I feel like the word ‘scam’ is being used too much online, and it is putting a negative bracket around many things and people. After reading the book power words, I’ve become acutely aware of what words do to my happiness, and this negative word has been standing out for me as I see it more and more.
The word ‘scam’ comes with a hugely negative vibe around it. It sure doesn’t make you feel like skipping through the tulips! Just say the word ‘scam’ and you will feel that negative feeling in the pit of your stomach. It makes you feel bad, cheated on, or used.
Whether you read it, say it, or hear it, ‘scam’ can affect you negatively.
Scam: a dishonest scheme; a fraud
Some Things And ‘Scam’ Seem To Go Hand In Hand
While there are some real scams out there, the term is being used too much to describe things that are not necessarily scams!
My parents come from an age where they are scared to use anything online. Especially my dad. He doesn’t trust it at all.
- He thinks that clicking on an ad will cost him money
- He thinks that giving his credit card information online will end up in disaster
- He really believes that the Internet is out to get him financially
He is not alone. I’ve heard many people refer to eCommerce as a scam. I’ve actually heard people call valuable or interesting services a scam for the reason that it is charging money.
For instance, Unlimited Abundance is an online course – and you have to pay money to get the course, just like you would if you were to take an offline course. The problem is that many people accept that an offline course costs money, and they would gladly travel to the next city, stay in a hotel, and then pay money to attend a seminar, but when it comes to an online course, it gets labeled as a scam. I have actually seen people talk about Unlimited Abundance in the following exact way: It’s a scam! Why would someone who wants to help you become better charge you money?
I just want to clear that up right now: They charge money because that is how they make a living. That is what money is for – you exchange it for something of value to you, whether it is a course, a shirt, a taco, or a piece of dirt.
Still, any online product or service that gets put out there is automatically a scam to people who just don’t know any better. And that is stopping people from purchasing things online that could really help them have a valuable life.
Screaming ‘Scam’ When Things Are Just Crappy
There are a lot of crappy things online that are just plain crappy – but not necessarily a scam. Their crappiness is obvious, and you get to choose whether to deal with them or not.
For instance, iWriter is an article writing service where you can either have people write articles for your blog or write articles for others. The service is cheap. I mean really cheap. You can get a 500 word article for $3. The article is not always pretty – but you are paying $3.
The flip side of that is that after iWriter takes their share, the writer earns about $2.43. Kind of crappy pay for the work that can go into a 500-word article!
BUT, there is no surprise about this. On iWriter they clearly state how cheap their articles are, what you need to do to make money, and everything else about their site. They start you off as a basic writer and allow you to move up to an elite writer after working away at crappy, cheap-ass articles.
It’s all there. Yet, people still use the word scam.
First off, there are almost always articles available for basic writers. The majority of writers are very cheap and are not willing to pay more than a few bucks. It’s actually harder to find an elite article than it is a basic article. Obviously, when this woman was on the site, there happened to be no articles so instantly – without though – she screamed SCAM!
Also, as much as I don’t like the fact that you have to write a whole bunch of articles to become a premium or elite writers, you do have a choice to go that route or fast track past those articles at a price. She clearly says the ONLY way to increase your status is to pay – but that’s not true.
The bottom line is that there is a lot of problems with iWriter, but ‘scam’ is a word that is used too loosely around the service, and that affects how people interact with the site – and possibly even how they site moves forward from here.
Calling Good People Out As Scammers
Another thing I’ve noticed is that people use the word scam very loosely now when discussing other people.
For instance, I signed up to Instagram today (I’m a little behind the times) and was checking out Oprah’s Instagram pictures. Here’s one I found:
One of the comments says, “she bought these at the store it’s a scam don’t believe it” despite the fact that she has a ton of pictures of herself in her garden.
In short, the word ‘scam’ makes Oprah look like she’s trying to be shady and trick people into thinking she’s got something they don’t or that she’s something they are not – which is obviously not true.
This doesn’t stop at Oprah. I see people calling other people on their ‘scams’ everywhere I go.
The Major Problem With Screaming SCAM
As I said, the word ‘scam’ comes with a very negative bracket around it. When you blindly use the word scam, you are telling yourself and others that the object, product, service, or person is not trustworthy and should be avoided at all costs – which is not usually the case.
Just as a lot of people write ‘loose weight’ instead of ‘lose weight’, the word scam will become a common word that people scream when they feel that something is off, not going their way, or not something they believe. Check out #scam on Twitter and you will see what I mean.
And that’s where the problem begins and ends.
There are a lot of people and services out there that have a ton of value and can add happiness and success to your life, and they don’t deserve to have people loosely using the word scam about them.
The more we say it when it is not necessary, the more we will believe that everything – good and crappy – is a scam, and that will affect a lot of people and businesses unfairly.