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New PayPal Scams: How to Keep the Money You’ve Earned Safe

With the worsening economy, there are a lot of aggressive scammers out there. Following are two to be aware of, with concrete suggestions on how to keep your money safe online — 100% of the time.

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As a freelance writer, I mostly receive payment via PayPal (I still have a few clients who like to pay by check). In addition to clients, I also receive monies from my ebook sales, affiliate program sales and residual income from my articles on sites like eHow and AssociatedContent.

Bottom line: There are a lot of transactions going on in my PayPal account. So, I try to stay acutely aware of PayPal scams. However, with the worsening economy, there seems to be even more aggressive scammers out there. The following two caught me a bit off guard this morning.

PayPal Scam Alert

This morning, I logged into check my accounts and an email from “PayPal” caught my eye. The subject line was “Dispute Transaction” and the email address that showed in my inbox was “Service@PayPal.com”.

So I opened it and it said the following:

Dear PayPal Member,

This email confirms that you have paid robertoelectronics (roberto211@aol.com) $439.00 USD using PayPal. This credit card transaction will appear on your bill as “PAYPAL robertoelectronics*”.

Then, it had an official-looking PayPal invoice. At the end of the invoice it said:

If you haven’t authorized this charge, click the link below to cancel the payment and get a full refund.

Once I read this notice, I knew it was a scam. Why? Because PayPal doesn’t notify you of “unauthorized charges” and when they do contact you about a transaction, they do it from your account internally. IE, you have to be logged into your account to see any disputed transaction notices.

This is the first time I’ve received a PayPal scam email like this. Even though I knew it was a scam, I immediately logged into my PayPal account to see if someone had hacked it and wiped it out.

All was well with my account. Whew!

AssociatedContent.com Scam Alert

I also received a scam email notice this morning — ostensibly from AssociatedContent. This was a first also. It said the following:

The subject line was: Please confirm payments and PayPal email address‏
The “From” email address was: admin@associatedcontent.com

The notice said:

Before Associated Content can pay you, we need you to confirm your PayPal email address for the following payment(s). bonus $XX.XX Performance Bonus: December 2008

The address we currently have on file for you is: XXX (they had my correct PayPal address). To confirm this address, click here. For non-html email users, please paste this URL into your browser to confirm your PayPal email address:
https://xxxxxx/pay_confirm.shtml?user_id=xxxxx (they had an email address here that looked official)

To change your PayPal email address, log in to www.associatedcontent.com and click on “Update” from the top-right corner of the My Account tab. Important: After changing your PayPal email address, please click on the confirmation link above. We cannot send payment until your new address is confirmed.

As it’s around the time that AssociatedContent (AC) is to dispense my monthly payment for my articles there, if I had been less aware, I could have very easily thought this was a legitimate email from AC.

I logged into my AssociatedContent account just to check though and sure enough, all was fine. I didn’t need to verify anything; my payment was already in progress – as usual.

This was a very slick scam attempt as they had my PayPal payment address correct, and even the amount of my payment correct. But, I still don’t think this is an official email from AssociatedContent because they don’t ask you to verify account information in an email. This should always, always, always be a red flag.

Following is some concrete advice that will keep your PayPal funds safe 100% of the time.

How to Keep Your PayPal Funds Safe 100% of the Time

Keep Your PayPal Money SafeNever Click a Link in an Email: Never ever click a link in an email you receive – even if it does look like an official email from PayPal or another trusted source. Remember, never!

These are what’s known as phishing scams. The scammers want you to click through so that they can steal your log in information. Once you click to “verify” your information, they have all the info they need to go in and clean your account out.

Type in the Name of the Site Yourself: Always log out of any email that is asking you to verify account information (or some other such jargon), go to your browser and type in the name of the site yourself.

This way, you can be sure that you’re accessing the true site, not some mirror site that you’ll be directed to if you click a link in an email you’ve received.

Don’t Verify Anything: Legitimate sites like PayPal and AssociatedContent and your bank, etc. DON’T ask you to verify account information. After all, you signed up. They already have your info on file. They won’t be asking you for verification – and they would certainly never do it via email.

Tax Time Tip: As tax season is just around the corner here in the U.S., the IRS email scam will start soon. Remember, the IRS is a fuddy duddy organization. They don’t send out correspondence via email. So if you receive an email from the “IRS”, ignore it. They don’t send them out – ever.

When in Doubt, Contact the Company Directly: If you feel the need to address correspondence sent by a “company” (in quotes b/c it’s usually a scam), go to the site, log into your account and send an email or contact them via phone (if this is an option) directly.

Don’t help thieves steal your money. If you do these things, you will keep your PayPal funds – and other monied accounts – safe 100% of the time (excluding professional hackers — which is a whole other ball of wax).

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Yuwanda Black is the founder of New Media Words (NewMediaWords.biz), an SEO writing company, and the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com, a leading blog for info on how to start a successful freelance writing career. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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Internet News

Consumer Spending During Halloween 2015 – Infographic

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The fourth quarter of the year is nearly every business and brand’s best friend. There is nothing they love more than the idea of massive consumer spending thanks to after-Thanksgiving shopping days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and of course every shopping day leading up to Christmas.

For many businesses, it’s this time of year that actually turns them into the black and able to see profits for the year. While so many businesses are focused on after-Thanksgiving based shopping, it seems too easy to simply forget about the massive $6.9 billion that is going to be spent on Halloween based shopping this year.

In this Consumer Spending During Halloween infographic from Blogging.org, we can see some of the mind blowing numbers behind the money being spent on not only Halloween costumes, but also house decorations, average money being spent per person and the top methods for researching and buying costumes in today’s advanced world of technology.

Consumer Spending During Halloween 2015

This year there will be over 157 million Americans celebrating Halloween in one form or another. The funny thing about when you think of Halloween, you probably think it’s just for kids and teenagers, but it’s actually a whole lot more. (source)

For instance, the average spend for each person on Halloween focused purchased is $74. Adult Halloween costumes account for $1.2 billion in purchases, while children’s costumes come in at $950 million.

Of the 157 million Americans who are participating in Halloween activities, 68 million of them are planning on dressing up in costumes, while 49% of them will also be partaking in their own house parties or attending one from a friend or family member. Outside of the costume costs, there is also all of the consumer spending to pay for the travel, entertainment, decorations and food for these parties as well.

The decision process for what costumes to wear or create is also changing as well. For millennials, it’s no longer about going to your local costume shop, now it’s about researching your costume ideas online and seeing what’s hot.

49% of millennials will search online for costume ideas and where to get the best deals vs. 34% actually walking into a retail location, browsing through costumes and making a purchase. In addition to the internet, everyday world trends and entertainment buzz will also play a big part in the costume buying process.

Once a costume is found, social media is the hot spot for sharing photos and Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram are the best places to find and share pictures.

At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure you are prepared for Halloween this year, but don’t worry… plenty of people will be waiting til the last minute as well. 4 out of 10 Americans will begin shopping for the big event within the first two weeks of the month, while another 25% will be waiting around until the last two weeks of the month to pick up some last minute gifts, candy and costumes.

Halloween Infographic

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Making Money through Affiliate Marketing

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affiliate marketing offer

Affiliate marketing is a field through which you can easily make money online and this can helpful to you if you have good capability in marketing the products in a better manner. You are paid if there is a visitor or customer in the site through your marketing process. The affiliate marketing industry comprises of mainly four players which are merchant, that is the retailer or the brand, The network which provides opportunities for affiliates and pay them, affiliate who does the promotion of the goods or services provided by the network and at the end of the chain you can find the customer. The market has become so large and got complicated with more players like affiliate management agencies as well as specialized third party vendors and the super affiliates.

The Best Affiliate Programs in the Market

If you are a beginner to the world of affiliate marketing, you may have the fear of working with the scams and losing your money, time and effort. There are many affiliate programs available in the market that are easy to start with and ensures a good amount as income to you.

Empower Network

This is a platform that is purely educational and has viral blogging as its prime strategy. This company pays the affiliates for selling the training products on internet marketing. The major specialty of this affiliate marketing program is that the affiliate receives 100 percentage of the commission out of the training product sold by him. This method of online earning can really bring lot of profit to the affiliates if they understand about the market in a proper manner.

Commission junction

This is another kind of affiliate program that is suitable for the beginners in making a good amount of commission. Commission junction can be considered as a marketplace where numerous companies meet with their affiliate programs. You just need to be a member of commission junction, then you can easily apply for any of the affiliate program that you are interested in from the various companies available.

Amazon Associates

Amazon also offers affiliate program which is not much complicated and is easier for the fresher to start with. As Amazon is there as the brand behind, you can easily make the product sold in the market. This is the kind of website that can be of greater help for you in earning a good amount of income.

Scams in Affiliate Marketing Field

There are various scams in the affiliate marketing field that can make you lose your money, time as well as your effort. There are certain techniques available that can be made used for the purpose of identifying the scams from the genuine ones. There is much amount of difficulty in being successful in the affiliate marketing and so check properly whether you are with the genuine people. There is no means of earning through affiliate programming, other than commissions after selling the products. If some programs offer you with some amazing amount of income, then you can stay away from it.

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10 Reasons Why Do Most of the Newbie Internet Marketers Fail

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Most of the newbie internet marketers do not stay for a longer period while still in existence. Some of them face the common challenges and they completely lose hope to the extent of quitting the online marketing. This is something that requires a lot of patience and dedication since it will take some time before one fits to the available constraints and challenges. Here are the 10 Reasons Why Do Most of the Newbie Internet Marketers Fail:

 

1. They Normally Hunt the Wrong Target People

This is one of the most common mistakes that is normally done by the newbie internet marketers. They may be having some basic skills of marketing but they do not know the right type of audience. They will end up marketing their products to the wrong people who will not have any effects on their products. For instance, one may be selling the sportswear and equipments and they end up advertising them to the wrong people who are not even interested in that particular sporting activity. Such people will just see their products and they ignore without buying since they do not have any interest on them. When such happens, the newbie can easily give up instead of looking for the right type of target people who are interested in buying their products.

 

2. They Do Not Have the Required Experience

Experience is the main driving force in marketing especially when it comes to the online marketing where you will not meet in person with the target audience. The newbie lack such experience as they do not know the right methods to use so as to capture the attention of the buyers, they do not know the test and preference of particular customers who may be willing to buy their products. They may end up also giving up just because they do not meet those requirements of their customers. This implies that they have to take their time and copy the tactics that are used by the experts. Instead of doing so, most of them lose hope and quit.

 

3. They Face Stiff Competition by The Experienced And Well Established Competitors

Competition is one of the nightmares that is faced by the newbie in the market. The competitors have a lot of advanced strategies and means to attract more customers easily. If a newbie who do not know more about the online marketing is competing for more customers with such experienced internet marketers, then they will not be in a position to attract more customers. The competitors may be having more advanced technological means market their products which is not normally the case for the new marketers. When most of them are faced with such challenges, they lose hope and quit instead of looking for ways to improve his/her marketing techniques so as to compete well with his/her competitors.

 

4. Failure to Concentrate On One Idea

The new marketers in the market normally face this problem. They will see many opportunities and marketing options that are available. When they start using one of the methods and they realize that there are other better options, they will try to quit to those better options. When they do so, they will still find other better options and they will want to explore all of them at once. This is very wrong for the newbie who do not have enough experience dealing with all of them. A newbie should concentrate on one idea and try as much as possible to optimize it. When they try all the possible options, they will fail in some of the options and they may end up concluding that online marketing do not work which is not the case.

 

5. The Newbie Normally Try To Find Shortcuts

These are the individuals who will try to use the shortcut in their online marketing. They will want to use the cheapest methods so as to save on cash. When they do so, they may end up ignoring some important steps that will render their marketing of lower quality compared to those of the competitors. When such happens, they will lose some customers and they may eventually fail in the long run.

 

6. They Plan More And Do Very Little

Normally before starting their online marketing, they have their plans. They normally plan what they are supposed to do and how they will do them. The problem that most of the new marketers do in the market is that they plan more that they can actually do. They will end up not meeting their planned targets and some of them may end up quitting the internet marketing.

 

7. They Lack Enough Confidence to Face Their Challenges

Some of the new online marketers may end up not doing it just because they fear the challenges that await them. Most of them will consult some of their friends concerning the challenges and once they are told, they may quit if they have started or they even fail to start. For them to do very well in the market, they should be willing to tackle any challenge that awaits them.

 

8. They Have Insufficient Knowledge And Skills on Internet Marketing

Most of the new online marketers do not have the required marketing skills and they may end up not meeting the requirements of their customers. The customers may end up losing trust and confidence in them. This is the problem that most of the new marketers face in their niche. They have to take their time to study the trends in the market and to know and master all the tricks that are used so as to fit well in their market niche.

 

9. They Lose Hope Easily

When the new online marketers are faced with challenges, they will normally lose hope easily and they may end up quitting instead of finding the relevant solutions to their challenges. They are demoralized in case of a challenge as they do not know whether they will encounter the same challenge again in case they restart it or not. The only option they have is to quit instead of finding the relevant solutions to the problem at hand.

 

10. Insufficient Funds

There are some new technologies and the new online marketing techniques that may require a lot of money. They are usually of great benefits to the marketers and they will attract more customers easily. This is applicable to those marketers who have the required money. For the case of the new online marketers, they may not have enough money to adjust to the new technologies. This will be a great disadvantage to them as more customers will be taken by those with advanced technologies and advanced marketing strategies.

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