One would think that since there’s a pandemic raging on, scammers would at least take a break from their fraudulent schemes. Well, the exact opposite is what’s happening. Hoping that the global health crisis would somehow stop fraudsters is just wishful thinking that has a lesser chance of becoming a reality than finding the perfect cure for COVID-19.
Scammers and cybercriminals have used the precarious situation brought about by the pandemic as a springboard to target more victims. Criminals have even impersonated health institutions like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lure victims into sharing personal information or buy health products with dubious claims.
Are All Multilevel Marketing Companies Scams?
Healthcare is just one of the industries that have experienced a growing number of scams. There are other areas where fraudsters are making a name for themselves. For one, multilevel marketing (MLM) companies and their line of business are rife with shady deals. But this isn’t to say all MLM businesses are scams. Unlike in a pyramid scheme where recruiting downlines is the only activity, many MLM companies have actual products to sell.
Understandably, many people who are now forced to work from home also find ways to earn more money using a DIY approach. MLM is one way to get anyone started in business. Companies like International Markets Live, or IMarketsLive for short, are raking in big money by applying the MLM model to the forex industry.
So far, this company hasn’t been yet declared as a pyramid scheme in the United States. But it’s banned in Belgium and has been slapped with an unfavorable warning from France. When people are looking for jobs, knowing how to avoid online scams is crucial before investing in any online moneymaking opportunity.
A business like iMarketsLive may work for some, especially the people at the top of the MLM ladder who have built massive downlines. But even if it’s not deemed a pyramid scheme, joining the company is not cheap. Sure, members get access to courses and trading software, but the monthly membership fees can be expensive.
Plus, members also risk losing their money because that’s the nature of the forex industry and MLM. And even if this company offers a money-back guarantee within seven days of joining, you should know that it’s considered barely legitimate. Many members have earned money not because they were good at forex trading but because they had recruited downlines.
How To Recognize Scams
Fraudulent threats can come in all shapes and sizes. But nowadays, the most popular methods used by scammers involve emails, text messages, and phone calls. The tricky part about scammers is they are skilled and have the tools to impersonate trusted companies or brands.
Below are some of the traditional ways scammers use to victimize people. By knowing these methods, you can make out a scam before it can do damage to your private information or bank accounts.
- They’ll send an email, text message, or phone call claiming that your bank accounts are having problems and you need to re-confirm your personal details.
- They’ll declare that you are entitled to some refund from the government or private companies. They can also threaten you with fines and penalties that you need to settle immediately.
- Ever heard of the wealthy Nigerian prince? Scammers are good at storytelling. They’ll catch your attention, hook your interest, and ask you to send them money in exchange for a share in their wealth.
- They’ll send you an email using the style and logo of a trusted brand. But instead of using your real name in the opening, they’ll use generic terms like ‘Hi Customer.’
- They’ll send you alerts claiming that there have been suspicious attempts to log into your bank account or app.
How To Avoid Scams
If you receive a suspicious email, text message, or phone call, don’t panic. You can still avoid getting scammed. Here are some tips:
- If you are skeptical about a phone call, simply hang up. It would be best to block the caller’s number. If you receive a suspicious email or text message, simply delete it and tag the email address as spam or block the mobile text number.
- Do not click on links or download attachments coming from unknown email addresses. Better yet, always be cautious when opening emails, even those sent by friends and family. You never know if they have been hacked.
- Make it a point to double-check the web address of the site you’re visiting. There should be an ‘HTTPS’ or an icon beside the address indicating that it’s safe.
- Do your research and read reviews online before buying products or services.
- Do not send money to people you’ve just met online. Also, avoid acting on impulse.
Scammers have become more resourceful nowadays. They lure people with promises that are too good to be true. Worse, they also use technology to steal money and people’s personal information. But you don’t have to be a victim. By learning how to recognize a scam from a mile away, you have a better chance of avoiding it. When it comes to scams, awareness is your best defense.