I heard an ad the other day on the radio – honestly, I don’t even remember the product or service being advertised. But I heard a key phrase that automatically made me think it was a scam.
Then that made me think of all the phrases that I hear in advertisements and infomercials that scare me away from the product.
Here are a few that I can think of:
1) What the [government, or some huge industry] Doesn’t Want You to Know!
For a long time I was such a huge fan of The Motley Fool, but then they every newsletter and report they advertised was about some secret that Wall St. didn’t want me to know!
Of course, you also have “the fat cats in Washington”, “banks”, “credit card companies”, and even “the food and drug industry”!
This type of sensationalism is usually meant to hide the fact that there is nothing substantial in what they are offering you!
2) You Must Call in the Next [insert insanely short amount of time] Minutes to Get This Deal!
Are you kidding me? So, I can’t get this handy, dandy new kitchen item that slices, and dices, tenderizes, and sends you a tweet when your meal is ready, unless I call in the next 10 minutes?
Well, since you’ll be running the same taped infomercial or radio ad over the next 6 months, why should I now believe anything else that you have to say?
3) But Wait…There’s More!!!
Another phrase (often said with much excitement and fervor) that is meant to get the blood flowing faster and seal the deal.
Usually this lets me know that the main item in the deal is a piece of garbage and they are trying to distract me with shiny add-ons!
4) New and Improved:
This one may not point to a scam, but it’s usually ridiculous hype!
If you told us that the old formula was a great, amazing innovation that had no equal, why do you come out with a better version every 6 months?
5) This Time it’s Different:
You hear this often in economics or investing, when someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.
In every industry where there has been a huge surge in demand, and thus prices; you will here these words. When you do, be on the lookout for someone who wants you to invest in something right before it crashes!
A few thoughts from others:
“Just send a small token of interest to show you’re serious.” – Victor McCloud
This is definitely a popular phrase with these “work from home” scams!
“Multi level marketing” – Len Penzo
Most multi level marketing programs (even the ones with good intentions), end up like scams in the long run. Here is a great article looking at the nature of most multi level marketing.
“Your credit card will not be charged” – Max Messner
This happens a lot when you sign up for a free service. They claim that you aren’t making a commitment, but then want your credit card information, with the promise that “it will not be charged”! Then why do you need my credit card number?!?!?!
“Free” – Harrell Financial Services
This is another phrase that usually does it for me as well. However, since I have receive a lot of freebies in the mail recently, and I know of several ministries that give away items; this doesn’t always mean scam.
But 99% of the time it will!
“Timing doesn’t work” – Rob Bennett
Another phrase that is common in investing circles. People will first misrepresent market timing (by presenting it as only day-trading), and then use this phrase to keep you stuck in their program/investments.
However, many times this is said out of ignorance regarding timing based on long-term valuations!
- Have you ever heard these phrases in connection with a scam?
- What words or phrases signal scam to you?
photo by SMercury98