How Critical Thinking Can Help You Avoid Scams (By Luthando)

Let’s face it. The honest opportunities in online business are becoming harder and harder to find. The Internet is a sea of manipulative advertising that targets the deep-seeded desires that most of us have. We want something for nothing, even if that opportunity really does not exist. We want to make money overnight while sitting on the couch in our pajamas. We want thousands of dollars to appear in our bank account at the touch of a button. Honestly, it just does not happen that way.

Even if people are honest, advertising itself is a form of manipulation that slants our perspective. Scams are everywhere. Perhaps the secret we need most is a way to uncover what is a scam and what is a genuine opportunity. Using critical thinking skills will enable you to evaluate an opportunity and lower your risk of being scammed.

First, let me define what I consider a ‘genuine opportunity.’ I believe that what you get out of life, you must first put in. From experience, nothing comes from doing nothing. You must put in time, planning, strategy and effort and even money if you expect to succeed in your business, whatever it is. So I define a ‘genuine opportunity’ as that which gives you a basic business idea (maybe a product or service) which you can take and apply your time, planning, strategy, effort and money to make money. How much money you make depends on how much time, planning, strategy, effort and money you contribute. It also depends on the value of the product or service offered. If you have a bad product or service that nobody wants or needs, nobody will buy it.

The many scams that are circling the Internet take into account that you want something for nothing, so they advertise their opportunity as such. Many of these business opportunities are simply selling you on false promises. Some do not even have a product or service that you can promote. They lack that essential basic business idea.

Another sign of a scam is what resources and supports that are given or not given. Some of these opportunities offer training on how to use their ‘system.’ The scam opportunity, or source, will provide resources that they are affiliated with and promote them to you so that you can earn the source affiliate revenue. Actually, the honest programs do this as well. However, the difference is the value of the resource. Can these resources actually help you? Are there better ones available that were not offered because the source is not affiliated with them? Does the source offer a broad informative education for you to learn from, or is it simply targeted advertising in disguise?

Another item to check is who is offering the business opportunity. Do a little research on who owns the business. Are they an expert, or a self-proclaimed somebody? If you can find reviews or information on them from another, objective party, then that is a good sign. If all you find is the proclamations of the owner himself on how great his business opportunity is, I would look a little deeper before handing over my money.

When evaluating an opportunity, look at the proof that is offered that shows it is a viable business opportunity and whether that proof is verifiable. Many scams offer rows and rows of ‘testimonials.’ Look closer. Are the testimonials followed by “Mary from Detroit, Michigan” or by “Dick Weaver,” Mary from Detroit will never be tracked down. You can easily and quickly go to Dick’s website. If he is legitimate, then you will be able to contact him through email or even a phone call. Given the choice between opportunities, the one that provides verifiable testimonials is the safer choice.

Finally, does the opportunity come with a guarantee and what is the quality of that guarantee? Do you have full access and at least a 30-day unconditional money-back promise? Take the time to check the online Better Business Bureau for more information. Unfortunately, most businesses are not members of the BBB so this is not always a fruitful search. However, if they are listed, you can feel much more confident in doing business with them, provided they have a positive standing. In addition to their guarantee, which I always like to save a copy of for reference, pay using Paypal or a credit card. This just gives you a little more security and can possibly help get your money back in case you need to exercise the money-back guarantee.

When evaluating a new business opportunity, critical thinking skills can help you to evaluate what is presented in more detail. Look for whether the advertising is based on vague and ambiguous claims, or solid, verifiable information. A real opportunity gives you a valuable product or service that you can apply your time, effort and money to promote. How much and how well you promote your business will determine how successful you are.


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