Online Scams in Kenya are a dime a dozen. Everything from cheesy MLM programs to Ponzi scams and almost anything else scammers can dream up. Remember Public Likes? Yeah, that was a classic LOL.
Internet scams don’t only waste your time but can really cut into your pocketbook as well. Kenyans are particularly gullible to “easy money” online schemes. We all want to be rich… perhaps visit the village with some swirly car keys and a KFC bag.
But before you buy any business opportunity that promises you richness overnight, check out these online scams that many Kenyans are still falling for.
Online Scams in Kenya
The Cheesy MLMs
Ah yes! Pyramid schemes. AIM Global, GNLD, and the most recent one Crowd 1. MLMs saw a peak in the Kenyan market a few years ago and millions of unemployed students and graduates were quick to join.
Online MLMs differ from the more oldschool email MLMs in that they are not mail-based in their operation. Most online MLMs in Kenya will have people give out recipes, trade reports that the company has created, “rare” drugs, stamps, or ridiculously expensive coffee.
Some Multilevel Marketing schemes do seem better because they offer distributor websites. But does that really make something a better business opportunity? Probably not.
If you want to sell products and services on the Internet, you are going to need a product to sell. So the million-dollar question is…Do you really think people want to buy trading stamps as a product? Here’s another one… If it’s not a scam, why aren’t you recruiting your whole family to get rich?
A good litmus test to see if a product is good or not is to run the product past a person that wouldn’t buy it based on the moneymaking aspect.
Do you think a relative is going to want to send out stamps just to get more stamps back? It isn’t very likely. Pyramid networks employ a relatively easy business growth concept, and it’s a shame that many lazy people continue to lose money to such scams.
The only thing worse than a blind ad is a dumb ad. Here is my definition of a dumb ad: an ad that tells you what to do and how much you are going to make, but leaves a huge hole in the middle.
Make $1,000 a day reading the newspaper.
When you read an ad like that, your mind starts working. “I’m going to work as a consultant for a newspaper company or some rich guy is going to pay me to watch for certain local articles…”
HERE’S THE SCAM:
You find out that their big system is reading the newspaper and matching up buyers and sellers. You find a guy in the paper looking for a fancy home and find the house in the paper. What a system…
GIVE ME A BREAK
I’ll tell you another one you’ll see advertised:
Live in a $250,000 house in Dubai for no money
Here’s the trick. You get shipped to Dubai like basic cargo, become a personal assistant (a.k.a Slave) to some angry Sultan, and babysit his house for free. Doesn’t that make you mad? It does me.
MATT’S TIP: Steer clear from all dumb ads, including the following: raise $200,000 in 24 hours, make $5,000 a week for doing nothing, $1,000 a day with your answering machine, live in a $250,000 house for no money, and make $1,000 for reading the newspaper. Basically, anything that sounds way too good to be true.
The worst dumb ad ever created is the envelope stuffing deal. I won’t waste too much time on how the system ripped people off, but this is the gist of it:
They tell you that you will get $1 for every envelope you stuff, but they require a $29 deposit to make sure you are serious. You pay the fee only to find out that you will have to take out ads for advertising the envelope-stuffing program. In your ad, you are to ask for $1 from folks who want to find out about the mail order program. (This is where your $1 fee comes from.)
Search Engine Scams
While there isn’t one company in particular that I am going to warn you about, I just want you to be aware of what some wannabe blackhats are doing online.
There are a lot of businesses that claim they can get any website ranked at any position, for any keyword, and on any search engine. Because most businesses are moving online blindly only to realize that traffic doesn’t come easy, they are more than ready to spend money to rank faster.
Here’s the thing. Anyone who claims they can control search engines is not only a crazy liar but a sick one. It is true that crawlers can be manipulated, but that is about it. You cannot control them.
There are rules for each search engine. They can be learned, and strategies can be formed. That is a lot different than getting any ranking that you want.
I can tell you eight or ten things that you can do to improve your website rankings (they have helped us a great deal) but that still doesn’t allow you to master the search engines.
Search engines are not animals that you domesticate, tell what to do and sit back. They are programs that are constantly being changed. While search engine placement is something that we ourselves have gotten quite adept at, we can’t at this time recommend that you spend thousands of dollars on services that can claim to do it for you.
We don’t want to plug anything here but we do a few tips and tricks that can considerably improve your website’s organic rankings, but nothing is ever guaranteed.
It comes down to strategies that work and strategies that don’t. Don’t spend a bunch of money on anything else.
I’ll admit that this one works mostly on the rich folks who are looking to invest outside the country. Self-liquidating loans are really the same scams that roll programs are, but their approach is a little different.
You will see ads in the back of Entrepreneur and other magazines offering these loans that you never have to pay back. Operators claim you can make $5 million for not doing a thing by using one of their clever loan programs.
This is how they claim it works:
You find a large offshore bank that will lend you $100 million. This $100 million is kept in secure offshore investments that produce an annual return of 10% (meaning a $10 million per year income from the loan). The loan charges 7% per year and only uses $8 million of that $10 million cash windfall.
This is where it gets screwy. The bank now has you liquidate (or closeout) the loan. They figure that you would have made $300 million off the loan in thirty years and only paid out $240 million over that same 30 years.
This would (in theory) leave you with a $60 million difference and the bank will discount this amount and give you $5 million. Credit or collateral are not important since this is done in only a few weeks and you never touch the money until the end.
I’m sorry, but I don’t know of a bank that is going to loan anybody $100,000,000 or pay you future interest on money that you never owned, invested, or controlled. Self-Liquidating Loans are like Roll Programs.
Work from home scams
Not unlike envelope stuffing, I have yet to find a legitimate work at home opportunity in the ten years that I have been doing research.
Work from home scams fill online malls, classified ad areas, and literally anywhere on the Internet.
Most of the companies offering work at home scams obviously sell them as something else. They pretend that they are helping you get into your own home-based business blah blah blah.
But here’s something you didn’t know. Most work from home scams are data brokers. What they are usually doing in the background is selling information, which you couldn’t make a penny with.
We don’t have a problem with companies that sell information if they would tell you that up-front (we do).
They are making their money off the package that they have assembled and not off of helping anybody find legitimate work at home opportunities.
I would actually issue the personal challenge for anybody to find me a real work at home opportunity that doesn’t require some sort of investment. I am talking about anything.
My advice is to find a real opportunity. Most work at home opportunities won’t do it.
How to Avoid Online Scams
Online scams are plagues that cripple many people’s financial capacity. People have done worse things than committing suicide all because they were eager to make a couple of thousands while asleep. But it doesn’t work that way. You have to put in the work.
Here is a brief checklist to help you distinguish a legit online business opportunity from a scam:
- Make sure they list contact information. Names of people that are involved with the website, phone numbers, an address etc. An email address is fine when someone isn’t asking for money but when companies are asking for your hard-earned cash, email isn’t enough in our opinion.
- Most online scammers are too lazy to cover their tracks. It’s very likely that a few people already tried the scam and failed. Do your research and learn from these people
- See what kind of return policy they have. Most business opportunities should at least offer a 30-day trial when you are checking them out.
- Dig up all the dirt you can find before making any investment online. This is hardly a science. Actually, most people tend to complain more than they praise. If you find one or two people complaining, ignore it. If you find 30 or 40, something is going on.
Good luck in your online adventure.