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SCAMS, SURVEYS & SPAM

You've probably received numerous "offers" in your e-mail, sometimes to the point of clogging up your inbox. I am exposing many of these for what they are: SCAMS, RIP OFFS, and an attempt to get your personal information to use for mass marketing.

Mainly I am going to cover 4 things: Paid Surveys, "Free" Credit reports, Nigerian Bank Scams, and Lottery Scams.

First I'd like to talk about paid surveys. While it is possible to earn a little money with some of these, this has NOT been my experience. Paid surveys basically have you fill out an online questionaire and offer to pay you for it. I have filled out at least 40 to 50 of these. I have received payment for ONE, only.

Here's the problem with paid surveys: Many of them have you fill out a lot of personal information which takes anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour or more. When you are almost done the survey asks you to either buy a product or give your credit card number for a "free" trial of a product. The catch here is that the free trial only lasts 30 or 60 days and after that the company will begin mailing you products on a regular basis and charging your credit card. You have to call an 800 number to cancel, and in some cases mail the unused portion of your free product back to the company. These kind of surveys are nothing but sales pitches with a twist. And if you don't keep good track of what company you have ordered from and when their free trial expires, your credit card will be billed as soon as your free trial expires.

I have taken other surveys that seem endless roundabout things that take you to different webites, again to sell you products. After an hour with no end in sight you realize it's not worth the $10 or so that they promise you. Plus if they require you to sign up for at least one free trial, they sometimes charge shipping and handling which takes a few dollars from you anyway. Then if the survey pays you at all, it takes 30 to 60 days to receive payment!

The other kind of surveys that really aggravate you are the ones where you get 20 to 30 minutes into it and suddenly you find the "continue" button doesn't work. You try to get to the next page and the page you filled out keeps popping up. You check and see all your information is correct, every field is filled out, but the survey just won't continue. You end up losing all your work. I often wonder if those are designed to glean your personal information then bump you off. I don't know, but either way they are aggravating because most people take online surveys to get paid or have a chance to win something. When a survey bumps you off you have just wasted your time and been ripped off time you could have spent doing something to really earn you an income. I've fallen victim to at least a half dozen of these kind.

So much for surveys.

Next I want to talk about "Free" Credit reports. They are advertized everywhere on the web, and often end up in your inbox as well. A couple years ago I tried to get my credit report since I had filed bankruptsy several years ago and wanted to see if it was cleared yet. I had no credit card and the reason I wanted the free credit report was to see if I could apply for a credit card.

Every single site I visited that offered free credit reports always asked for personal information first. Name, address, phone number, employer, etc. I had to fill out 2 or 3 pages, then a screen would come up saying "One last step." That last step was always that they wanted you to enter your credit card number to have on file! The "free" credit report was actually some kind of trial program and they wanted your credit card so they could offer you other programs later, similar to the survey sales scams. What really upset me is the FALSE ADVERTIZING. Most peoplelooking for their credit report might not have a credit card in the first place, and these sites have the audacity to ask you for a credit card number! And again, you have just given them all your personal information. Free should be free without the little sales twists.

Next I want to expose Nigerian bank scams and some of those who mail these things to people. I will update this shortly......

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