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Don’t Fall for Scams!

Get-rich-quick schemes are suddenly everywhere on the Internet. Most of them are scams. These scams are run by massive criminal organizations that leech into lives through contact information, obtaining said information through partnerships with Internet Marketers. These Internet Marketers gain someone’s attention through selling a cheap product to get names and phone numbers, and then subsequently sell that information to these criminal “boiler room” companies.¬†These companies prey on the desperate, the weak, and the computer-illiterate, relying on the basic human instincts of trust in what sounds like authority.

Internet Marketers in the business of selling information. Those classic lines we hear from telemarketers have all been practiced down to a science: to reel in the trusting people and even to potentially annoy others enough to give up their contact information…which then opens them up for more contact.

These Internet Marketers and their boiler room company customers have just started to break in to using social media as a marketing tool. They have bought ad space on Facebook and Twitter all as ways to try and tempt people into giving up their private identifiers. They have used Google’s AdWords to target users who search phrases like “make money fast”. Internet Marketers have basically perfected the spread of their message across the general network; they use our tendency to share information on social media as a way to coerce people into scams.

However, like all scams, this one can be combatted by the spread of the right information. Like an information cascade, Internet Marketing scams can go out of control. People will fall for anything said with the right amount of confidence, emotion, and authority. The vision the victims are presented with looks as solid as a brick wall. But with the right-timed words, this wall can be knocked down and the victims can reverse their opinion of the scam scheme. The article mentions a blogger who attacks Internet Marketers through Twitter. What he discovered was that the Marketers, when confronted with questions concerning the legality and feasibility of their promises, simply disappear. They do not want to face scrutiny; they are extremely vulnerable in that regard.

How can Internet Marketers and boiler room company scams be combatted? Perhaps by introducing new information to people. Most people who fall for these scams are desperate and usually not-so-great with computers. Perhaps if more education about computers were to spread, people would not be such easy targets.

This post was based off of this article: http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/10/2984893/scamworld-get-rich-quick-schemes-mutate-into-an-online-monster

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