This is pretty easy – the vast majority of Get Rich Offers are scams. Don’t rely on the person’s website, YouTube videos, etc. that are often filled with fake reviews. A decent search will often find the same people giving testimonies or offering to sell their review for very little money. Ran across a few where the same group were hawking how great several different get rich scams as valid. It doesn’t matter if it’s a scheme where you have to fork out a lot of upfront money, easily in the thousands if you get deep enough into most of them, or if something where you only have to spend $50 – 100 to buy in.
Do yourself a favor – do the research, using Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. Type in the program’s name followed by scam or is it a scam. I ran across a Facebook ad where the person claimed to have a great way to make money. Sounded too good to be true (almost always a clear sign it’s a scam) so I typed in program name + is it a scam. First hit was from a competitor who claimed it was a scam, but he was willing to have you sign up with his program for a lot of money that wasn’t a scam. So, I type in his program’s name + is it a scam. One of the first hits was another person who claimed it was a scam, but he was willing to sell you on his program. Typed in his program’s name + is it a scam. One of the first hits was a woman who runs an interior decorating blog. She said his was a scam, but she wasn’t trying to sell you her own program.
Another good indicator is the lack of a clear photo of the individual. In my examples, the first one not only had a blurry series of photos that could be almost anybody, but a search on his name turned out to be a made-up name. One of the advantages of the Internet these days is the ability to look up most people easily. You can also use Tin-Eye or a similar program, or a search engine’s reverse image option to run images looking for a connection.
Also, look up the program name. In the first case, he was using somebody else’s program, but was an affiliate so he made money for everybody who signed up using his link. Many of these programs are Ponzi schemes, MLM programs, pyramid schemes, or other things that are great at generating money for the first people in the system, but tend to fall apart once enough people sign up.
Let’s suppose you want to make some extra money. Many legitimate sites, like Amazon, offer affiliate links. Somebody buys a product on Amazon using your affiliate link and they earn a small commission. It doesn’t cost anything extra to you. Most of the main DNA companies that deal with genealogy offer similar affiliate links. If you set up a website or blog and have affiliate links, make it very clear they are affiliate links. Not only that, but give a general sense of about how much money you make from the link. In the U.S., saying you make a small percentage probably isn’t going to be the best solution if your affiliate link winds up generating a lot of revenue for you. If you say it’s only 5%, but your links are generating $1,000/month, that’s a big difference and you should make it clear that you are making $1,000/month from the links. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) tends to take a dim view of somebody who makes it sound like they making very little from affiliate links, banner ads, etc. when the person is making a sizeable amount of money those ways. Better to err on the side of caution than to risk getting hit with a heavy fine from the FTC.
For now, I don’t have any affiliate links on my blog, but when I do, I will make it clear how much money I generate (percentage and rough $ amount if it becomes anywhere near $100+/month for a given link. Likewise, if I am given a free product to review, I will make it clear that the product was free. I have no plans to give a good review simply because you give me a free product. I will give the good, the bad, and the ugly on the item. If, for example, I found the item to be a piece of junk, my review will say so.
Unfortunately, too many reviewers these days are paid to give reviews. Amazon is good about weeding them out, but there are people willing to sell a good or high review dirt cheap. That’s why I don’t rely on reviews when I go to buy something. I read a book by a person who paid for reviews. Not surprisingly, he didn’t care what review you gave a product, but he paid more if you gave 4 or 5 stars than if you gave less than 4 stars.
Sadly, pay to play has spread to experts in other fields beyond product reviewers where experts are sometimes outed for accepting money for giving whatever review you pay for. I ran across this problem almost a decade ago when I was looking at peer-reviewed work for my thesis. Some of the people willing to do peer review hinted at giving favorable reviews if they received enough money for the review. I declined as I want honest feedback, not some hack willing to support whatever I pay them to say.