Welcome to Your Money. The topic of today’s podcast is paid auto-surfing schemes.
In the world of marketing, people often get compensated — with cash or free products and services— for doing fairly easy things. While some “money for nothing” opportunities may be legitimate, others can turn out to be frauds.
“Auto-surfing” is a form of online advertising that purportedly generates advertising revenue for companies that want to increase traffic to their websites. The premise behind auto-surfing is that companies that advertise on the Internet are willing to pay to increase traffic to their web sites. These companies hire an auto-surf firm or “host,” which in turn pays individual web surfers to view certain websites on an automatically rotating basis. The more sites an individual visits, the more money he or she stands to earn.
While auto-surfing may sound easy and appealing — and risk-free — there can be a hitch. Some auto-surf programs require their surfers to pay to participate, although perhaps not initially.
When you first sign up to auto-surf, the firm might assign a limited number of sites for you to visit and pay you accordingly. Once you’ve made a modest amount of money, the firm might encourage — or even require — you to purchase a “membership” so that you can maximize your earnings. The program will promise high — sometimes double or triple digit — returns on your investment in the program, often within days or weeks of joining.
The line you’ll hear is that the more you click, the more you collect. But the reality is that any scheme that requires you to pay to participate — and promises handsome rewards in no time at all for little to no effort on your part — bears many of the hallmarks of a “Ponzi” or pyramid scheme.”
These schemes look deceptively legitimate because the fraudsters behind them typically use money coming in from new recruits to pay off early stage investors.
But eventually the pyramid will collapse when it gets too big. It’s simply not possible to “rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul" forever.
Before you pay a dime to make extra cash in your spare time, be sure to do a little due diligence: Here are a few steps you can take:
Lastly, remember that every investment carries some degree of risk. Most fraudsters spend a lot of time trying to convince investors that extremely high returns are guaranteed or can't miss. Don't believe it.
Thanks for joining us. Your Money is brought to by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org