.

Con artists are more conniving than ever before. They want to get your money, and they know you are a more-savvy consumer than you ever have been before. So they must try new and innovative ways to convince you that you should give up your hard-earned dollars. Here are some common Internet scams you should look out for.

Modeling Scams

Modeling scams are big business. New modeling agencies are popping up in cities across the country trying to get you to purchase photographs from them. Modeling con artists will post Internet ads or send out e-mails to you, telling you that you've been referred to by a friend to become a model.

In these e-mails the con artists will lay it on thick. They will try to tell you how much money you can make being a model and that you can get rich quick in a growing industry.

The ads or e-mails will give you a phone number to a modeling agent. When you call that person, he or she will ask you to come in for a modeling meeting. When you're at the meeting, you realize you aren't all that special. Dozens of other people they supposedly identified as prospective models are also sitting in the room.

During the meeting you will hear the modeling spiel. They will tell you how successful their agency is at picking big-time models and getting them plenty of work. They will then tell you that all you have to do is pick up the up-front cost of buying their photography sessions. These sessions can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars each. Their goal is to convince even just a handful of would-be models to purchase the photography sessions.

The scam works because very few people ever really become top models. Yes, it can happen. However, the majority of people who buy these photography sessions really only get one thing: a book of pictures of themselves.


Fake Degrees Scams

Plenty of e-mails are circulating online, telling you that you can get a college degree within a couple weeks or that you can obtain a college diploma based on your life experience.

These organizations may even have spectacular-sounding names like Columbia State University, which is an organization raided by the FBI. But what these organizations don't have is true accreditation for their degrees or diplomas. They just want your money.

If you get an e-mail from an organization telling you that you can earn a degree within a few weeks from home after you pay a fee, think long and hard before you do it. Be sure to check out the organization with college and university accreditation groups to find out if the school is legitimate. Typically these types of groups only want you to pay a fee. Then they pocket the money, and you're left with a degree from a bogus college.

Work-from-Home Scams

Work-from-home scams are perhaps the most abundant type of scam on the Internet today. These common Internet scams make the promise that you can earn your living by working at home and by not having an employer. They try to tell you that if you simply pay for their initiation fee, you can have access to thousands of jobs as a secret shopper or typing reports or reading e-mails online.

The bottom line is that when you agree to pay money to one of these organizations for their services, you might get a report on how to find secret-shopper, report-typing, or e-mail-reading jobs. But you still have to go find these jobs yourself.

A good rule of thumb when considering work-from-home positions is that you should never pay money to make money.

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