Avoid Scams: Watch Out For False Advertising and Skip The Snake Oil!

How can we avoid scams? One way is to steer clear from false advertising.

“If it’s too good to be true, it’s too good to be true”, a phrase everybody knows by heart once they’ve been taken in by a scam artist. Now remember that the Web is a prime ground for scam artists. Make sure you do your due diligence before doing anything (like sending money or giving a stranger your credit card number over the phone).

Beware the False Advertising! Learn To Avoid These Scams

Scam #1: Buy Cheap, Sell High?

This site mentions among others, the famous John Beck TV ad that promises (it’s so easy) that anybody can buy a house for $125 (or some low figure) and resell it immediately for $40,000 (or some high figure). I am sure you have seen it, as it airs constantly. If it’s so easy, why tell everybody and his grandmother? Keep it to yourself and you’ll become a billionaire in a short time, right? Next, take a look at this article called “I’m an Idiot, I Think I Just Got Screwed”. The title is sufficiently clear to satisfy even an Inquisitor of the Middle Ages.

Scam #2: Work From Home and Become Rich

One time, I got curious about an ad on the web that promised to reveal a home business that would allow you to make $9,000 a month without investing a cent and without training of any kind (see 66noboss.com for the grim details). I then read the small print, which almost nobody bothers to do, and I discovered that “the incomes depicted are not typical and represent a small percentage of actual participants.”

They even admit that 14,000,000 Americans were participating in direct/home marketing schemes, according to the latest statistics. Do you have any idea what a small percentage means? Well, I don’t either, as they don’t bother to tell us. But what if they are talking about 5 individuals who got lucky by earning the advertised average income amount last year? That’s a small percentage, right?

They also announce on the front of their ad in big letters that 20,000 satisfied customers grossed over 1 million dollars (in how long, they don’t say). Well, we could interpret this in the following manner: maybe their entire group of 20,000 customers brought in the total of $1 million. If this interpretation is the one that’s true, then if you divide that million by 20,000, the result is a measly $50 per customer. Boy, what a business! It’s probably true, but how many people actually read the ad this way? If the ad had said “each”, then I’d be the first one to sign up. The whole set up reads like, well, a set up.

Scam #3: Miracle Weight Loss

Is it that tough to be a smart and safe consumer these days? Why people fall for these flashy ads, whether through the mail, on the web, or on TV is a complete mystery, unless you believe P.T Barnum who said: “There is a sucker born every minute.” And then there is the famous fat reducing miraculous belt that so many ladies are desperate to try. I have told my wife a hundred times that you cannot lose fat in one specific area of the body; fat is lost all over when you diet or exercise. What you might lose is water, and you get it right back when you rehydrate.

Scam #4: The Perfect Cure

Kevin Trudeau is another familiar face on TV; he is the one preaching the virtues of natural remedies that will take care of so many illnesses. Sure, natural products are healthy (usually), but to claim that they cure severe ailments is a totally unproven fact. A dissatisfied client says: “I have tried, just like all of you, to cancel this stupid subscription and have been very unsuccessful. I am going to report this to the BBB and to anyone else that I can.” Most of the complainants claim that they cannot find anybody to cancel their $9.95 monthly subscriptions. This is yet another fraudulent tactic by some companies to keep you paying once you’re hooked up with them.

Speaking of natural plants that cure: my wife’s mother gave us a useful tip — manzanilla (Matricaria recutita, Chamaemelum nobile, also know as chamomile), she claims, cures pinkeye and hemorrhoids. Drink it warm once a day without adding anything, she continues, and it should cure these problems. It’s a cheap product available in your local market. And you don’t have to activate a paid membership subscription to get this product.

Just Watch Your Pockets!

As you can see, there are just so many false entrepreneurs out there waiting to sell you their snake oil. Don’t get ripped off! Watch out for these consumer dangers. Be careful in these very difficult times; watch out for granddad and grandma who sometimes don’t have the skills to analyze these fantastic claims. And be careful yourself; don’t let greed get the better of you!

5 thoughts on “Avoid Scams: Watch Out For False Advertising and Skip The Snake Oil!”

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