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Internet Scam Baiting – Lions, and Tigers, and Bears . . . Oh, My!

Internet Scam Baiting

Internet Scam Baiting
Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash

During my first year navigating the Internet jungle (2012), I spent almost $7,000 trying to find the magic bullet that would allow me to work at home and generate that “six-figure income” being promised by so many. Like you, I wanted to be my own boss in a home-based business. I was searching for the secret to success and being unaware of the prevalence of  internet scam baiting, I fell into the critters clutches a number of times and had to extricate myself.

As Dorothy said in the Wizard of OZ, “There are lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my!”

Oh, my – is putting it mildly. If you have been following my series, hopefully you have a greater awareness of the lions and tigers and bears and other creatures that are masters at Internet scam baiting and will happily take your money, make your life miserable, and ultimately rob you of your dreams, if you let them.

The dangerous creatures have designed very clever traps to catch you – especially if you are extremely new in the jungle.  One of the most insidious traps is the one that is baited with the offer of help, which is what we are going to cover today.

As you read through the following list, you may think, “I would never fall for that. It is obviously a scam.” Reading them in this context, they all seem very obvious. But, when you have been searching and searching for SOMETHING; you are exhausted and discouraged; and money is getting very tight, your judgment can become clouded by desperation. In that state of mind, you can be more easily hooked by an offer that seems like  “just what you have been looking for.”

Let us HELP you!

These words are music to the ears to new entrepreneurs who want to work at home. In fact, searching the Internet for a legitimate home-based business can put you in such a desperate frame of mind that you may reach for any offer that could lighten the load and make the process easier. Be careful, the offers of help are rarely what they seem.

Let’s look at the way the offers are often framed and the key words and phrases that should be red flags warning you to stay away. Hopefully, this review will help your become good at instantly recognizing the scams and pushing the delete key will be an automatic response.

All of the following headlines imply an offer of help and are forms of pure Internet scam baiting. 

You have been CHOSEN!

Who can resist opening a message with the headline like this? This enticing little bait shows up in your inbox unsolicited, which makes it spam, of course – but very clever spam because it pulls you in.

The message will begin with something like, “You have been chosen to participate in a______________!” The blank can be filled in many ways. There was one a couple of years ago before free Wi-Fi became so prevalent that read, “You have been chosen to participate in a program to market “Walk-up Internet Access.”

All you have to do as one of the CHOSEN is to buy this machine that will be installed in a ‘high-traffic’ area near your home. The implication was that someone else would do the installation and all you (as the owner) would have to do is pick up the money whenever it was convenient for you.

Those who took the bait “invested” several thousand dollars to purchase (or lease) the machine; but they had no control over where the machine was placed…IF it were placed at all. There was always the possibility that it could be installed in a low traffic, dimly lit corner of a dive in the sleaziest part of town. What a horrible trap that caught more than a few. Oh, My!

You are SO SMART!

This is very effective bait because it is designed to make you believe that FINALLY somebody realizes just how smart you really are.

These messages generally arrive in your email box – unsolicited. When you see anything resembling that statement, you can be assured that it is SPAM. The offer usually goes on to say that because you are such an intelligent person, you can become an Internet Consultant and earn millions just by advising others. These types of advertisements also pop up on Websites, as well, which does not make them any more legitimate.

For anyone new to the world of Internet commerce, big questions should come to mind:  What do you know about a field that you have just begun to explore? How could you possibly be a consultant? What advice do you have to give?  All valid questions that should big red flags; but, the critters that baited this trap are ready and willing to tell you everything you need to know (to train you) so that you can become a highly paid and sought after “consultant”…..for a price, of course! Oh, My!

You are SO HONEST!

Of course you are honest! You have always known that you were honest, but it is rare that anyone else makes such a blatant statement about your honesty, You know they don’t know you and it is obvious that they are selling something – but, this bait it is usually an offer for a credit card or guaranteed loan to help you start your business (a little different slant).

This advertisement is often sent through an unsolicited email, but you may also see these types in trade magazines and in newspapers. Don’t let that fool you, they are still scams.

The pitch is that even if you are young and not well established financially; or, even if you have had credit difficulties in the past, they know that you are an honest person and they are willing to help you. You may be offered a home equity loan even if you don’t have any equity; or a high-limit credit card nor matter what your credit is – because you are so honest. The big warning sign on this one is when you see the word, ‘honest’ repeated multiple times in the one advertisement.

If you are trying to start a business on a shoe string, this particular bait may hook you. My advice is to delete them immediately because they are usually Ponzi schemes (which we will discuss later) or they are an attempt to get your personal information to steal your identity. Oh, My!

You DESERVE our help!

One of the things that most people struggle with is the belief that they are somehow undeserving of the best things that life has to offer. Yet, somewhere deep inside, there is always a quiet little voice that tells you that you really are deserving. This is just human nature and can be used against you as bait by the Internet jungle critters to lure unsuspecting innocents into their traps. You want help and they are offering it.

Sometimes this bait comes in many disguises. It can be used to lure you into making risky investments for quick returns, to establish off-shore bank accounts, or buy land in foreign countries.

Some offers are for free goods and services, or membership in a “buying club,” which is a tricky one because there are many legitimate buying clubs that offer great discounts on brand name merchandize. The difference is that the legitimate buying club offers do not arrive in your inbox as unsolicited mail. Oh, My!

You can be NUMBER ONE!

Everyone wants to be Number One in something, so this bait has great appeal – because maybe this will be your chance! This is a particularly dangerous when you are just venturing into the Internet world and see an advertisement that guarantees to place your Website, or company the NUMBER ONE spot in Google search results. We all want that!

The hard cold fact about rankings in Google search results (or rankings in any search engine) is that it can take years to gain a Page Rank of seven or better. Top page ranks in search results can be one of the hardest tasks in all Internet marketing.

No one can fulfill a promise to make you (or your company) Number One in all search engine results over a short period of time.

There are definitely some ways to improve your PageRank in search engine results, but they all take time, energy, and know-how. There is no magic bullet. Don’t take this bait! Oh, My!

Success can be EASY for YOU!

Everybody hopes to find the easy way to be successful. Even though most of us are willing to put forth the necessary time and effort, there is always the lazy side (and we all have it) that would like to do as little as possible to achieve our goals. For that reason, bait that promises easy success is extremely tempting.

These advertisements sometimes arrive as unsolicited mail in your inbox; but, they can also be found all over the Internet, plus in newspapers and magazines, even direct mail. Easy riches – WOW! Very hard to ignore.

They tell you that only fools work hard for their money because in reality making money is so easy that it is basically a no-brainer. Their message is that hard work is overrated and an unnecessary burden. Then, they offer you the “secret” to making millions while doing as little as possible – for an amazingly low price.

There are people who have so much money that they do not have to work, but they were born into wealth, inherited hundreds of thousands or millions, or they hit the lottery (which means they won’t have it for long). Another hard cold truth is that you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than you have of making millions without working.

This bait is designed to make the conniving critters rich by taking money out of your pocket and putting it into their pockets, while they work as little as possible in the process. Oh, My!

You can learn the SECRETS of Success!

The “secrets of success” implies powerful information that is not common knowledge.  This bait appeals to your desire to be among the few who are privy to such valuable information! Who doesn’t want to know the secrets of success?

The Internet jungle is fertile ground for the critters who want to sell you “secrets.” Once your name is out there, you will be inundated with offers. You may get three-four-five per day urging you to buy their book, sign up for a training course, or webinar that will give you the secrets that ”helped one of their students make six figures in only 10 days” (or something similar).

Some courses and seminars will provide useful information for novice Internet entrepreneurs; but, the information is not secret. The information can range from bits of wisdom and very good advice to helpful nuggets of knowledge gained through personal experience.

You can learn a lot from those who have blazed trails. The authentic ones have hard-earned wisdom they can share….but nothing they tell you is really a secret. The information they will be giving you is all over the Internet, they have simply packaged it in a way that may be beneficial to you, or not.

The problem is that anyone can offer their secrets of success; but, that does not mean that every offer made is coming from a successful Internet marketer.

The challenge is finding a way to sift through all of the offerings and to decide which courses, seminars, teleseminars or webinars will actually benefit you.

Always investigate the people making the offering – are they really who they say they are, or are they just another jungle beast ready to pounce and take your money?

Find out who is offering the course and the names of the speakers on the Webinar who will be offering you a product with their money-making secrets. (Both will be cashing in on the money you pay, if they get you.)

Search names on Google, Bing and Yahoo – see what comes up. Read as much as you can, including the 2nd and 3rd page listings. The first entries may be the critters own hype. You need to dig deeper to see everything that is being said.

Make sure you are well-informed before you pay for the information they are offering. The “opportunity to purchase” will be there tomorrow. Don’t take this bait without knowing exactly who you are dealing with! Oh, My!

You can learn to SELL Anything!

“Everyone lives by selling something,”  Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish novelist and poet (1850-1894). How true! We all sell something. We sell our time, our knowledge, a product, or a service. Everybody is selling something and some of us do it better than others.

There are effective selling techniques that you can learn; but, to be successful at selling, you must have something of value to sell in order to attract paying customers. Pure hype won’t cut it, at least not for long.

Selling is only half of the sales process. The other half of the process is the customer. The seller must meet and exceed customer expectations or the business will not be sustainable. If customers are not happy, they can complain and/or asked for a refund. If you sell inferior products, returns and refunds will mount up and your credibility and reputation will be severely damaged.

You can learn to be a good salesperson. Selling a quality product or service will help to guarantee that is will stay sold.

Regardless of the headline, you have to sell something (of value) to be successful. You cannot learn to sell anything (nor would you want to sell inferior products or services). Oh, My!


As you read through the different types of common bait used by the critters to get you in their clutches, you probably recognized some, or even all of them. You may be an educated, savvy business person with years of experience and believe that you are too smart to be caught in such traps.  I certainly hope that is true.

I thought that I was too smart to be caught; but, as much as I hate to admit it, the critters caught me several times last year.  Later I will share with you my views on Webinars and training offered by the EXPERTS, which will also include specific ones that I recommend.

But, for now I want to tell you about one of the slickest ones that caught me. The offer did not come through my e-mail, it came as a personalized letter in the mail, which made it feel more legitimate.

I had been chosen because of my unique talents and abilities that made me an ideal candidate for membership in their select group. Their sales pitch was so slick that I was a goner after reading the first page. There was also a strong element of urgency built into the offer. I had to make a decision by a certain date, or lose the opportunity forever. The worst part is that I didn’t come to my senses until three letters later over a period of three months and an investment of $400.

Really stupid – right?  Now I think so, but I NEEDED some guidance and help in reaching the level of success that I wanted. I thought they were going to give me the secrets to success. You can laugh if you want to. I would laugh with you, if it didn’t still hurt when I think about it.

My goal in writing this series is to help others be better informed than I was. I want you to make wiser decisions regarding how you invest your money in the entrepreneurial adventure of finding legitimate work at home through the Internet.

Watch for #9 in the series, which will be posted in a few days.

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