Marketing tricks and scams to be aware of – for people interested in personal finance and financial independence

You earned it, and yet all kinds of tactics and tricks will be thrown around to part you from your money. Here are some of the tricks you might need to keep an eye on –

1. Only 1 item left or promotion code valid for 24 hours only ( sense of urgency) : It is meant to create a false scarcity or sense of urgency to urge buyers to spend their money in a rash. Just stay calm, do your own research and make a rational decision before you fall to this trap.

buyer-beware-3-deceptive-online-marketing-tricks-you-need-stop-falling-for

2. Up to $1000 bonus, up to 75% off – “Up to” makes any statement always true and thus deceiving. Keep an eye for this word. It is also heavily used by corporate Public Relations(PR) personnel in the media – say a big company claiming they gave a bonus of up to 10,000 to their employees. In reality, only 1 person might have received 10k, while the rest less than 100 dollars. Very tricky word.

3. Prize scams – applies mostly to online scams telling you that you have won something and you need to wire some money to insure delivery of the prize. Just label the email as spam. The FTC has details on this – https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0199-prize-scams

4. Recurring payments ( death by thousand cuts) – businesses love this because most of the consumers who signed up for recurring payment don’t use the service as much. Evaluate all your recurring payments and cancel the service if you don’t need it.
When you sign up for a service which has renewal options, such as buying a domain name, insurance etc., the system might default to automatic renewal and keep your payment method in their system. Always make sure to check all the options on the site to turn this off. Paypal is notorious for this, if you make payments using Paypal, chances are the automatic payment is enabled. Paypal makes it difficult to find the option to turn recurring payment off – https://www.paypal-community.com/t5/About-Settings/How-to-stop-recurring-payments/td-p/801420

5. For sale banner with price in small fonts – From a distance you will see the a house for sale banner for “200s” in big ont and if you look closely there is a “mid” word right in front of 200s with a very small text. All kinds of pricing tricks here – https://www.nickkolenda.com/psychological-pricing-strategies/

6. Store tricks – dairy products and other essentials on the back wall and Pricier items at eye level.
http://www.businessinsider.com/tricks-stores-use-to-make-you-spend-more-money-2015-10#-3

7. Work from home scams – if it is too good to be true, it is most likely a scam : https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/saving-and-budgeting/articles/2017-08-30/7-ways-to-spot-a-work-from-home-scam

8. Amyway recruiters ? Multilevel Marketing (MLMs) – They mostly target people sitting on their own, use phrases such as “be your own boss”, “generate passive income”, “work from home”, “what would you do if you had a million dollars?”. They will strike a conversation with you as if they want to be your friend, and pretend like they admire something about you or your smart phone or whatever.

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2014/05/telltale-signs-pyramid-scheme
http://www.moneyaftergraduation.com/2013/09/16/amway-is-a-pyramid-scheme/
http://lallouslab.net/2015/03/25/7-tips-to-help-you-spot-amway-wwdb-recruiters-in-coffeeshops/

A project to track all active financial blogs.

No question there are too many personal finance, early retirement, deb etc. related blogs out there. It is very difficult to keep track of all these blogs. Luckily there is a project by Rockstar Finance not only keeps track of these blogs but also updates the list on a daily basis. Here is the link to the personal finance blog directory.

Looking at the list the categories of these blogs is very diverse, as of today it includes these –

    Budgeting
    Debt
    Early Retirement
    Family
    Frugality
    General Finance
    Investing
    Lifestyle
    Making Money
    Military
    Millennial
    Minimalism
    Real Estate
    Traditional Retirement

The directory also allows you to easily filter the list by –

    Category
    Age
    Sex
    Race
    City/State/Country
    profession

I found this directory quite useful in filtering out the relevant blogs that I am interested in based on the category. If you manage a personal finance blog, you can also submit your blog to the directory admins so that they can post it there.