If you're like most of us, and you spend any time at all on the computer, you've undoubtedly received countless email 'offers' claiming that you can make scores of money virtually overnight from the comfort of your easy chair – and keep on making it month after month after glorious month. And, if you're actually looking for a legitimate way to make money online, you know that there are untold thousands of 'companies' that will send you their "complete profit-generating system" – for a fee, of course. (Hurry! This super-slashed price is only available until Midnight tonight! If you're serious about living your dream of the Good Life, you can't afford to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Only 68 43 of these valuable course remain! Sound familiar?)

There are a myriad of online investment newsletters that claim to offer invaluable information and advice. But be forewarned; there are many unsavory individuals that greatly exaggerate about the earnings they receive, their research, their track records and even their independence. Their newsletters pretend to be sources of unbiased information, when in fact the publishers stand to make substantial profits if they can persuade investors to buy or sell particular securities.

You may also have received several emails (or perhaps even hundreds) from people claiming to be in need of your help. They typically consist of a long letter explaining the person's dire circumstances before getting to the real point of the matter: opening an account (or getting your information) so that they can send you millions of dollars in foreign currency to be deposited into your bank. They ask you, in return, to send them back the money in US dollars – after, of course, you deduct a very large commission for your trouble. This is nothing more than bank fraud; and, yes, people have been taken in by it in the past.

Regrettably, many people seem to have a weakness for the proverbial "get-rich-quick" scheme. For instance, you're probably familiar with the "How to Make Money from Your Home Computer" offer – in some form or another. The ad lures you into believing that all you have to do is send in $29 (sometimes monthly) and you'll receive a continuous stream of residual income in return. This is analogous to the old "pyramid" scheme in which you, as the participant, sign up as many people as you can in order to make money. Nowadays, however, many of these 'programs' automate that process for you, so you don't have to lift a finger. Isn't that great? Unfortunately, the truth of the matter still is that the only person making money is the character who set up the scam in the first place.

Since the Internet is not regulated in any way, anyone with a computer can come up with a scheme. Sometimes they may turn out to be legitimate business ventures and actually yield a profit, but those times are far and few between. Be wary; the more you know about financial scams, the less likely it is that you'll become a victim of one. If you need more money, there are well over 1,001 great ways to get it. The old adage is just as applicable today as it ever was: "If it's too good to be true, it usually is."

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