in Musings

Internet Scams

When I was 13, I saw a post on a forum about an easy way to make $20 a day in 20 minutes. I figured why not. I downloaded the free pdf, read it, and got to work.

The method was essentially me pretending to be a female looking for desperate men. It worked like this:

Post an ad on Craigslist pretending to be a girl looking for a date. Setup an autoresponder email to reply to anyone who messaged you forwarding them a link to some dating site with your profile. When they signed up and paid, hoping to land a date with you, you’d get paid a commission.

Surprisingly, it actually worked. I spent about five minutes a day just posting ads up on Craigslist for a couple weeks. At the end of the month, I actually passed the threshold point to receive a check for my earnings.

I came home from school one day, and my dad handed me a check for a couple hundred bucks. He looked at me weird. Eventually he asked why it was from “XXX Entertainment Inc.” or something along those lines – and yep, there it was, bold and center. I lied and said it was just an edgy company. I don’t think he believed me, because a week later he cautioned me about watching porn.

Why did I just tell you that story?

To caution you about getting scammed. I’ve come across a lot of “lifestyle design” blogs recently. These blogs all espouse the themes of living abroad, working remotely, earning passive income, and living the dream. Nothing new, but these types of blogs have always irked me.

Most of them are frauds.

Maybe they do live abroad, work remotely, and yes, even earn a little passive income. But my estimate is the vast majority of them are not living the dream. They’re faking it till they make it – which is fine. But they’re selling people products that promise “the dream” when they themselves aren’t living it.

The funny thing is the secret formula of many of these products is to start your own website selling “the dream” for others. So you have all of these people selling information products about how to teach others how to sell information products. Very meta.

Some of these “passive income” methods are so shady they border on fraud. An example includes selling books that you’ve outsourced the writing process to India for. You hire cheap labor to write 10-20 pages on how to lose weight, package it up, and publish it on Amazon. You do this for a hundred different topics, and let the dimes (literally) roll in.

The above method would really only provide you enough money to live in a developing country, which is why so many of these lifestyle entrepreneurs live abroad. They have to.

Like all get rich quick methods though, this method of selling outsourced books won’t work anymore after a period of time. So these same entrepreneurs will then create another product describing their secret formula on how to earn passive income, describing the now obsolete method. The launch of this product is the real money-maker

There are a million of these kooky ways to make money online. Most of them are scams, looking to take advantage of you.

So be careful who you listen to online. It can be very easy to fall in love with a dream someone is trying to sell you on. The love of your life might even turn out to be a 13-year old boy.