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Is it a Scam?



I spend a lot of my time warning people against joining certain programmes.
I tell them that 'this scam, or that scam' is a Ponzi and I usually get the same response:

'It can't be a scam. It's paying me money!'

And I always give the same answer.

'Ponzi's ALWAYS pay out in the beginning.'

There are lots of people who join these schemes knowing full well they're illegal and really don't care. If you're one of those, this page isn't for you.
But if you genuinely don't know how advertising scams work, then hopefully this page will save you from losing your hard earned money.

What is an Internet Scam? 
There are an infinite amount of money-making schemes on the internet. 
Not all of them are scams. But the Golden Rule holds true with all of them.
If it SOUNDS to good to be true. It IS to good to be true.
If somebody is promising to DOUBLE, TREBLE, QUADRUPLE your money in a certain number of days, it's a scam. Period. 
But what if it isn't so obvious? How can you tell the good ones from the bad?
To answer that, I have to explain how the real advertising world works. 

Let me take you back to the days before the Internet. 

Back then, the main source of Advertising came from newspapers, TV and radio.
Newspaper advertising hasn't changed much over the years. An advertiser still pays the newspaper a fee to publish the advertisement in the paper. The papers with the highest circulations can charge the highest fees. The Advertisers pay this because the readership is so much larger and they have a better chance of selling the products to a wider audience. 
The same applies to TV and radio. Higher (or lower) advertising fees are charged depending on the viewers or listener numbers at any given time of day. 
The best programmes, with the biggest audiences, will generate the highest advertising revenue.  
Fast forward back to today and the basic concept still hasn't changed, but the internet has given us a different way of advertising that the other more traditional methods can't match. Namely, 'Banner Advertising'.
Banner advertisements are produced within a set space on the website pages. It's the same concept as before, but now they can target the audience much better, give you different sizes of banner in various site positions and again, you pay accordingly.
Sound complicated? It isn't really. Just imagine the internet as a series of different newspapers. 
You might have a gardening newspaper whose readers are a captive audience for any gardening products. You may be an advertiser who sells rose bushes. It would make much better sense to pay for an advert in a gardening newspaper than say,  a music newspaper that has a younger audience not renowned for their gardening interest!  
So you rent a 'space' that can be put onto a specified, targeted site for the maximum amount of exposure. And if, for instance, somebody googles 'ROSE BUSHES' your ad will automatically appear! Very clever eh?   

So what is 'traffic'?

Traffic is the amount of visitors that a site gets.  
Every time you click onto a website, that click is recorded. 
The more traffic a website gets, the more popular the advertising space is. The biggest and best websites in the world will carry the biggest and best brand names with the biggest budgets. 
And they make their money two fold.
They make money when you buy their products.
And they make money when you click on an advert on their website - ANY advert, either theirs, or their competitors because the advertisers pay per click. So it's in their interest to have the best websites - that attract the best adverts - that will have the highest  number of clicks -that will generate the most amount of money.

So how does 'pay per click' work?
In simple terms, I'll use this website as an example and try to explain.
This site is small. I decided to carry adverts to find out for myself how the advertising business works. 
To start with, I wasn't allowed to carry adverts until I had regular traffic. 
I average 500 visitors to this site every day. Everytime somebody clicks on an advert on this site, the advertiser pays Google a set amount and Google then pay me a small percentage of that.
Some days I make nothing. Some days a 1p. On a good day I make 20p! 
So to make any kind of decent income from any given website, you need HIGH volumes of REGULAR traffic, day in, day out. Preferably to different people, all of the time. 
Based on this information, it's easy to make comparisons
with how these Internet Ad scams really work.

The Product 

The 'product' these schemes sell are disguised as 'packs' of advertising, or advertising 'credits', or some variation on that theme.
So, based on what I've said already, how can you buy a 'pack' of advertising that enables you to click ten times a day onto adverts that only members place and only members see? 
How do these companies make any money if the money you originally gave them is effectively refunded back to you, with an additional ($10) amount on top? And yes, you will probably have to pay a membership fee, but it doesn't make commercial sense.

It's like putting an ad in your local paper and the paper refunding your advertising cost and then sharing the newspapers profits with you just because you brought a paper!  

The Closed Loop

The 'closed loop' schemes are the most blatantly obvious examples of ponzi's. Imagine if the newspaper you brought only ever had 'members' who brought it. Nobody else was allowed to see it. And these limited readers had no intention of actually READING the adverts in the paper or buying the products. They just brought it knowing that they would eventually get a full refund of the paper and a share of the profits from its sale.  
The paper would close pretty quickly wouldn't it? Why would advertisers pay good money for adverts that nobody would ever buy from ?

Maturing/Expiring Packs
Advertisements appear on websites for as long as the advertiser wants them there.
They may change campaigns or have different offers. But the length of a 'campaign' will vary depending on the sales of that product or the sales offer available.
So when these schemes continue to specify that credits/packs/points will always 'expire' on a specific time scale, again, how does this equate to real advertising?
The truth is, it doesn't. How can it?
The reasons these packs 'expire' is, a/ to make you spend MORE money on new ones , and b/ to keep your money inside the system they create for as long as possible.
How do they do this?

BY MAKING YOU BELIEVE THAT THE MONEY GROWING BEFORE YOUR EYES IS REAL.

The formats on all these scams may be different but the core is usually identical.

They'll all tell you that it's best to leave your money INSIDE the system to let it grow.
(Which, of course, it does. Its programmed to.)
They'll all tell you that you can use your 'earnings' to buy MORE packs. 
This gives you the illusion of  'something for nothing'  - which makes you feel RICH and encourages you to part with MORE real money to buy MORE packs.
They'll all tell you that your money will grow faster if you don't withdraw it.
(Which, of course, it will. It's programmed to.)
And, if you DO try and withdraw it before you're supposed to, people will tell you not to! 

'WITHDRAW small amounts?' 

                        'WHY?' 
                                  'Are you stupid?'
                                                        'This business is solid.' 
'If you withdraw, you'll hurt all of us who are working hard to build this business up!' 

                             'ARE YOU INSANE!'


            This can be translated very easily into:
                   If people withdraw -
              the PONZI collapses! 


YOUR 'EARNED' MONEY

The computer programmes these systems use are just that: 
Computer programmes.
Not banks. Not building society's. Not payment processors.
Computer programmes.
And computer programmes can do anything the programmers want.
The fact is, the money you pay these people goes directly into their bank accounts.
Its gone. What's left is monopoly money to play with that you now think of as real.
Vast sums build up. But can you ever access all of it?
Is it tied up in accumulated earnings/matrixes/levels or points? 
  
Ask yourselves this question?
Can ALL the money on my screen, (in ALL my various accounts) that I've 'earned', be accessed instantly at the touch of a button directly into my bank account?
If the answer is YES - then its a VERY good ponzi!
But I'm guessing the answer is NO? 
Which leads me nicely onto the best part:

REFERRAL COMMISSIONS.
I've purposefully left this one to last. The reason is this.
Time and time again, I get the same comment.

'You're WRONG! You don't HAVE to refer to make money in this business! I made loads of money and never referred anyone!

Unfortunately, this saying is true. You don't HAVE to refer people to make money. Your earnings will still 'grow', just not very much. 
And since the 'products' they sell don't generate profit, they need a constant supply of fresh money from elsewhere or the scheme will crash. So they encourage you to recruit your friends, family and work colleagues with incentives and different referral levels to keep the money flowing in. 
And if you DO refer, you'll make the kind of money that the major players shout about.

The players that wave the large cardboard cheques with thousands of pounds written on them.
The players that tell you that you can't lose with this programme.
The players that tell you that you'll make vast sums of money with hardly any work!
The players that tell you its EASY to just click ten ads a day.
These players play YOU.
They make their money from YOU. 
They don't care about you.
They aren't your friends.
And they will most definitely NOT help you when the scheme crashes. 

Which it will.

And these players will just move on to the next scam. And the next. And the next... with YOUR money!



The definition of a PONZI or PYRAMID is a scheme that uses NEW affiliates money to pay OLD affiliates the money they think they've 'earned'.
It's that simple.
They may be disguised with levels/matrixes/points or panels but they all mean the same thing.

                             SCAM!

Things to look out for:
1. Does the company have an office that people can visit?          NO.
2. Does it have a direct dial phone number or email address?       NO.
3. Can you pay using your credit or debit card directly?                NO.
4. Do you have to pay via a payment processor?                           YES.
5. Do the referral commissions earn you more than 'products'?      YES.
6. Does an internet search have any scam warnings?                     YES.
7. Do any of your friends or family think it's a scam?                      YES.
8. Does it sound to good to be true?                                              YES.

Try this test as well, to be sure:
Google '*company name, SCAM' 
Does it have lots of posts saying it's a scam? 
Does it have ads on it's website for OTHER similar schemes
instead of well-known brand names?
Does it have a long list of levels/matrixes?
Does it promise 'to good to be true' returns?
(All) YES?
    
If your answers match mine, then in all probability the company is a SCAM site. 
Companies use payment processors exclusively to prevent a 'Chargeback' on your account.
It's a prime indication of a SCAM and means that when the company closes, you will have lost all your money.

And if you're STILL not convinced, 
GOOGLE it! 
Then actually READ what people are saying about it.
Lots of people saying a company is a scam is the biggest red flag of all!  


N.B.
And if you've been caught out? 
Bare this in mind-:
The receivers who've been winding up ZEEK rewards are now actively going after the big players who recruited so many innocent people into the scam.
So just in case you think you've made money with one of these schemes - don't spend it all at once.

Any money you may make over and above your initial investment ...will eventually have to be repaid.  

44 comments:

  1. Excellent write up Tara - very informative. I feel I have learned something. I have never been in one of these ponzis (thank goodness) but I know people who have. They always argue that they have had some money out - usually just a small amount mind you - therefore it MUST be real. They need to read your write up!

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    1. Many thanks ANON, very glad you like it.

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  2. Great post but you neglect to mention that some of these "scams" use there ad space to sell banner ads to external advertisers, and this is how they make payouts.

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    1. I did mention revenue from 'competitors'? Which is what all these various ad schemes are. I have tried though to keep it as simple as possible. The majority of adverts I've seen on these scam sites are mostly for OTHER scams or 'get-rich-quick' schemes. Not proper businesses. And the amount of money earned from them is peanuts in comparison.

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  3. Great article Tara!

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  4. Thanks Tara, pls do you know of any genuine scheme that one can join to make legitimate income without fear of playing into the arms of a scam.

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  5. This is the best article on internet marketing I have ever read. Would you say that 100% of online marketing websites are scams or are there legit ones that involve recruiting and such?

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    1. Thanks Anon, very glad you like it! To answer your question: I think that all the 'click ten ads a day' schemes are PONZI's yes. And any scheme that promises sky high returns or relies on recruiting is definitely a scam. There are real ones, but they're few and far between I'm afraid.

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  6. Hey, I'm facing a BIG question that I'm asking myself. Whether to enter or not in MAP. However, many people won using MAP and there's proof about it. And when I saw your blog, I've become very very anxious. Please tell me (because that will probably be the DECISION of my LIFE, those are my savings in my whole life, enough to buy 10-11 packs), what is better for me to do. I mean, many people make money from this, and all of a sudden you claim that's a scam? I don't really understand..

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  7. Hello Anon, MAPS is a PONZI. 100%. And in the beginning, EVERYBODY makes money, especially the recruiters who rake in a fortune like the MAPS MILLIONAIRE' Simon Stepsys. And at the moment, withdrawals are being paid, but there are TWO reasons for this. Firstly, hardly anybody is withdrawing money because most people just plough there 'earnings' back into MAPS to buy more packs, and secondly, there is still NEW money coming in from people such as yourself who still want to join. It's a sad fact that the people who join at the BOTTOM of a ponzi scam ALWAYS lose their money. Keep your life savings my friend, don't give them to criminals.

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  8. Hello Tara told every body who would listen that B_B and MAPS was a PONZI scam to good to be true Just glad that you have now exsposed them Carry on the good work Hope that you may save some people from Joining this SCAM

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  9. Hi Tara, just aquick heads up about a new ponzi you may have heard of it already! Pro spring lotto. A lottery syndicate where you can win even if your numbers don't come up! You get paid for getting people signed up to the syndicate (just like every lotto syndicate in the world eh). It goes live in Sept/oct so no money has been paid, but a massive pyramid of people has been built already, waiting for the green light to throw their hard earned at it. Lots of familiar faces involved from maps, ufun and one coin. Might be worth you having a look

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  10. Hi Tara. At your earliest convenience, I would like to find out if you could please check out the Four Corners Alliance Group based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. The CEO is David Harrison. I would like to get your opinion if you think ithw company is a scam or not after you do some research? Thanks! I await your reply.

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    1. Four Corners Alliance is 100% scam.
      Dodgy ads on website? Check.
      Matrixes? Check.
      Referral commissions? Check.
      'To good to be true' returns? Check.
      PONZI PONZI PONZI. That's all the research you need!


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  11. Hi tara I'm just wondering did you find out anything about the pro spring lotto. I've been asked to join it.

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    1. Hello Molly. I haven't looked at it in detail but the guys in Real Scam think it's a scam and that's good enough for me. Stay away in my advice: http://www.realscam.com/f9/pro-spring-lottery-4224/

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  12. Good afternoon Tara. Have you checked out Four Corners Alliance Group based out of Las Vegas, Nevada? I wanted to find out your opinion if the company was a scam or not? Thanks

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    1. Yep, 100% scam. Another one to stay away from. It's listed on my A-Z scam page.

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  13. Oh... thanks for this info.. unfortunately, I have been fallen already to some of them.. I guess, that's the prize for my greed to earn easy money.

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  14. I wish I read this about 3 months ago as I invested in traffic monsoon. It sounded too good to be true and I actually stopped compounding a while ago. It was a relatively small amount (£300) but I know people who have invested a lot more and will be very shocked at what is to follow. Great site Tara,keep it up.

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  15. Can you please check this guy out. https://www.facebook.com/kevin.wilkes.1042?fref=ts

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    Replies
    1. There are many Ponzi Pimps around unfortunately. He may, or may not, be one. Others genuinely think these scams are legit and are just to greedy to see the wood for the trees. But they all come a cropper eventually,

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  16. and who are these guys http://www.newsonlineincome.com/

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  17. Hi Tara, what do you know about AdsPayPro?

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    1. Just googled it Anon. Make thousands 0f dollars a day! Everybody gets paid! Referral commissions! Blah de blah. SCAM Anon 100% Steer clear!

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  18. Hi Tara. I joined LIKES XL. I joined by paying directly from my own bank account and Commissions are paid directly to my own bank account. There are absolutely no 3rd party payment processors. My money is guaranteed by an accredited Swiss Trustee who's regulated by the Financial authorities in Switzerland. There's already nearly 160 Fortune 500 advertisers on the LikesXL platform. Can you tell me if this is a scam?

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    Replies
    1. Shak, 'LIKES XL' is just another 'click tens ads a day' and get rich scheme. Join it at your peril.

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    2. Shaks, or you are those who enter Likes XL in the beginning and you are the lucky or you have as most of us Likes XL members lost our money! I lost lot's of money with Likes XL. They are thieves, only the first members get the money, the others lost everything! Some even put their pension scheme and lose everything!!!!! What i can say is please please don't put your money in Likes XL it's a Ponzi system!!

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  19. Hi Tara

    I have joined LifeTree World have you heard of it? https://lifetreeworld.com/ Uk based MLM company on home shopping could you take a look thanks

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    1. Hi Anon. I'm very interested in this one as it has only a 'registration' address, not a company address. Can you please get in touch again via TaraTalks Facebook page so we can chat?
      Thanks.

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    2. Tara, LITW have just changed their accounting date from 31st January to 31st October.

      All legal and above board, but it means they did not have to file accounts for 31st January 2016.

      Registered under LifeTree World Limited and found at companies house. One or two comments in last three months about unfulfilled orders and limited choice of goods.

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  20. I would also like to know about life tree world but also amazing 5 and forex paradise trading. Thank you x

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  21. Lifetree World - check companies house. Set up by a bus driver and machine operator in 2014 - https://goo.gl/rbV5OX with £500 in the bank....

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  22. Hi Tara

    To be honest, your article is the most easy to read and pointed out the facts so easily.

    The reason why I am here is to confirm that LikesXL have not been paying for sometime now citing the reason of their account been under investigation and audit.

    This is so painful as loads of people invested so much, some even borrowed from the banks just to make substantial profits.

    I hope I share your page in my website and other forums so people can wisely make their decisions next time.

    Regards
    The Moving Train

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    Replies
    1. Ah...'LikesXL', thanks for the info. I'm hearing many sad stories lately about people borrowing from banks and credit cards and unfortunately losing everything. Ponzi owners up and leave, banks will chase you forever. Very pleased you like the post, thanks.

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  23. Tara thank you for you advise. I am a mum of 3 and am currently an independent business owner for a multilevel marketing. It's such a shame as there are lots of company's out there that people can make a decent living from but the bad press makes it very difficult. All I can say is that people wanting to venture into something like that is to do your own research. Just like you can post this they can get the same information. There are organisations that are put in place to weed out scam companies they are not all ponzi or pyramids as these are indeed illegal. I am a stay at home mum with funds that I can afford holidays, dining out, BMW, VW camper van and lots more. So instead of others checking it out check it out yourself.

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  24. Hi Tara, LOVE the website. I started reading your blogs after a friend's boyfriend sat me and hubby down when we first met him and gave us this excruciating spiel about WorldVentures. When he ended his Powerpoint presentation, which we did not ask for, I said, 'So it's a Ponzi scheme?' Needless to say, this caused quite a rift for a while as we went on to explain just how shit and illegal all of that was and tried to warn him it would collapse and leave him broke.

    Cut to several months later and this 'World Ventures for life' bullshit has been abandoned and he's been riding the MAP gravy train, posting daily nonsensical motivational videos for all the other poor suckers he's recruited. Since the collapse of MAP in the last few weeks, he's been banging on about this new thing called USI-Tech. We've been watching a few videos about it, and it basically sounds like there's this unique trading algorithm that members will be purchasing, and the software that you download onto your account (not your computer, cos that would expose how bizarre and false it is) will 'trade' your money in this innovative way and give you quadruple your investment. Obviously bollocks. The guy involved is actually a really good guy, just seems uninterested in getting a real job and appears to be intent on following Ponzi after Ponzi.

    Could you please have a look at it, and give me your thoughts. He's the boyfriend of one of my best friends, and it would break my heart to watch them fuck up their lives over this ridiculousness.

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    1. Thanks Anon! As for USI-Tech, yes, I've heard of it. If it promises to QUADRUPLE your money, I can tell you 100% it's a scam. Unfortunately though, it doesn't matter what facts you throw at people, they won't believe you until it's too late. Thanks for the info through,very interesting.

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    2. Thanks so much Tara, unfortunately i fell in the trap of Likes XL: A well known sport guy, persuade me to put my money in and i lost everything. I am hear to tell people not to trust anybody, even not their best friends if they tried to make them put their money in Likes XL. I can tell firmly that it is a real ponzi nightmare! Don't be anotehr of their victims!!!

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