Recently, I’m increasingly getting spam comments which refer to (yet another) “easy money from home” program. Interestingly, this time the name “Google” is involved. So I just thought I might jot down a bit of rant about it, but this turned out to be an analysis of the “easy money from home” scam pattern. I hope it’s informative, or at least entertaining. And you are welcome to join in.
Let me say it straight away: The “program” is EarnCashFastWithGoogle, and it’s just another scam. Sure, they say it’s not scam. Ironically, they even warn “not to fall for the scams!” Well, don’t fall for this either! It is scam! On Yahoo!Answers you can find the truth about it.»
Apparently, all the “easy ways” of making money from home with no-names are slowly drying out as lucrative income sources for the crooks. This is a good thing, because it’s a sign that people are slowly beginning to “get it”. Unfortunately, involving a big name seems to make enough others fall for it again.»
No matter the names involved, here is the pattern I’m constantly observing with scam “programs” for “easy money from home”.1 I’m providing it in the hope that it will make your scam warning bells ring the next time you encounter it.
- There is a simple, single-page static web site involved. Nothing fancy. Makes the impression it’s been done by an “average Joe from around the corner”. Purpose: Identification. (Hey, this is just a normal guy. If he could make it, then I can make it, too.)
- Usually, the page will show one or more pictures of the guy, and/or the guy’s “family”. Despite the huge money they are allegedly earning, they all look pretty average on the pictures. Simply people like you and me, totally “unspoiled” by their success. Purpose: More identification.
- Often the story on the page involves someone who was unemployed and broke before. Purpose: Even more identification, but – and this is the real shame – identification by people who are in a bad material situation themselves. This is the real target audience of such scam: People who are desperate enough to catch at every straw they see. (Paradoxically, it seems to be much easier to take money from people who don’t have it, than from people who do have it. On the other hand, it does have logic: If it was easy to take money from people who have it, they wouldn’t be people who have it, but who don’t.)
- Increasingly the case: The guy on the picture will live in a location near you. Purpose: Yet more identification. He doesn’t only look like Joe from around the corner, he actually is Joe from around the corner. (It’s absolutely easy to achieve this automatically. The technology is called geo-location. See below for more on this.)
- Generally, the pictures will be of quite low quality. Explanation: What do you think why a guy who earns all that money cannot afford a decent digital camera today? Of course he can. Truth is, those pictures are taken from some ancient archives (I’d guess digitalized from photographs taken in the 70’es or 80’es). Old photo albums, digital or not, are a cheap source of pictures that no-one cares about any more. The low quality is just a side effect of this. (Another side effect: The likelihood anyone would recognize the persons on the picture is close to zero.)
- All of the family will have a super-contented expression on their faces. The kind of expression that you would associate with normal people who just happened to experience success lately. Purpose: Motivation; Creating a sense of Wow! I want to have such a satisfied face one day.
- Ultimately, the page will show a picture of a cheque with some non-peanuts sum on it, and will claim it’s the payment they’ve really received recently. Sure. Really my ass. Ever heard of counterfeit money? What do you think does it take to fake a picture of a cheque like that? (Hint: All you need is an empty cheque to start with.) Purpose: Create an emotional state of greed, thus inhibiting brain areas responsible for logic and rational thinking.
- Almost certainly (and ironically), they will rant about “all the scams on the Internet”, and warn you not to fall for them. At the same time, they will provide some pseudo-arguments (that is, arguments you can not verify yourself) which “prove” that they are no scam. Purpose: Create an impression of seriousness, credibility and trustworthiness.
- Generally, they will sell you the “program” as something that no-one has thought of before. Sometimes it’s a a new “invention”, but more often a new “unique combination” of existing things that you have already heard about. Purpose: Create a sense of plausibility. An innovation element is needed, because if it’s an old system, why haven’t you heard about it? But, there shall also be a great deal of “good old stuff” in it, because people tend to be suspicious about things that are completely new and unknown to them.
- Ultimately, the program will require you to submit a payment – a “fee” – in order to participate in it. Usually, the amount you need to pay doesn’t seem like anything you couldn’t afford (until you read the small print, at least). Purpose: Create an emotional state where you would feel like a dumb ass if you didn’t invest that dollar to get a thousand out. Ultimate purpose: Move money from your pocket into theirs.
In general, all these “programs” will expect you to take their promises for granted, and make a payment before you could verify their “offer” in any way.
Once you recognize the scam pattern and get suspicious about it, have a closer look at the page, and pay attention to details. In the example I referred to at the beginning of this post, the page said “This is Mike Smithson from Berlin, 16”. Huh, I thought, what a coincidence that the guy lives in Berlin, like me! It looked suspiciously like geo-location, so I had a look at the HTML source code of the page. Guess what I found?
And this is the straightest way to recognize a scam page: If it automates any aspect of personal identity (something that cannot be automated with a real person), it’s scam.2
Live long and prosper, without scam!
- Thousands of Dollars a Month Posting Links on Google from Home?
- The Email Harvest
- Quick Ways To Make Money Online Work, But They Never Work For You
- Slow Is Smooth And Smooth Is Quick - Making Money Quick Takes Time
- Expand Your Fraud Defense Repertoire
If it is too good to be true, then it is probably too good to be true.
Here is an excerpt from one of the pages that describes the program:
“This program is no different from the tons of other rehashed courses claiming to have the latest method for making money online. They’ll show you how to put up advertisements on Google’s AdWords program and show you how to become a reseller of some substandard eBooks.
If you’re lucky you might have several conversions and make a little bit of money but judging by how many people keep buying these programs the majority end up losing their cash. To make matters worse when you sign up to download the “Free” Google Kit, EarnCashFastWithGoogle.com will sign you up for two additional programs with automatic monthly charges.
So instead of getting something for free what you really get is a 7 day trial period after which you will have to pay $11.95 per month for the EarnCashFastWithGoogle.com and an extra $4.95 and $9.95 a month for the stuff you never even asked for.
This would be tolerable3 if they made these additional charges clear before you subscribe to the free kit but they purposely print them in tiny print which most people skip over. In the end I would avoid this program for their sneaky billing practices and because there’s no reason to pay a monthly fee for the same info that you could download for a onetime charge.”
If you signed up for the program and you want to get out of it, call 1-866-341-0767.
Below are the links that I used in my research.
- And there are others who are observing these patterns. Here is a post with screen shots of some very typical scam sites. [↩]
- Or at least it is fake, but be sure it is faked for the purpose of scam. [↩]
- My personal remark: No! I don’t think anything in this program is “tolerable”. Really! [↩]