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New research explores how conservative media misinformation may have intensified the severity of the pandemic ... The three studies paint a picture of a media ecosystem that entertains conspiracy theories and discourages audiences from taking steps to protect themselves and others

By Christopher Ingraham June 25, 2020 at 7:48 a.m.
Coronavirus infections have surged in a number of states, setting the United States on a markedly different pandemic trajectory than other wealthy nations.
There are many reasons why our response to the pandemic tied to nearly 120,000 U.S. deaths has faltered, experts say, including the lack of a cohesive federal policy, missteps on testing and tracing, and a national culture emphasizing individualism.
In recent weeks, three studies have focused on conservative media’s role in fostering confusion about the seriousness of the coronavirus. Taken together, they paint a picture of a media ecosystem that amplifies misinformation, entertains conspiracy theories and discourages audiences from taking concrete steps to protect themselves and others.
The end result, according to one of the studies, is that infection and mortality rates are higher in places where one pundit who initially downplayed the severity of the pandemic — Fox News’ Sean Hannity — reaches the largest audiences.
“We are receiving an incredible number of studies and solid data showing that consuming far-right media and social media content was strongly associated with low concern about the virus at the onset of the pandemic,” said Irene Pasquetto, chief editor of the Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, which published one of the studies.

Misinformation and conspiracy theories

In April, Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center and Dolores Albarracin of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign published a peer-reviewed study examining how Americans’ media diets affected their beliefs about the coronavirus.
Administering a nationally representative phone survey with 1,008 respondents, they found that people who got most of their information from mainstream print and broadcast outlets tended to have an accurate assessment of the severity of the pandemic and their risks of infection. But those who relied on conservative sources, such as Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories or unfounded rumors, such as the belief that taking vitamin C could prevent infection, that the Chinese government had created the virus, and that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was exaggerating the pandemic’s threat “to damage the Trump presidency.”
These findings held even after controlling for viewers’ political affiliation, education, gender and age.
The authors pinpoint several examples of misinformation circulating in conservative media. For example, on March 6 Fox medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel stated, on Hannity’s popular evening program, that “the virus should be compared to the flu. Because at worst, at worst, worst case scenario it could be the flu.”
Similarly, in February Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton appeared on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures” to suggest, without evidence, that the virus was connected to a research laboratory in Wuhan, China.

Beliefs lead to actions

A working paper posted by the National Bureau of Economic Research in May examined whether these incorrect beliefs affected real-world behavior.
The authors used anonymous location data from millions of cellphones to explore how the popularity of Fox News in a given Zip code related to social distancing practices there. By March 15, they found, a 10 percent increase in Fox News viewership within a Zip code reduced its residents’ propensity to stay home, in compliance with public health guidelines, by about 1.3 percentage points.
Given total stay-at-home behavior increased by 20 percentage points during the study period, that effect size is “pretty large,” said Andrey Simonov, the study’s lead author. It’s comparable to Fox’s persuasive effect on voting behavior, as identified in a 2017 paper by a different team.
“The effect that we measure could be driven by the long-term message of Fox News, which is that the mainstream media often report ‘fake news’ and have a political agenda,” Simonov said. “This could result in lowering trust in institutions and experts, including health experts in the case of the pandemic.”
It’s plausible, of course, that this difference in behavior could be attributed to other characteristics of Fox viewers, such as their age or political ideology. To control for these factors, the authors used “the quasi-random assignment of each news channel’s relative position across cable markets” as an instrumental variable.
Because TV stations with lower channel numbers tend to be watched more than those with higher numbers, and because those numbers are assigned in a more-or-less random way across TV markets, the authors were able to measure exposure to Fox News driven not by personal tastes, but by differences in channel lineups. Rather than asking “How does Fox News viewership affect social distancing,” the analysis asked “How does viewership of Fox News due to low channel position affect social distancing.”
While a big step beyond simple correlation, this type of analysis was nonetheless unable to definitively say that Fox programming caused viewers to be less compliant with social distancing guidelines.

How conservative media consumers’ behavior could worsen the pandemic

Another recent working paper, by economists at the University of Chicago and other institutions, similarly finds that Fox News viewers are less likely to comply with public health guidelines than consumers of other media. But their paper takes the analysis two steps further: It finds that Fox viewers aren’t a monolith, with fans of some media personalities acting distinctly from others. It also provides evidence that those behavioral differences are contributing to the spread and mortality rate of covid-19 in certain areas.
The study focuses specifically on the differences in how Fox’s Tucker Carlson and Hannity discussed the pandemic during its early days.
“Carlson warned viewers that the coronavirus might pose a serious threat from early February,” the researchers wrote, “while Hannity first ignored the topic on his show and then dismissed the risks associated with the virus, claiming that it was less concerning than the common flu and insisting that Democrats were using it as a political weapon to undermine the president.”
To quantify this claim, the authors recruited people via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk [MTurk] service to rate the seriousness with which the hosts discussed the virus. The coders consistently rated Carlson’s coverage as significantly more serious than either Hannity’s or other Fox hosts, particularly in February. The tones began converging in March; by the middle of the month, Hannity, Carlson and other Fox hosts were discussing the outbreak in similar terms.
Then they identified media markets where Hannity is more popular than Carlson to determine whether this coverage influenced people’s behavior. Like Simonov and his colleagues, they used an instrumental variable to sidestep the inherent demographic differences in the show’s two audiences: in this case, variations in local sunset times, which influence how likely people are to stay up later to watch “Hannity,” which typically airs later than “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
They then fielded a survey to Fox News viewers 55 and older to see how their behavior differed in areas where Hannity’s show is more or less popular than Carlson’s program.
They found that Hannity viewership was associated with changing pandemic-related behaviors (like hand-washing and canceling travel plans) four days later than other Fox News viewers, while Carlson viewership was associated with changing behaviors three days earlier.
Given the importance of individual behavior in curbing the spread of the coronavirus, it stands to reason that places where people were slower to take preventive steps might see more severe outbreaks. That’s exactly what the final step of their analysis shows.
“Our results indicate that a one standard deviation increase in relative viewership of Hannity relative to Tucker Carlson Tonight is associated with approximately 32 percent more COVID-19 cases on March 14 and approximately 23 percent more COVID-19 deaths on March 28,” the authors write. They further note that those differences fade beyond March, as the two hosts’ coverage had largely converged by then.
In a statement, a Fox News spokesman said “as this timeline proves, Hannity has covered Covid-19 since the early days of the story. The ‘study’ almost completely ignores his coverage and repeated, specific warnings and concerns from January 27-February 26 including an early interview with Dr. Fauci in January. This is a reckless disregard for the truth.”
In response, the study’s lead author Leonardo Bursztyn noted that their analysis encompasses the entirety of Fox’s prime time coverage through the end of March, including Hannity’s interview with Fauci. “There’s no ‘cherry-picking’ possible because our independent MTurk coders read every transcript between late January and late March.”
* * *
“If the results hold, the research demonstrates the influence that broadcast media can have on behavior,” said Jevin West, director of the Center for an Informed Public at the University of Washington.
It’s important to stress that the Simonov and Bursztyn papers have not yet gone through a formal peer review process, which typically assesses whether the evidence presented in the research supports the claims made. And as with much social science research, definitively proving causality — that Fox News coverage caused people to change behavior, which in turn caused the pandemic to spread more — is beyond the scope of the methods used.
“The results are suggestive of this but not conclusive,” West said. “It could be, for example, that long-standing mistrust of government or influence from current political leaders were the main drivers.”
However, the studies took a number of steps — including controlling for demographic factors, using instrumental variables to sidestep known and unknown confounders, and running tests for alternative explanations — to strengthen their claims. The University of North Carolina’s Zeynep Tufekci, who has written extensively on the American response to the pandemic, praised the Bursztyn study for its rigor.
Nevertheless, not all researchers who have seen these studies have been persuaded. The University of Chicago’s Anthony Fowler has written an op-ed critical of one of the study’s methods, and said in an email that he’s “skeptical” of the findings of the other two papers.
“I think there are good studies showing that different news outlets do have different ideological slants and that these slants can affect beliefs and behaviors,” he said. But he said he’s not convinced by these particular ones.
In the view of Pasquetto, the Harvard editor, the balance of evidence presented in the recent studies is strong. “Given all the data we have seen, and all the studies we are reviewing, we can say that empirical evidence clearly shows that this social group (those who routinely watch, read, and follow far-right media and social media) tended to take the disease less seriously and delayed their own response to the virus,” she said.
submitted by billypennsballs to Foxhidesinfo [link] [comments]

/r/Scams Common Scam Master Post

fHello visitors and subscribers of scams! Here you will find a master list of common (and uncommon) scams that you may find online or in real life. A big thanks to the many contributors who helped create this thread.

If you know of a scam that is not covered here, write a comment and I'll add it.

Here is the last version of this thread. Here is the previous version of this thread from 2018, here is the previous version of this thread from 2017, and here is the previous version of this thread from 2016.
Some of these articles are from small, local publications and refer to the scam happening in a specific area. Do not think that this means that the scam won't happen in your area.
The fake check scam (Credit to nimble2 for this part)
The fake check scam arises from many different situations (for instance, you applied for a job, or you are selling something on a place like Craigslist, or someone wants to purchase goods or services from your business, or you were offered a job as a mystery shopper, you were asked to wrap your car with an advertisement, or you received a check in the mail for no reason), but the bottom line is always something like this:
General fraudulent funds scams If somebody is asking you to accept and send out money as a favour or as part of a job, it is a fraudulent funds scam. It does not matter how they pay you, any payment on any service can be fraudulent and will be reversed when it is discovered to be fraudulent.
Phone verification code scams Someone will ask you to receive a verification text and then tell you to give them the code. Usually the code will come from Google Voice, or from Craigslist. In the Google version of the scam, your phone number will be used to verify a Google Voice account that the scammer will use to scam people with. In the Craigslist version of the scam, your phone number will be used to verify a Craigslist posting that the scammer will use to scam people. There is also an account takeover version of this scam that will involve the scammer sending a password reset token to your phone number and asking you for it.
Bitcoin job scams
Bitcoin job scams involve some sort of fraudulent funds transfer, usually a fake check although a fraudulent bank transfer can be used as well. The scammer will send you the fraudulent money and ask you to purchase bitcoins. This is a scam, and you will have zero recourse after you send the scammer bitcoins.
Email flooding
If you suddenly receive hundreds or thousands of spam emails, usually subscription confirmations, it's very likely that one of your online accounts has been taken over and is being used fraudulently. You should check any of your accounts that has a credit card linked to it, preferably from a computer other than the one you normally use. You should change all of your passwords to unique passwords and you should start using two factor authentication everywhere.
Boss/CEO scam A scammer will impersonate your boss or someone who works at your company and will ask you to run an errand for them, which will usually be purchasing gift cards and sending them the code. Once the scammer has the code, you have no recourse.
Employment certification scams
You will receive a job offer that is dependent on you completing a course or receiving a certification from a company the scammer tells you about. The scammer operates both websites and the job does not exist.
Craigslist fake payment scams
Scammers will ask you about your item that you have listed for sale on a site like Craigslist, and will ask to pay you via Paypal. They are scamming you, and the payment in most cases does not actually exist, the email you received was sent by the scammers. In cases where you have received a payment, the scammer can dispute the payment or the payment may be entirely fraudulent. The scammer will then either try to get you to send money to them using the fake funds that they did not send to you, or will ask you to ship the item, usually to a re-shipping facility or a parcel mule.
General fraudulent funds scams The fake check scam is not the only scam that involves accepting fraudulent/fake funds and purchasing items for scammers. If your job or opportunity involves accepting money and then using that money, it is almost certainly a frauduent funds scam. Even if the payment is through a bank transfer, Paypal, Venmo, Zelle, Interac e-Transfer, etc, it does not matter.
Credit card debt scam
Fraudsters will offer to pay off your bills, and will do so with fraudulent funds. Sometimes it will be your credit card bill, but it can be any bill that can be paid online. Once they pay it off, they will ask you to send them money or purchase items for them. The fraudulent transaction will be reversed in the future and you will never be able to keep the money. This scam happens on sites like Craigslist, Twitter, Instagram, and also some dating sites, including SeekingArrangement.
The parcel mule scam
A scammer will contact you with a job opportunity that involves accepting and reshipping packages. The packages are either stolen or fraudulently obtained items, and you will not be paid by the scammer. Here is a news article about a scam victim who fell for this scam and reshipped over 20 packages containing fraudulently acquired goods.
The Skype sex scam
You're on Facebook and you get a friend request from a cute girl you've never met. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. She'll ask you to send pictures or videos or get on webcam where she can see you naked with your face in the picture. The scam: There's no girl. You've sent nudes to a guy pretending to be a girl. As soon as he has the pictures he'll demand money and threaten to send the pictures to your friends and family. Sometimes the scammer will upload the video to a porn site or Youtube to show that they are serious.
What to do if you are a victim of this scam: You cannot buy silence, you can only rent it. Paying the blackmailer will show them that the information they have is valuable and they will come after you for more money. Let your friends and family know that you were scammed and tell them to ignore friend requests or messages from people they don't know. Also, make sure your privacy settings are locked down and consider deactivating your account.
The underage girl scam
You're on a dating site or app and you get contacted by a cute girl. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. Eventually she stops communicating and you get a call from a pissed off guy claiming to be the girl's father, or a police officer, or a private investigator, or something else along those lines. Turns out the girl you were sexting is underage, and her parents want some money for various reasons, such as to pay for a new phone, to pay for therapy, etc. There is, of course, no girl. You were communicating with a scammer.
What to do if you are a victim of this scam: Stop picking up the phone when the scammers call. Do not pay them, or they will be after you for more money.
Phishing
Phishing is when a scammer tries to trick you into giving information to them, such as your password or private financial information. Phishing messages will usually look very similar to official messages, and sometimes they are identical. If you are ever required to login to a different account in order to use a service, you should be incredibly cautious.
The blackmail email scam The exact wording of the emails varies, but there are generally four main parts. They claim to have placed software/malware on a porn/adult video site, they claim to have a video of you masturbating or watching porn, they threaten to release the video to your friends/family/loved ones/boss/dog, and they demand that you pay them in order for them to delete the video. Rest assured that this is a very common spam campaign and there is no truth behind the email or the threats. Here are some news articles about this scam.
The blackmail mail scam
This is very similar to the blackmail email scam, but you will receive a letter in the mail.
Rental scams Usually on local sites like Craigslist, scammers will steal photos from legitimate real estate listings and will list them for rent at or below market rate. They will generally be hesitant to tell you the address of the property for "safety reasons" and you will not be able to see the unit. They will then ask you to pay them a deposit and they claim they will ship you the keys. In reality, your money is gone and you will have no recourse.
Craigslist vehicle scams A scammer will list a vehicle on Craigslist and will offer to ship you the car. In many cases they will also falsely claim to sell you the car through eBay or Amazon. If you are looking for a car on Craigslist and the seller says anything about shipping the car, having an agent, gives you a long story about why they are selling the car, or the listing price is far too low, you are talking to a scammer and you should ignore and move on.
Advance-fee scam, also known as the 419 scam, or the Nigerian prince scam. You will receive a communication from someone who claims that you are entitled to a large sum of money, or you can help them obtain a large sum of money. However, they will need money from you before you receive the large sum.
Man in the middle scams
Man in the middle scams are very common and very hard to detect. The scammer will impersonate a company or person you are legitimately doing business with, and they will ask you to send the money to one of their own bank accounts or one controlled by a money mule. They have gained access to the legitimate persons email address, so there will be nothing suspicious about the email. To prevent this, make contact in a different way that lets you verify that the person you are talking to is the person you think you are talking to.
Cam girl voting/viewer scam
You will encounter a "cam girl" on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask you to go to their site and sign up with your credit card. They may offer a free show, or ask you to vote for them, or any number of other fake stories.
Amateur porn recruitment scam
You will encounter a "pornstar" on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask you to create an adult film with hehim, but first you need to do something. The story here is usually something to do with verifying your age, or you needing to take an STD test that involves sending money to a site operated by the scammer.
Hot girl SMS spam
You receive a text from a random number with a message along the lines of "Hey babe I'm here in town again if you wanted to meet up this time, are you around?" accompanied by a NSFW picture of a hot girl. It's spam, and they'll direct you to their scam website that requires a credit card.
Identity verification scam
You will encounter someone on a dating/messaging/social media/whatever site/app, and the scammer will ask that you verify your identity as they are worried about catfishing. The scammer operates the site, and you are not talking to whoever you think you are talking to.
This type of scam teases you with something, then tries to make you sign up for something else that costs money. The company involved is often innocent, but they turn a blind eye to the practice as it helps their bottom line, even if they have to occasionally issue refunds. A common variation takes place on dating sites/dating apps, where you will match with someone who claims to be a camgirl who wants you to sign up for a site and vote for her. Another variation takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where the scammers setup fake rental scams and demand that you go through a specific service for a credit check. Once you go through with it, the scammer will stop talking to you. Another variation also takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where scammers will contact you while you are selling a car and will ask you to purchase a Carfax-like report from a specific website.
Multi Level Marketing or Affiliate Marketing
You apply for a vague job listing for 'sales' on craigslist. Or maybe an old friend from high school adds you on Facebook and says they have an amazing business opportunity for you. Or maybe the well dressed guy who's always interviewing people in the Starbucks that you work at asks if you really want to be slinging coffee the rest of your life. The scam: MLMs are little more than pyramid schemes. They involve buying some sort of product (usually snake oil health products like body wraps or supplements) and shilling them to your friends and family. They claim that the really money is recruiting people underneath you who give you a slice of whatever they sell. And if those people underneath you recruit more people, you get a piece of their sales. Ideally if you big enough pyramid underneath you the money will roll in without any work on your part. Failure to see any profit will be your fault for not "wanting it enough." The companies will claim that you need to buy their extra training modules or webinars to really start selling. But in reality, the vast majority of people who buy into a MLM won't see a cent. At the end of the day all you'll be doing is annoying your friends and family with your constant recruitment efforts. What to look out for: Recruiters love to be vague. They won't tell you the name of the company or what exactly the job will entail. They'll pump you up with promises of "self-generating income", "being your own boss", and "owning your own company." They might ask you to read books about success and entrepreneurs. They're hoping you buy into the dream first. If you get approached via social media, check their timelines. MLMs will often instruct their victims to pretend that they've already made it. They'll constantly post about how they're hustling and making the big bucks and linking to youtube videos about success. Again, all very vague about what their job actually entails. If you think you're being recruited: Ask them what exactly the job is. If they can't answer its probably a MLM. Just walk away.

Phone scams

Tax Call
You get a call from somebody claiming to be from your countries tax agency. They say you have unpaid taxes that need to be paid immediately, and you may be arrested or have other legal action taken against you if it is not paid. This scam has caused the American IRS, Canadian CRA, British HMRC, and Australian Tax Office to issue warnings. This scam happens in a wide variety of countries all over the world.
Warrant Call
Very similar to the tax call. You'll get a phone call from an "agent", "officer", "sheriff", or other law enforcement officer claiming that there is a warrant out for your arrest and you will be arrested very soon. They will then offer to settle everything for a fee, usually paid in giftcards.
[Legal Documents/Process Server Calls]
Very similar to the warrant call. You'll get a phone call from a scammer claiming that they are going to serve you legal documents, and they will threaten you with legal consequences if you refuse to comply. They may call themselves "investigators", and will sometimes give you a fake case number.
Student Loan Forgiveness Scam
Scammers will call you and tell you about a student loan forgiveness program, but they are interested in obtaining private information about you or demanding money in order to join the fake program.
Tech Support Call You receive a call from someone with a heavy accent claiming to be a technician Microsoft or your ISP. They inform you that your PC has a virus and your online banking and other accounts may be compromised if the virus is not removed. They'll have you type in commands and view diagnostics on your PC which shows proof of the virus. Then they'll have you install remote support software so the technician can work on your PC, remove the virus, and install security software. The cost of the labor and software can be hundreds of dollars. The scam: There's no virus. The technician isn't a technician and does not work for Microsoft or your ISP. Scammers (primarily out of India) use autodialers to cold-call everyone in the US. Any file they point out to you or command they have you run is completely benign. The software they sell you is either freeware or ineffective. What to do you if you're involved with this scam: If the scammers are remotely on your computer as you read this, turn off your PC or laptop via the power button immediately, and then if possible unplug your internet connection. Some of the more vindictive tech scammers have been known to create boot passwords on your computer if they think you've become wise to them and aren't going to pay up. Hang up on the scammers, block the number, and ignore any threats about payment. Performing a system restore on your PC is usually all that is required to remove the scammer's common remote access software. Reports of identity theft from fake tech calls are uncommon, but it would still be a good idea to change your passwords for online banking and monitor your accounts for any possible fraud. How to avoid: Ignore any calls claiming that your PC has a virus. Microsoft will never contact you. If you're unsure if a call claiming to be from your ISP is legit, hang up, and then dial the customer support number listed on a recent bill. If you have elderly relatives or family that isn't tech savvy, take the time to fill them in on this scam.
Chinese government scam
This scam is aimed at Chinese people living in Europe and North America, and involves a voicemail from someone claiming to be associated with the Chinese government, usually through the Chinese consulate/embassy, who is threatening legal action or making general threats.
Chinese shipping scam
This scam is similar to the Chinese government scam, but involves a seized/suspicious package, and the scammers will connect the victim to other scammers posing as Chinese government investigators.
Social security suspension scam
You will receive a call from someone claiming to work for the government regarding suspicious activity, fraud, or serious crimes connected to your social security number. You'll be asked to speak to an operator and the operator will explain the steps you need to follow in order to fix the problems. It's all a scam, and will lead to you losing money and could lead to identity theft if you give them private financial information.
Utilities cutoff
You get a call from someone who claims that they are from your utility company, and they claim that your utilities will be shut off unless you immediately pay. The scammer will usually ask for payment via gift cards, although they may ask for payment in other ways, such as Western Union or bitcoin.
Relative in custody Scammer claims to be the police, and they have your son/daughtenephew/estranged twin in custody. You need to post bail (for some reason in iTunes gift cards or MoneyGram) immediately or the consequences will never be the same.
Mexican family scam
This scam comes in many different flavours, but always involves someone in your family and Mexico. Sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member has been detained, sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member has been kidnapped, and sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member is injured and needs help.
General family scams
Scammers will gather a large amount of information about you and target your family members using different stories with the goal of gettimg them to send money.
One ring scam
Scammers may call you from an international number with the goal of getting you to return their call, incurring expensive calling fees.

Online shopping scams

THE GOLDEN RULE OF ONLINE SHOPPING: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Dropshipping
An ad on reddit or social media sites like Facebook and Instagram offers items at huge discounts or even free (sometimes requiring you to reblog or like their page). They just ask you to pay shipping. The scam: The item will turn out to be very low quality and will take weeks or even months to arrive. Sometimes the item never arrives, and the store disappears or stops responding. The seller drop-ships the item from China. The item may only cost a few dollars, and the Chinese government actually pays for the shipping. You end up paying $10-$15 dollars for a $4 item, with the scammer keeping the profit. If you find one of these scams but really have your heart set on the item, you can find it on AliExpress or another Chinese retailer.
Triangulation fraud
Triangulation fraud occurs when you make a purchase on a site like Amazon or eBay for an item at a lower than market price, and receive an item that was clearly purchased new at full price. The scammer uses a stolen credit card to order your item, while the money from the listing is almost all profit for the scammer.
Instagram influencer scams
Someone will message you on Instagram asking you to promote their products, and offering you a discount code. The items are Chinese junk, and the offer is made to many people at a time.
Cheap Items
Many websites pop up and offer expensive products, including electronics, clothes, watches, sunglasses, and shoes at very low prices. The scam: Some sites are selling cheap knock-offs. Some will just take your money and run. What to do if you think you're involved with this scam: Contact your bank or credit card and dispute the charge. How to avoid: The sites often have every brand-name shoe or fashion item (Air Jordan, Yeezy, Gucci, etc) in stock and often at a discounted price. The site will claim to be an outlet for a major brand or even a specific line or item. The site will have images at the bottom claiming to be Secured by Norton or various official payment processors but not actual links. The site will have poor grammar and a mish-mash of categories. Recently, established websites will get hacked or their domain name jacked and turned into scam stores, meaning the domain name of the store will be completely unrelated to the items they're selling. If the deal sounds too good to be true it probably is. Nobody is offering brand new iPhones or Beats or Nintendo Switches for 75% off.
Cheap Amazon 3rd Party Items
You're on Amazon or maybe just Googling for an item and you see it for an unbelievable price from a third-party seller. You know Amazon has your back so you order it. The scam: One of three things usually happen: 1) The seller marks the items as shipped and sends a fake tracking number. Amazon releases the funds to the seller, and the seller disappears. Amazon ultimately refunds your money. 2) The seller immediately cancels the order and instructs you to re-order the item directly from their website, usually with the guarantee that the order is still protected by Amazon. The seller takes your money and runs. Amazon informs you that they do not offer protection on items sold outside of Amazon and cannot help you. 2) The seller immediately cancels the order and instructs you to instead send payment via an unused Amazon gift card by sending the code on the back via email. Once the seller uses the code, the money on the card is gone and cannot be refunded. How to avoid: These scammers can be identified by looking at their Amazon storefronts. They'll be brand new sellers offering a wide range of items at unbelievable prices. Usually their Amazon names will be gibberish, or a variation on FIRSTNAME.LASTNAME. Occasionally however, established storefronts will be hacked. If the deal is too good to be true its most likely a scam.
Scams on eBay
There are scams on eBay targeting both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you should look out for people who privately message you regarding the order, especially if they ask you to ship to a different address or ask to negotiate via text/email/a messaging service. As a buyer you should look out for new accounts selling in-demand items, established accounts selling in-demand items that they have no previous connection to (you can check their feedback history for a general idea of what they bought/sold in the past), and lookout for people who ask you to go off eBay and use another service to complete the transaction. In many cases you will receive a fake tracking number and your money will be help up for up to a month.
Scams on Amazon
There are scams on Amazon targeting both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you should look out for people who message you about a listing. As a buyer you should look out for listings that have an email address for you to contact the person to complete the transaction, and you should look out for cheap listings of in-demand items.
Scams on Reddit
Reddit accounts are frequently purchased and sold by fraudsters who wish to use the high karma count + the age of the account to scam people on buy/sell subreddits. You need to take precautions and be safe whenever you are making a transaction online.
Computer scams
Virus scam
A popup or other ad will say that you have a virus and you need to follow their advice in order to remove it. They are lying, and either want you to install malware or pay for their software.

Assorted scams

Chinese Brushing / direct shipping
If you have ever received an unsolicited small package from China, your address was used to brush. Vendors place fake orders for their own products and send out the orders so that they can increase their ratings.
Money flipping
Scammer claims to be a banking insider who can double/triple/bazoople any amount of money you send them, with no consequences of any kind. Obviously, the money disappears into their wallet the moment you send it.

Door to door scams

As a general rule, you should not engage with door to door salesmen. If you are interested in the product they are selling, check online first.
Selling Magazines
Someone or a group will come to your door and offer to sell a magazine subscription. Often the subscriptions are not for the duration or price you were told, and the magazines will often have tough or impossible cancellation policies.
Energy sales
Somebody will come to your door claiming to be from an energy company. They will ask to see your current energy bill so that they can see how much you pay. They will then offer you a discount if you sign up with them, and promise to handle everything with your old provider. Some of these scammers will "slam" you, by using your account number that they saw on your bill to switch you to their service without authorization, and some will scam you by charging higher prices than the ones you agreed on.
They ask you to donate $1
After you decline to buy a subscription, they ask you to donate a small sum of money. Your mind goes "I guess it's only $1" or "if that's what it takes for them to go away".
Security system scams
Scammers will come to your door and ask about your security system, and offer to sell you a new one. These scammers are either selling you overpriced low quality products, or are casing your home for a future burglary.
They ask to enter your home
While trying to sell you whatever, they suddenly need to use your bathroom, or they've been writing against the wall and ask to use your table instead. Or maybe they just moved into the neighborhood and want to see how you decorate for ideas.
They're scoping out you and your place. They want to see what valuables you have, how gullible you are, if you have a security system or dogs, etc.

Street scams

Begging With a Purpose
"I just need a few more dollars for the bus," at the bus station, or "I just need $5 to get some gas," at a gas station. There's also a variation where you will be presented with a reward: "I just need money for a cab to get uptown, but I'll give you sports tickets/money/a date/a priceless vase."
Three Card Monte, Also Known As The Shell Game
Unbeatable. The people you see winning are in on the scam.
Drop and Break
You bump into someone and they drop their phone/glasses/fancy bottle of wine/priceless vase and demand you pay them back. In reality, it's a $2 pair of reading glasses/bottle of three-buck-chuck/tasteful but affordable vase.
CD Sales
You're handed a free CD so you can check out the artist's music. They then ask for your name and immediately write it on the CD. Once they've signed your name, they ask you for money, saying they can't give it to someone else now. Often they use dry erase markers, or cheap CD sleeves. Never use any type of storage device given to you by a random person, as the device can contain malware.
White Van Speaker Scam
You're approached and offered speakers/leather jackets/other luxury goods at a decent discount. The scammer will claim they ordered too many, their store closed, they need to avoid customs fees, or they need money quick. After you buy them, you'll discover that they are worthless.
iPhone Street Sale
You're approached and shown an iPhone for sale, coming in the box, but it's open and you can see the phone. If you buy the phone, you'll get an iPhone box with no iPhone, just some stones or cheap metal in it to weigh it down.
Buddhist Monk Pendant
A monk in traditional garb approaches you, hands you a gold trinket, and asks for a donation. He holds either a notebook with names and amounts of donation (usually everyone else has donated $5+), or a leaflet with generic info. This is fairly common in NYC, and these guys get aggressive quickly.
Sports Team Donations
You're approached by teens with a clipboard with a letter from their high school about how they need to gather donations for their upcoming seasons to buy new uniforms/equipment/priceless vases. No high school is sending their students into the subway to get pocket change.
Friendship Bracelet Scam More common in western Europe, you're approached by someone selling bracelets. They quickly wrap a loop of fabric around your finger and pull it tight, starting to quickly weave a bracelet. The only way to (easily) get it off your hand is to pay. Leftover sales
This scam involves many different items, but the idea is usually the same: you are approached by someone who claims to have a large amount of excess inventory and offers to sell it to you at a great price. The scammer actually has low quality items and will lie to you about the price/origin of the items.
Dent repair scams
Scammers will approach you in public about a dent in your car and offer to fix it for a low price. Often they will claim that they are mechanics. They will not fix the dent in your car, but they will apply large amounts of wax or other substances to hide the dent while they claim that the substance requires time to harden.
Gold ring/jewelry/valuable item scam
A scammer will "find" a gold ring or other valuable item and offers to sell it to you. The item is fake and you will never see the scammer again.
Distraction theft
One person will approach you and distract you, while their accomplice picks your pockets. The distraction can take many forms, but if you are a tourist and are approached in public, watch closely for people getting close to you.

General resources

Site to report scams in the United Kingdom: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
Site to report scams in the United States: https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
Site to report scams in Canada: www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/reportincident-signalerincident/index-eng.htm
Site to report scams in Europe: https://www.europol.europa.eu/report-a-crime/report-cybercrime-online
FTC scam alerts: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts
Microsoft's anti-scam guide: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/safety/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx
https://www.usa.gov/common-scams-frauds
https://www.usa.gov/scams-and-frauds
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts
https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes
submitted by EugeneBYMCMB to Scams [link] [comments]

$5000/month nursing plants in my backyard.

Hey - Pat from StarterStory.com here with another interview.
Today's interview is with Debbie Odom (u/ camelliashop) of CamelliaShop, a brand that makes camellias & tea plants
Some stats:

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Debbie Odom and I am a horticulturist and the co-founder of Camelliashop.com.
We are proud to be one of the twenty-seven million small businesses in the United States. Camelliashop specializes in Ornamental Flowering Camellias and Camellia sinensis Tea Plants and we ship our plants throughout the USA. We average $5000 a month in revenue.
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What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

In 1991, I had the life-changing opportunity to become a part of Gene’s Nursery, one of the oldest nurseries in Savannah Georgia.
Gene’s Nursery has its roots firmly planted in our quaint historic coastal city and it’s passion was the Camellia. Camellias are ornamental shrubs that produce brilliant blossoms during the fall and winter. They are the most unique flowering shrub species found today and are considered the Queen of Ornamental shrubs.
One camellia species in particular, Camellia Sinensis, is responsible for the beverage we all love to drink - Tea! Camellias thrive in the south, and in Savannah Georgia they are treasured beauties that are the essence of our gardens, our tables and our hearts.
I immediately fell in love with the nursery and the Camellia, but gardening is not a new hobby for me. I have always had a love of blooming things as my maternal grandmother, Dora Lee, had my hands in the dirt from the time I was able to walk. We grew all sorts of flowers, vegetables and fruit trees.
Being in the garden and one with nature was the most enjoyable time in my life and created not only lasting memories with my Grandmother, but the inspiration I needed to become a horticulturist. So when I had the opportunity to leave my office job and get my hands into soil, I was happy and I was hooked.
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Describe the process of launching the business.

Since 1957, Gene’s Nursery has sold to customers in our local region. We would occasionally get out of town folks to visit, but for the most part, our customers were all local.
Prior to the internet, nurseries who wanted to ship plants had to produce paper catalogs and customers who wished to buy had to send in a paper order with a check and the only communication was by telephone or mail. When I joined Gene’s Nursery in 1992, one of the first purchases we made was to buy a Hewlett Packard Computer that came with Windows 3.1 installed and it was fully loaded with a 256MB harddrive! We thought we had purchased the moon.
Soon after, we had the ability to have our products on the internet but didn’t really have a payment source, customers had to call in to place orders. It was very modest, but this was in the early days of websites and most homes didn’t even have computers. We kept up with the website and it’s limitations until we discovered an all in one ecommerce solution from Volusion.
We launched our new website, CamelliaShop.com, in November 2007 and with that our customer interaction and online sales shot up 200% within one month of launch and has steadily grown ever since. This took our business from a local hometown sales shop to a national plant source.
We are unique in that we have never used bank funding or any other loan process to fund our business or our websites. We completely funded everything we have done in both the retail and the online business from money we made selling plants and putting some aside to pay for expansion. If we don’t have the money, we don’t make the purchase. A friend asked me one time who funded our business and I was, and still am, proud to say, ‘‘We do!”

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

With the launch of email and social media, finding and keeping customers is easier than it once was with a paper mail system.
We currently use Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for our main social media efforts.
We use Constant Contact to manage our email subscribers. It’s a great app and integrates with Shopify, our e-commerce provider. It saves us a lot of time by adding our customers directly into the email program. We have an email newsletter that sends blog articles to subscribers along with product and sale info.
We have a blog on CamelliaShop.com that we try to post interesting and informative growing information about our products. It’s built into Shopify which makes it super easy to manage from one app. Our articles include monthly gardening advice and some really great how-to’s. One of the most popular blog posts we have is about Waxing Camellias. This is a great how-to article on preserving camellia blossoms that features complete instructions and full color photos. It is written and shared from my personal experience with this fun craft instead of a being a boring technical article. It always performs well every time we share it on social media or through our email newsletter because it is something that appeals to both gardening and non-gardening people!
Check out the link here.
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We use Google Shopping Ads and Facebook ads which bring us a fair amount of customers. CamelliaShop is a member of many gardening organizations including several facebook groups relating to Camellias and gardening. Because of our long history in the horticultural industry, we have established a presence in the gardening community. Honestly, more of our customers and sales come from our affiliations with these groups than we get through random internet advertising.
When marketing, I try to use the rule of 3rds. ⅓ of my marketing is teaching, ⅓ is sharing with them on a personal-professional level, and ⅓ is actually trying to sell my product.
Keeping customers engaged is always finding something they will find relevant. If all they see are ads, that’s going to get old. We share our experience as a grower, we show them things they have not seen before and we provide products they can purchase. But most importantly, we try to connect with them in their garden - where they want and need our help.
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How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Our present and our future looks bright! Our breeding program keeps us on the front line of new and rare plant introductions so there’s always something for us and for our customers to look forward to.
All of our sales are through our own retail store and our online shop. Because of the nature of our products and the level of personal connection we want to have with our customers, we do not sell through Amazon and other big box stores like Walmart. I think the one thing that has made our nursery special is the way people feel like they are part of the family and I just don’t feel that we can connect with customers in the same way if we were selling products through the largest retailers. When customers visit our retail store or CamelliaShop online, we want the experience to feel like they’ve been invited to our home instead of meeting them at the corner diner.
We plan to continue finding ways to improve our customer experience, with better product selections and pricing, that will keep them coming back over and over again.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

The largest lesson that I’ve learned is that you have to keep up with the changing times and you have to change with them. When we started with Camelliashop in 2007, there was not a lot of competition. We owned the market because we were one of only a few plant nurseries that had an online presence that shipped plants throughout the USA. Today, there are many plant nurseries that are online and sell and ship Camellias and competition is heavy.
Shipping was super cheap in 2007. We could ship a large sized plant to California from Georgia for under $15. Today, that same plant costs over $40. ‘Free Shipping’ is a deal breaker for most customers who buy consumer goods. Big conglomerates like Amazon are able to offer free shipping to their customers, but small businesses can’t make a profit doing so.
Keeping up with the competition for us is finding ways to offer products that are unique and that will keep customers coming back to see what’s new. Creating new Camellias through our breeding program makes it easy for us to make a difference. Also with today’s “Free Shipping World” We are also trying to find ways that we can offer free or reduced shipping to customers on certain products or by minimum purchases. We are always open to changes that we can make to attract new customers and keep the old ones.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We have used many different ecommerce platforms from Volusion, BigCommerce to Shopify. We are finally with Shopify and are very happy with the platform as a whole. Facebook and Instagram are excellent products because of the ease of use between the two. We have just recently started with Outfy to manage auto marketing to Facebook and Instagram.
We chose to use Shopify’s built in shipping module. It’s so much nicer to be able to just click “create shipment” instead of having to re-enter shipping info in a separate module. Shopify also offers huge discounted shipping rates that save us money.
One of the most beneficial and most used apps is Canva.com. It is a design app we use to create beautiful social media posts and covers, as well as flyers, email headers, book covers, cards and a great deal more digital marketing items. I use Canva because it’s easy to use with predesigned templates that let you plug images and go. They also have a huge digital library that you can use in your promos without having to go take photos or hire a photographer.
We used to use Photoshop to create our marketing items until we found Canva and now it’s the app of choice.

Advice for other entrepreneurs want to get started or are just starting out?

We live in a world of copy-cats. Unique ideas are few and far between. In the music industry, how many people can take a hit song and re-record it and how many will make the same impact that the original artist made? Not many. The key to being different in the music industry is singing your own song, not someone else’s. That’s the philosophy that we try to adopt in our own business.
There are many nurseries that sell some of the same plants that we do and sometimes at a much cheaper price. So how do we compete? The answer for us is to “sing our own song”. By working to offer unique plant introductions we are creating a barrier between the copy-cats and the originals. We are offering our customers a product that they can’t get anywhere else.
My advice to starting entrepreneurs is to sing your own song! Be unique - be different - in everything you do. Find something that no one else is doing, or find something they are doing, but do it better - create a difference.

Where can we go to learn more?

Email: [email protected]
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Liked this text interview? Check out the full interview with photos, tools, books, and other data.
For more interviews, check out starter_story - I post new stories there daily.
Interested in sharing your own story? Send me a PM
submitted by youngrichntasteless to EntrepreneurRideAlong [link] [comments]

/r/Scams Common Scam Master Post

Hello visitors and subscribers of scams! Here you will find a master list of common (and uncommon) scams that you may find online or in real life. A big thanks to the many contributors who helped create this thread. If you know of a scam that is not covered here, write a comment and I'll add it.
Here is the previous version of this thread from 2018, here is the previous version of this thread from 2017, and here is the previous version of this thread from 2016.
Some of these articles are from small, local publications and refer to the scam happening in a specific area. Do not think that this means that the scam won't happen in your area.
The fake check scam (Credit to nimble2 for this part)
The fake check scam arises from many different situations (for instance, you applied for a job, or you are selling something on a place like Craigslist, or someone wants to purchase goods or services from your business, or you were offered a job as a mystery shopper, or you received a check in the mail for no reason), but the bottom line is always something like this:
General fraudulent funds scams If somebody is asking you to accept and send out money as a favour or as part of a job, it is a fraudulent funds scam. It does not matter how they pay you, any payment on any service can be fraudulent and will be reversed when it is discovered to be fraudulent.
Phone verification code scams Someone will ask you to receive a verification text and then tell you to give them the code. Usually the code will come from Google Voice, or from Craigslist. In the Google version of the scam, your phone number will be used to verify a Google Voice account that the scammer will use to scam people with. In the Craigslist version of the scam, your phone number will be used to verify a Craigslist posting that the scammer will use to scam people.
Bitcoin job scams
Bitcoin job scams involve some sort of fraudulent funds transfer, usually a fake check although a fraudulent bank transfer can be used as well. The scammer will send you the fraudulent money and ask you to purchase bitcoins. This is a scam, and you will have zero recourse after you send the scammer bitcoins.
Email flooding If you suddenly receive hundreds or thousands of spam emails, usually subscription confirmations, it's very likely that one of your online accounts has been taken over and is being used fraudulently. You should check any of your accounts that has a credit card linked to it, preferably from a computer other than the one you normally use. You should change all of your passwords to unique passwords and you should start using two factor authentication everywhere.
Boss/CEO scam A scammer will impersonate your boss or someone who works at your company and will ask you to run an errand for them, which will usually be purchasing gift cards and sending them the code. Once the scammer has the code, you have no recourse.
Craigslist fake payment scams
Scammers will ask you about your item that you have listed for sale on a site like Craigslist, and will ask to pay you via Paypal. They are scamming you, and the payment in most cases does not actually exist, the email you received was sent by the scammers. In cases where you have received a payment, the scammer can dispute the payment or the payment may be entirely fraudulent. The scammer will then either try to get you to send money to them using the fake funds that they did not send to you, or will ask you to ship the item, usually to a re-shipping facility or a parcel mule.
General fraudulent funds scams The fake check scam is not the only scam that involves accepting fraudulent/fake funds and purchasing items for scammers. If your job or opportunity involves accepting money and then using that money, it is almost certainly a frauduent funds scam. Even if the payment is through a bank transfer, Paypal, Venmo, Zelle, Interac e-Transfer, etc, it does not matter.
Credit card debt scam
Fraudsters will offer to pay off your bills, and will do so with fraudulent funds. Sometimes it will be your credit card bill, but it can be any bill that can be paid online. Once they pay it off, they will ask you to send them money or purchase items for them. The fraudulent transaction will be reversed in the future and you will never be able to keep the money. This scam happens on sites like Craigslist, Twitter, Instagram, and also some dating sites, including SeekingArrangement.
The parcel mule scam
A scammer will contact you with a job opportunity that involves accepting and reshipping packages. The packages are either stolen or fraudulently obtained items, and you will not be paid by the scammer. Here is a news article about a scam victim who fell for this scam and reshipped over 20 packages containing fraudulently acquired goods.
The Skype sex scam
You're on Facebook and you get a friend request from a cute girl you've never met. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. She'll ask you to send pictures or videos or get on webcam where she can see you naked with your face in the picture. The scam: There's no girl. You've sent nudes to a guy pretending to be a girl. As soon as he has the pictures he'll demand money and threaten to send the pictures to your friends and family. Sometimes the scammer will upload the video to a porn site or Youtube to show that they are serious.
What to do if you are a victim of this scam: You cannot buy silence, you can only rent it. Paying the blackmailer will show them that the information they have is valuable and they will come after you for more money. Let your friends and family know that you were scammed and tell them to ignore friend requests or messages from people they don't know. Also, make sure your privacy settings are locked down and consider deactivating your account.
The underage girl scam
You're on a dating site or app and you get contacted by a cute girl. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. Eventually she stops communicating and you get a call from a pissed off guy claiming to be the girl's father, or a police officer, or a private investigator, or something else along those lines. Turns out the girl you were sexting is underage, and her parents want some money for various reasons, such as to pay for a new phone, to pay for therapy, etc. There is, of course, no girl. You were communicating with a scammer.
What to do if you are a victim of this scam: Stop picking up the phone when the scammers call. Do not pay them, or they will be after you for more money.
The blackmail email scam The exact wording of the emails varies, but there are generally four main parts. They claim to have placed software/malware on a porn/adult video site, they claim to have a video of you masturbating or watching porn, they threaten to release the video to your friends/family/loved ones/boss/dog, and they demand that you pay them in order for them to delete the video. Rest assured that this is a very common spam campaign and there is no truth behind the email or the threats. Here are some news articles about this scam.
The blackmail mail scam
This is very similar to the blackmail email scam, but you will receive a letter in the mail.
Rental scams Usually on local sites like Craigslist, scammers will steal photos from legitimate real estate listings and will list them for rent at or below market rate. They will generally be hesitant to tell you the address of the property for "safety reasons" and you will not be able to see the unit. They will then ask you to pay them a deposit and they claim they will ship you the keys. In reality, your money is gone and you will have no recourse.
Craigslist vehicle scams A scammer will list a vehicle on Craigslist and will offer to ship you the car. In many cases they will also falsely claim to sell you the car through eBay or Amazon. If you are looking for a car on Craigslist and the seller says anything about shipping the car, having an agent, gives you a long story about why they are selling the car, or the listing price is far too low, you are talking to a scammer and you should ignore and move on.
Advance-fee scam, also known as the 419 scam, or the Nigerian prince scam. You will receive a communication from someone who claims that you are entitled to a large sum of money, or you can help them obtain a large sum of money. However, they will need money from you before you receive the large sum.
Man in the middle scams
Man in the middle scams are very common and very hard to detect. The scammer will impersonate a company or person you are legitimately doing business with, and they will ask you to send the money to one of their own bank accounts or one controlled by a money mule. They have gained access to the legitimate persons email address, so there will be nothing suspicious about the email. To prevent this, make contact in a different way that lets you verify that the person you are talking to is the person you think you are talking to.
False Representation
This type of scam teases you with something, then tries to make you sign up for something else that costs money. The company involved is often innocent, but they turn a blind eye to the practice as it helps their bottom line, even if they have to occasionally issue refunds. A common variation takes place on dating sites/dating apps, where you will match with someone who claims to be a camgirl who wants you to sign up for a site and vote for her. Another variation takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where the scammers setup fake rental scams and demand that you go through a specific service for a credit check. Once you go through with it, the scammer will stop talking to you. Another variation also takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where scammers will contact you while you are selling a car and will ask you to purchase a Carfax-like report from a specific website.
Multi Level Marketing or Affiliate Marketing
You apply for a vague job listing for 'sales' on craigslist. Or maybe an old friend from high school adds you on Facebook and says they have an amazing business opportunity for you. Or maybe the well dressed guy who's always interviewing people in the Starbucks that you work at asks if you really want to be slinging coffee the rest of your life. The scam: MLMs are little more than pyramid schemes. They involve buying some sort of product (usually snake oil health products like body wraps or supplements) and shilling them to your friends and family. They claim that the really money is recruiting people underneath you who give you a slice of whatever they sell. And if those people underneath you recruit more people, you get a piece of their sales. Ideally if you big enough pyramid underneath you the money will roll in without any work on your part. Failure to see any profit will be your fault for not "wanting it enough." The companies will claim that you need to buy their extra training modules or webinars to really start selling. But in reality, the vast majority of people who buy into a MLM won't see a cent. At the end of the day all you'll be doing is annoying your friends and family with your constant recruitment efforts. What to look out for: Recruiters love to be vague. They won't tell you the name of the company or what exactly the job will entail. They'll pump you up with promises of "self-generating income", "being your own boss", and "owning your own company." They might ask you to read books about success and entrepreneurs. They're hoping you buy into the dream first. If you get approached via social media, check their timelines. MLMs will often instruct their victims to pretend that they've already made it. They'll constantly post about how they're hustling and making the big bucks and linking to youtube videos about success. Again, all very vague about what their job actually entails. If you think you're being recruited: Ask them what exactly the job is. If they can't answer its probably a MLM. Just walk away.

Street scams

Begging With a Purpose
"I just need a few more dollars for the bus," at the bus station, or "I just need $5 to get some gas," at a gas station. There's also a variation where you will be presented with a reward: "I just need money for a cab to get uptown, but I'll give you sports tickets/money/a date/a priceless vase."
Three Card Monte, Also Known As The Shell Game
Unbeatable. The people you see winning are in on the scam.
Drop and Break
You bump into someone and they drop their glasses/fancy bottle of wine/priceless vase and demand you pay them back. In reality, it's a $2 pair of reading glasses/bottle of three-buck-chuck/tasteful but affordable vase.
CD Sales
You're handed a free CD so you can check out the artist's music. They then ask for your name and immediately write it on the CD. Once they've signed your name, they ask you for money, saying they can't give it to someone else now. Often they use dry erase markers, or cheap CD sleeves. Never use any type of storage device given to you by a random person, as the device can contain malware.
White Van Speaker Scam
You're approached and offered speakers/leather jackets/other luxury goods at a decent discount. The scammer will claim they ordered too many, their store closed, they need to avoid customs fees, or they need money quick. After you buy them, you'll discover that they are worthless.
iPhone Street Sale
You're approached and shown an iPhone for sale, coming in the box, but it's open and you can see the phone. If you buy the phone, you'll get an iPhone box with no iPhone, just some stones or cheap metal in it to weigh it down.
Buddhist Monk Pendant
A monk in traditional garb approaches you, hands you a gold trinket, and asks for a donation. He holds either a notebook with names and amounts of donation (usually everyone else has donated $5+), or a leaflet with generic info. This is fairly common in NYC, and these guys get aggressive quickly.
Sports Team Donations
You're approached by teens with a clipboard with a letter from their high school about how they need to gather donations for their upcoming seasons to buy new uniforms/equipment/priceless vases. No high school is sending their students into the subway to get pocket change.
Friendship Bracelet Scam More common in western Europe, you're approached by someone selling bracelets. They quickly wrap a loop of fabric around your finger and pull it tight, starting to quickly weave a bracelet. The only way to (easily) get it off your hand is to pay. Leftover sales
This scam involves many different items, but the idea is usually the same: you are approached by someone who claims to have a large amount of excess inventory and offers to sell it to you at a great price. The scammer actually has low quality items and will lie to you about the price/origin of the items.
Dent repair scams
Scammers will approach you in public about a dent in your car and offer to fix it for a low price. Often they will claim that they are mechanics. They will not fix the dent in your car, but they will apply large amounts of wax or other substances to hide the dent while they claim that the substance requires time to harden.

Phone scams

Tax Call
You get a call from somebody claiming to be from your countries tax agency. They say you have unpaid taxes that need to be paid immediately, and you may be arrested or have other legal action taken against you if it is not paid. This scam has caused the American IRS, Canadian CRA, British HMRC, and Australian Tax Office to issue warnings. This scam happens in a wide variety of countries all over the world.
Warrant Call
Very similar to the tax call. You'll get a phone call from an "agent", "officer", "sheriff", or other law enforcement officer claiming that there is a warrant out for your arrest and you will be arrested very soon. They will then offer to settle everything for a fee, usually paid in giftcards.
Student Loan Forgiveness Scam
Scammers will call you and tell you about a student loan forgiveness program, but they are interested in obtaining private information about you or demanding money in order to join the fake program.
Tech Support Call You receive a call from someone with a heavy accent claiming to be a technician Microsoft or your ISP. They inform you that your PC has a virus and your online banking and other accounts may be compromised if the virus is not removed. They'll have you type in commands and view diagnostics on your PC which shows proof of the virus. Then they'll have you install remote support software so the technician can work on your PC, remove the virus, and install security software. The cost of the labor and software can be hundreds of dollars. The scam: There's no virus. The technician isn't a technician and does not work for Microsoft or your ISP. Scammers (primarily out of India) use autodialers to cold-call everyone in the US. Any file they point out to you or command they have you run is completely benign. The software they sell you is either freeware or ineffective. What to do you if you're involved with this scam: If the scammers are remotely on your computer as you read this, turn off your PC or laptop via the power button immediately, and then if possible unplug your internet connection. Some of the more vindictive tech scammers have been known to create boot passwords on your computer if they think you've become wise to them and aren't going to pay up. Hang up on the scammers, block the number, and ignore any threats about payment. Performing a system restore on your PC is usually all that is required to remove the scammer's common remote access software. Reports of identity theft from fake tech calls are uncommon, but it would still be a good idea to change your passwords for online banking and monitor your accounts for any possible fraud. How to avoid: Ignore any calls claiming that your PC has a virus. Microsoft will never contact you. If you're unsure if a call claiming to be from your ISP is legit, hang up, and then dial the customer support number listed on a recent bill. If you have elderly relatives or family that isn't tech savvy, take the time to fill them in on this scam.
Chinese government scam
This scam is aimed at Chinese people living in Europe and North America, and involves a voicemail from someone claiming to be associated with the Chinese government, usually through the Chinese consulate/embassy, who is threatening legal action or making general threats.
Utilities cutoff
You get a call from someone who claims that they are from your utility company, and they claim that your utilities will be shut off unless you immediately pay. The scammer will usually ask for payment via gift cards, although they may ask for payment in other ways, such as Western Union or bitcoin.
Relative in custody Scammer claims to be the police, and they have your son/daughtenephew/estranged twin in custody. You need to post bail (for some reason in iTunes gift cards or MoneyGram) immediately or the consequences will never be the same.
Mexican family scam
This scam comes in many different flavours, but always involves someone in your family and Mexico. Sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member has been detained, sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member has been kidnapped, and sometimes the scammer will claim that your family member is injured and needs help.

Online shopping scams

THE GOLDEN RULE OF ONLINE SHOPPING: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Dropshipping
An ad on reddit or social media sites like Facebook and Instagram offers items at huge discounts or even free (sometimes requiring you to reblog or like their page). They just ask you to pay shipping. The scam: The item will turn out to be very low quality and will take weeks or even months to arrive. Sometimes the item never arrives, and the store disappears or stops responding. The seller drop-ships the item from China. The item may only cost a few dollars, and the Chinese government actually pays for the shipping. You end up paying $10-$15 dollars for a $4 item, with the scammer keeping the profit. If you find one of these scams but really have your heart set on the item, you can find it on AliExpress or another Chinese retailer.
Triangulation fraud
Triangulation fraud occurs when you make a purchase on a site like Amazon or eBay for an item at a lower than market price, and receive an item that was clearly purchased new at full price. The scammer uses a stolen credit card to order your item, while the money from the listing is almost all profit for the scammer.
Cheap Items
Many websites pop up and offer expensive products, including electronics, clothes, watches, sunglasses, and shoes at very low prices. The scam: Some sites are selling cheap knock-offs. Some will just take your money and run. What to do if you think you're involved with this scam: Contact your bank or credit card and dispute the charge. How to avoid: The sites often have every brand-name shoe or fashion item (Air Jordan, Yeezy, Gucci, etc) in stock and often at a discounted price. The site will claim to be an outlet for a major brand or even a specific line or item. The site will have images at the bottom claiming to be Secured by Norton or various official payment processors but not actual links. The site will have poor grammar and a mish-mash of categories. Recently, established websites will get hacked or their domain name jacked and turned into scam stores, meaning the domain name of the store will be completely unrelated to the items they're selling. If the deal sounds too good to be true it probably is. Nobody is offering brand new iPhones or Beats or Nintendo Switches for 75% off.
Cheap Amazon 3rd Party Items
You're on Amazon or maybe just Googling for an item and you see it for an unbelievable price from a third-party seller. You know Amazon has your back so you order it. The scam: One of three things usually happen: 1) The seller marks the items as shipped and sends a fake tracking number. Amazon releases the funds to the seller, and the seller disappears. Amazon ultimately refunds your money. 2) The seller immediately cancels the order and instructs you to re-order the item directly from their website, usually with the guarantee that the order is still protected by Amazon. The seller takes your money and runs. Amazon informs you that they do not offer protection on items sold outside of Amazon and cannot help you. 2) The seller immediately cancels the order and instructs you to instead send payment via an unused Amazon gift card by sending the code on the back via email. Once the seller uses the code, the money on the card is gone and cannot be refunded. How to avoid: These scammers can be identified by looking at their Amazon storefronts. They'll be brand new sellers offering a wide range of items at unbelievable prices. Usually their Amazon names will be gibberish, or a variation on FIRSTNAME.LASTNAME. Occasionally however, established storefronts will be hacked. If the deal is too good to be true its most likely a scam.
Scams on eBay
There are scams on eBay targeting both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you should look out for people who privately message you regarding the order, especially if they ask you to ship to a different address or ask to negotiate via text/email/a messaging service. As a buyer you should look out for new accounts selling in-demand items, established accounts selling in-demand items that they have no previous connection to (you can check their feedback history for a general idea of what they bought/sold in the past), and lookout for people who ask you to go off eBay and use another service to complete the transaction. In many cases you will receive a fake tracking number and your money will be help up for up to a month.
Scams on Amazon
There are scams on Amazon targeting both buyers and sellers. As a seller, you should look out for people who message you about a listing. As a buyer you should look out for listings that have an email address for you to contact the person to complete the transaction, and you should look out for cheap listings of in-demand items.
Scams on Reddit
Reddit accounts are frequently purchased and sold by fraudsters who wish to use the high karma count + the age of the account to scam people on buy/sell subreddits. You need to take precautions and be safe whenever you are making a transaction online.
Computer scams
Virus scam
A popup or other ad will say that you have a virus and you need to follow their advice in order to remove it. They are lying, and either want you to install malware or pay for their software.

Assorted scams

Chinese Brushing
If you have ever received an unsolicited small package from China, your address was used to brush. Vendors place fake orders for their own products and send out the orders so that they can increase their ratings.
Money Flipping
Scammer claims to be a banking insider who can double/triple/bazoople any amount of money you send them, with no consequences of any kind. Obviously, the money disappears into their wallet the moment you send it.

Door to door scams

Selling Magazines
One or two teenagers or young adults knock on your door offering magazine subscriptions. They claim its related to a college scholarship or to win a trip. The subscriptions are overpriced and may not even arrive. The kids selling them are runaways who have been roped into the scam.
Energy sales Somebody will come to your door claiming to be from an energy company. They will ask to see your current energy bill so that they can see how much you pay. They will then offer you a discount if you sign up with them, and promise to handle everything with your old provider. Some of these scammers will "slam" you, by using your account number that they saw on your bill to switch you to their service without authorization, and some will scam you by charging higher prices than the ones you agreed on.
They ask you to donate $1
After you decline to buy a subscription, they ask you to donate a small sum of money. Your mind goes "I guess it's only $1" or "if that's what it takes for them to go away".
They ask to enter your home
While trying to sell you whatever, they suddenly need to use your bathroom, or they've been writing against the wall and ask to use your table instead. Or maybe they just moved into the neighborhood and want to see how you decorate for ideas.
They're scoping out you and your place. They want to see what valuables you have, how gullible you are, if you have a security system or dogs, etc.
submitted by EugeneBYMCMB to Scams [link] [comments]

$5000/month nursing plants in my backyard.

Hey - Pat from StarterStory.com here with another interview.
Today's interview is with Debbie Odom (u/ camelliashop) of CamelliaShop, a brand that makes camellias & tea plants
Some stats:

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Debbie Odom and I am a horticulturist and the co-founder of Camelliashop.com.
We are proud to be one of the twenty-seven million small businesses in the United States. Camelliashop specializes in Ornamental Flowering Camellias and Camellia sinensis Tea Plants and we ship our plants throughout the USA. We average $5000 a month in revenue.
image
image
image

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

In 1991, I had the life-changing opportunity to become a part of Gene’s Nursery, one of the oldest nurseries in Savannah Georgia.
Gene’s Nursery has its roots firmly planted in our quaint historic coastal city and it’s passion was the Camellia. Camellias are ornamental shrubs that produce brilliant blossoms during the fall and winter. They are the most unique flowering shrub species found today and are considered the Queen of Ornamental shrubs.
One camellia species in particular, Camellia Sinensis, is responsible for the beverage we all love to drink - Tea! Camellias thrive in the south, and in Savannah Georgia they are treasured beauties that are the essence of our gardens, our tables and our hearts.
I immediately fell in love with the nursery and the Camellia, but gardening is not a new hobby for me. I have always had a love of blooming things as my maternal grandmother, Dora Lee, had my hands in the dirt from the time I was able to walk. We grew all sorts of flowers, vegetables and fruit trees.
Being in the garden and one with nature was the most enjoyable time in my life and created not only lasting memories with my Grandmother, but the inspiration I needed to become a horticulturist. So when I had the opportunity to leave my office job and get my hands into soil, I was happy and I was hooked.
image
image

Describe the process of launching the business.

Since 1957, Gene’s Nursery has sold to customers in our local region. We would occasionally get out of town folks to visit, but for the most part, our customers were all local.
Prior to the internet, nurseries who wanted to ship plants had to produce paper catalogs and customers who wished to buy had to send in a paper order with a check and the only communication was by telephone or mail. When I joined Gene’s Nursery in 1992, one of the first purchases we made was to buy a Hewlett Packard Computer that came with Windows 3.1 installed and it was fully loaded with a 256MB harddrive! We thought we had purchased the moon.
Soon after, we had the ability to have our products on the internet but didn’t really have a payment source, customers had to call in to place orders. It was very modest, but this was in the early days of websites and most homes didn’t even have computers. We kept up with the website and it’s limitations until we discovered an all in one ecommerce solution from Volusion.
We launched our new website, CamelliaShop.com, in November 2007 and with that our customer interaction and online sales shot up 200% within one month of launch and has steadily grown ever since. This took our business from a local hometown sales shop to a national plant source.
We are unique in that we have never used bank funding or any other loan process to fund our business or our websites. We completely funded everything we have done in both the retail and the online business from money we made selling plants and putting some aside to pay for expansion. If we don’t have the money, we don’t make the purchase. A friend asked me one time who funded our business and I was, and still am, proud to say, ‘‘We do!”

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

With the launch of email and social media, finding and keeping customers is easier than it once was with a paper mail system.
We currently use Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for our main social media efforts.
We use Constant Contact to manage our email subscribers. It’s a great app and integrates with Shopify, our e-commerce provider. It saves us a lot of time by adding our customers directly into the email program. We have an email newsletter that sends blog articles to subscribers along with product and sale info.
We have a blog on CamelliaShop.com that we try to post interesting and informative growing information about our products. It’s built into Shopify which makes it super easy to manage from one app. Our articles include monthly gardening advice and some really great how-to’s. One of the most popular blog posts we have is about Waxing Camellias. This is a great how-to article on preserving camellia blossoms that features complete instructions and full color photos. It is written and shared from my personal experience with this fun craft instead of a being a boring technical article. It always performs well every time we share it on social media or through our email newsletter because it is something that appeals to both gardening and non-gardening people!
Check out the link here.
image
We use Google Shopping Ads and Facebook ads which bring us a fair amount of customers. CamelliaShop is a member of many gardening organizations including several facebook groups relating to Camellias and gardening. Because of our long history in the horticultural industry, we have established a presence in the gardening community. Honestly, more of our customers and sales come from our affiliations with these groups than we get through random internet advertising.
When marketing, I try to use the rule of 3rds. ⅓ of my marketing is teaching, ⅓ is sharing with them on a personal-professional level, and ⅓ is actually trying to sell my product.
Keeping customers engaged is always finding something they will find relevant. If all they see are ads, that’s going to get old. We share our experience as a grower, we show them things they have not seen before and we provide products they can purchase. But most importantly, we try to connect with them in their garden - where they want and need our help.
image
image

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Our present and our future looks bright! Our breeding program keeps us on the front line of new and rare plant introductions so there’s always something for us and for our customers to look forward to.
All of our sales are through our own retail store and our online shop. Because of the nature of our products and the level of personal connection we want to have with our customers, we do not sell through Amazon and other big box stores like Walmart. I think the one thing that has made our nursery special is the way people feel like they are part of the family and I just don’t feel that we can connect with customers in the same way if we were selling products through the largest retailers. When customers visit our retail store or CamelliaShop online, we want the experience to feel like they’ve been invited to our home instead of meeting them at the corner diner.
We plan to continue finding ways to improve our customer experience, with better product selections and pricing, that will keep them coming back over and over again.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

The largest lesson that I’ve learned is that you have to keep up with the changing times and you have to change with them. When we started with Camelliashop in 2007, there was not a lot of competition. We owned the market because we were one of only a few plant nurseries that had an online presence that shipped plants throughout the USA. Today, there are many plant nurseries that are online and sell and ship Camellias and competition is heavy.
Shipping was super cheap in 2007. We could ship a large sized plant to California from Georgia for under $15. Today, that same plant costs over $40. ‘Free Shipping’ is a deal breaker for most customers who buy consumer goods. Big conglomerates like Amazon are able to offer free shipping to their customers, but small businesses can’t make a profit doing so.
Keeping up with the competition for us is finding ways to offer products that are unique and that will keep customers coming back to see what’s new. Creating new Camellias through our breeding program makes it easy for us to make a difference. Also with today’s “Free Shipping World” We are also trying to find ways that we can offer free or reduced shipping to customers on certain products or by minimum purchases. We are always open to changes that we can make to attract new customers and keep the old ones.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We have used many different ecommerce platforms from Volusion, BigCommerce to Shopify. We are finally with Shopify and are very happy with the platform as a whole. Facebook and Instagram are excellent products because of the ease of use between the two. We have just recently started with Outfy to manage auto marketing to Facebook and Instagram.
We chose to use Shopify’s built in shipping module. It’s so much nicer to be able to just click “create shipment” instead of having to re-enter shipping info in a separate module. Shopify also offers huge discounted shipping rates that save us money.
One of the most beneficial and most used apps is Canva.com. It is a design app we use to create beautiful social media posts and covers, as well as flyers, email headers, book covers, cards and a great deal more digital marketing items. I use Canva because it’s easy to use with predesigned templates that let you plug images and go. They also have a huge digital library that you can use in your promos without having to go take photos or hire a photographer.
We used to use Photoshop to create our marketing items until we found Canva and now it’s the app of choice.

Advice for other entrepreneurs want to get started or are just starting out?

We live in a world of copy-cats. Unique ideas are few and far between. In the music industry, how many people can take a hit song and re-record it and how many will make the same impact that the original artist made? Not many. The key to being different in the music industry is singing your own song, not someone else’s. That’s the philosophy that we try to adopt in our own business.
There are many nurseries that sell some of the same plants that we do and sometimes at a much cheaper price. So how do we compete? The answer for us is to “sing our own song”. By working to offer unique plant introductions we are creating a barrier between the copy-cats and the originals. We are offering our customers a product that they can’t get anywhere else.
My advice to starting entrepreneurs is to sing your own song! Be unique - be different - in everything you do. Find something that no one else is doing, or find something they are doing, but do it better - create a difference.

Where can we go to learn more?

Email: [email protected]
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Liked this text interview? Check out the full interview with photos, tools, books, and other data.
For more interviews, check out starter_story - I post new stories there daily.
Interested in sharing your own story? Send me a PM
submitted by youngrichntasteless to Business_Ideas [link] [comments]

$5000/month nursing plants in my backyard.

Hey - Pat from StarterStory.com here with another interview.
Today's interview is with Debbie Odom (u/ camelliashop) of CamelliaShop, a brand that makes camellias & tea plants
Some stats:

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Debbie Odom and I am a horticulturist and the co-founder of Camelliashop.com.
We are proud to be one of the twenty-seven million small businesses in the United States. Camelliashop specializes in Ornamental Flowering Camellias and Camellia sinensis Tea Plants and we ship our plants throughout the USA. We average $5000 a month in revenue.
image
image
image

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

In 1991, I had the life-changing opportunity to become a part of Gene’s Nursery, one of the oldest nurseries in Savannah Georgia.
Gene’s Nursery has its roots firmly planted in our quaint historic coastal city and it’s passion was the Camellia. Camellias are ornamental shrubs that produce brilliant blossoms during the fall and winter. They are the most unique flowering shrub species found today and are considered the Queen of Ornamental shrubs.
One camellia species in particular, Camellia Sinensis, is responsible for the beverage we all love to drink - Tea! Camellias thrive in the south, and in Savannah Georgia they are treasured beauties that are the essence of our gardens, our tables and our hearts.
I immediately fell in love with the nursery and the Camellia, but gardening is not a new hobby for me. I have always had a love of blooming things as my maternal grandmother, Dora Lee, had my hands in the dirt from the time I was able to walk. We grew all sorts of flowers, vegetables and fruit trees.
Being in the garden and one with nature was the most enjoyable time in my life and created not only lasting memories with my Grandmother, but the inspiration I needed to become a horticulturist. So when I had the opportunity to leave my office job and get my hands into soil, I was happy and I was hooked.
image
image

Describe the process of launching the business.

Since 1957, Gene’s Nursery has sold to customers in our local region. We would occasionally get out of town folks to visit, but for the most part, our customers were all local.
Prior to the internet, nurseries who wanted to ship plants had to produce paper catalogs and customers who wished to buy had to send in a paper order with a check and the only communication was by telephone or mail. When I joined Gene’s Nursery in 1992, one of the first purchases we made was to buy a Hewlett Packard Computer that came with Windows 3.1 installed and it was fully loaded with a 256MB harddrive! We thought we had purchased the moon.
Soon after, we had the ability to have our products on the internet but didn’t really have a payment source, customers had to call in to place orders. It was very modest, but this was in the early days of websites and most homes didn’t even have computers. We kept up with the website and it’s limitations until we discovered an all in one ecommerce solution from Volusion.
We launched our new website, CamelliaShop.com, in November 2007 and with that our customer interaction and online sales shot up 200% within one month of launch and has steadily grown ever since. This took our business from a local hometown sales shop to a national plant source.
We are unique in that we have never used bank funding or any other loan process to fund our business or our websites. We completely funded everything we have done in both the retail and the online business from money we made selling plants and putting some aside to pay for expansion. If we don’t have the money, we don’t make the purchase. A friend asked me one time who funded our business and I was, and still am, proud to say, ‘‘We do!”

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

With the launch of email and social media, finding and keeping customers is easier than it once was with a paper mail system.
We currently use Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for our main social media efforts.
We use Constant Contact to manage our email subscribers. It’s a great app and integrates with Shopify, our e-commerce provider. It saves us a lot of time by adding our customers directly into the email program. We have an email newsletter that sends blog articles to subscribers along with product and sale info.
We have a blog on CamelliaShop.com that we try to post interesting and informative growing information about our products. It’s built into Shopify which makes it super easy to manage from one app. Our articles include monthly gardening advice and some really great how-to’s. One of the most popular blog posts we have is about Waxing Camellias. This is a great how-to article on preserving camellia blossoms that features complete instructions and full color photos. It is written and shared from my personal experience with this fun craft instead of a being a boring technical article. It always performs well every time we share it on social media or through our email newsletter because it is something that appeals to both gardening and non-gardening people!
Check out the link here.
image
We use Google Shopping Ads and Facebook ads which bring us a fair amount of customers. CamelliaShop is a member of many gardening organizations including several facebook groups relating to Camellias and gardening. Because of our long history in the horticultural industry, we have established a presence in the gardening community. Honestly, more of our customers and sales come from our affiliations with these groups than we get through random internet advertising.
When marketing, I try to use the rule of 3rds. ⅓ of my marketing is teaching, ⅓ is sharing with them on a personal-professional level, and ⅓ is actually trying to sell my product.
Keeping customers engaged is always finding something they will find relevant. If all they see are ads, that’s going to get old. We share our experience as a grower, we show them things they have not seen before and we provide products they can purchase. But most importantly, we try to connect with them in their garden - where they want and need our help.
image
image

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Our present and our future looks bright! Our breeding program keeps us on the front line of new and rare plant introductions so there’s always something for us and for our customers to look forward to.
All of our sales are through our own retail store and our online shop. Because of the nature of our products and the level of personal connection we want to have with our customers, we do not sell through Amazon and other big box stores like Walmart. I think the one thing that has made our nursery special is the way people feel like they are part of the family and I just don’t feel that we can connect with customers in the same way if we were selling products through the largest retailers. When customers visit our retail store or CamelliaShop online, we want the experience to feel like they’ve been invited to our home instead of meeting them at the corner diner.
We plan to continue finding ways to improve our customer experience, with better product selections and pricing, that will keep them coming back over and over again.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

The largest lesson that I’ve learned is that you have to keep up with the changing times and you have to change with them. When we started with Camelliashop in 2007, there was not a lot of competition. We owned the market because we were one of only a few plant nurseries that had an online presence that shipped plants throughout the USA. Today, there are many plant nurseries that are online and sell and ship Camellias and competition is heavy.
Shipping was super cheap in 2007. We could ship a large sized plant to California from Georgia for under $15. Today, that same plant costs over $40. ‘Free Shipping’ is a deal breaker for most customers who buy consumer goods. Big conglomerates like Amazon are able to offer free shipping to their customers, but small businesses can’t make a profit doing so.
Keeping up with the competition for us is finding ways to offer products that are unique and that will keep customers coming back to see what’s new. Creating new Camellias through our breeding program makes it easy for us to make a difference. Also with today’s “Free Shipping World” We are also trying to find ways that we can offer free or reduced shipping to customers on certain products or by minimum purchases. We are always open to changes that we can make to attract new customers and keep the old ones.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We have used many different ecommerce platforms from Volusion, BigCommerce to Shopify. We are finally with Shopify and are very happy with the platform as a whole. Facebook and Instagram are excellent products because of the ease of use between the two. We have just recently started with Outfy to manage auto marketing to Facebook and Instagram.
We chose to use Shopify’s built in shipping module. It’s so much nicer to be able to just click “create shipment” instead of having to re-enter shipping info in a separate module. Shopify also offers huge discounted shipping rates that save us money.
One of the most beneficial and most used apps is Canva.com. It is a design app we use to create beautiful social media posts and covers, as well as flyers, email headers, book covers, cards and a great deal more digital marketing items. I use Canva because it’s easy to use with predesigned templates that let you plug images and go. They also have a huge digital library that you can use in your promos without having to go take photos or hire a photographer.
We used to use Photoshop to create our marketing items until we found Canva and now it’s the app of choice.

Advice for other entrepreneurs want to get started or are just starting out?

We live in a world of copy-cats. Unique ideas are few and far between. In the music industry, how many people can take a hit song and re-record it and how many will make the same impact that the original artist made? Not many. The key to being different in the music industry is singing your own song, not someone else’s. That’s the philosophy that we try to adopt in our own business.
There are many nurseries that sell some of the same plants that we do and sometimes at a much cheaper price. So how do we compete? The answer for us is to “sing our own song”. By working to offer unique plant introductions we are creating a barrier between the copy-cats and the originals. We are offering our customers a product that they can’t get anywhere else.
My advice to starting entrepreneurs is to sing your own song! Be unique - be different - in everything you do. Find something that no one else is doing, or find something they are doing, but do it better - create a difference.

Where can we go to learn more?

Email: [email protected]
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Liked this text interview? Check out the full interview with photos, tools, books, and other data.
For more interviews, check out starter_story - I post new stories there daily.
Interested in sharing your own story? Send me a PM
submitted by youngrichntasteless to Entrepreneur [link] [comments]

/r/Scams Common Scam Master Post

Hello visitors and subscribers of scams! Here you will find a master list of common (and uncommon) scams that you may find online or in real life. A big thanks to the many contributors who helped create this thread.
Here is the previous version of this thread from 2017, and here is the previous version of this thread from 2016.
Some of these articles are from small, local publications and refer to the scam happening in a specific area. Do not think that this means that the scam won't happen in your area.
The fake check scam (Credit to nimble2 for this part)
The fake check scam arises from many different situations (for instance, you applied for a job, or you are selling something on a place like Craigslist, or someone wants to purchase goods or services from your business), but the bottom line is always something like this:
Bitcoin job scams
Bitcoin job scams involve some sort of fraudulent funds transfer, usually a fake check although a fraudulent bank transfer can be used as well. The scammer will send you the fraudulent money and ask you to purchase bitcoins. This is a scam, and you will have zero recourse after you send the scammer bitcoins.
Fake payment scams
Scammers will ask you about your item that you have listed for sale on a site like Craigslist, and will ask to pay you via Paypal. They are scamming you, and the payment in most cases does not actually exist, the email you received was sent by the scammers. In cases where you have received a payment, the scammer can dispute the payment or the payment may be entirely fraudulent.
General fraudulent funds scams The fake check scam is not the only scam that involves accepting fraudulent/fake funds and purchasing items for scammers. If your job or opportunity involves accepting money and then using that money, it is almost certainly a frauduent funds scam. Even if the payment is through a bank transfer, Paypal, Venmo, Zelle, Interac e-Transfer, etc, it does not matter.
Credit card debt scam
Fraudsters will offer to pay off your bills, and will do so with fraudulent funds. Sometimes it will be your credit card bill, but it can be any bill that can be paid online. Once they pay it off, they will ask you to send them money or purchase items for them. The fraudulent transaction will be reversed in the future and you will never be able to keep the money. This scam happens on sites like Craigslist, Twitter, Instagram, and also some dating sites, including SeekingArrangement.
The parcel mule scam
A scammer will contact you with a job opportunity that involves accepting and reshipping packages. The packages are either stolen or fraudulently obtained items, and you will not be paid by the scammer. Here is a news article about a scam victim who fell for this scam and reshipped over 20 packages containing fraudulently acquired goods.
The Skype sex scam
You're on Facebook and you get a friend request from a cute girl you've never met. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. She'll ask you to send pictures or videos or get on webcam where she can see you naked with your face in the picture. The scam: There's no girl. You've sent nudes to a guy pretending to be a girl. As soon as he has the pictures he'll demand money and threaten to send the pictures to your friends and family. Sometimes the scammer will upload the video to a porn site or Youtube to show that they are serious.
What to do if you are a victim of this scam: You cannot buy silence, you can only rent it. Paying the blackmailer will show them that the information they have is valuable and they will come after you for more money. Let your friends and family know that you were scammed and tell them to ignore friend requests or messages from people they don't know. Also, make sure your privacy settings are locked down and consider deactivating your account.
The underage girl scam
You're on a dating site or app and you get contacted by a cute girl. She wants to start sexting and trading nudes. Eventually she stops communicating and you get a call from a pissed off guy claiming to be the girl's father, or a police officer, or a private investigator, or something else along those lines. Turns out the girl you were sexting is underage, and her parents want some money for various reasons, such as to pay for a new phone, to pay for therapy, etc. There is, of course, no girl. You were communicating with a scammer.
What to do if you are a victim of this scam: Stop picking up the phone when the scammers call. Do not pay them, or they will be after you for more money.
The blackmail email scam The exact wording of the emails varies, but there are generally four main parts. They claim to have placed software/malware on a porn/adult video site, they claim to have a video of you masturbating or watching porn, they threaten to release the video to your friends/family/loved ones/boss/dog, and they demand that you pay them in order for them to delete the video. Rest assured that this is a very common spam campaign and there is no truth behind the email or the threats. Here are some news articles about this scam.
The blackmail mail scam
This is very similar to the blackmail email scam, but you will receive a letter in the mail.
Rental scams Usually on local sites like Craigslist, scammers will steal photos from legitimate real estate listings and will list them for rent at or below market rate. They will generally be hesitant to tell you the address of the property for "safety reasons" and you will not be able to see the unit. They will then ask you to pay them a deposit and they claim they will ship you the keys. In reality, your money is gone and you will have no recourse.
Man in the middle scams
Man in the middle scams are very common and very hard to detect. The scammer will impersonate a company or person you are legitimately doing business with, and they will ask you to send the money to one of their own bank accounts or one controlled by a money mule. They have gained access to the legitimate persons email address, so there will be nothing suspicious about the email. To prevent this, make contact in a different way that lets you verify that the person you are talking to is the person you think you are talking to.
False Representation
This type of scam teases you with something, then tries to make you sign up for something else that costs money. The company involved is often innocent, but they turn a blind eye to the practice as it helps their bottom line, even if they have to occasionally issue refunds. A common variation takes place on dating sites/dating apps, where you will match with someone who claims to be a camgirl who wants you to sign up for a site and vote for her. Another variation takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where the scammers setup fake rental scams and demand that you go through a specific service for a credit check. Once you go through with it, the scammer will stop talking to you. Another variation also takes place on local sites like Craigslist, where scammers will contact you while you are selling a car and will ask you to purchase a Carfax-like report from a specific website.
Multi Level Marketing / Affiliate Marketing
You apply for a vague job listing for 'sales' on craigslist. Or maybe an old friend from high school adds you on Facebook and says they have an amazing business opportunity for you. Or maybe the well dressed guy who's always interviewing people in the Starbucks that you work at asks if you really want to be slinging coffee the rest of your life. The scam: MLMs are little more than pyramid schemes. They involve buying some sort of product (usually snake oil health products like body wraps or supplements) and shilling them to your friends and family. They claim that the really money is recruiting people underneath you who give you a slice of whatever they sell. And if those people underneath you recruit more people, you get a piece of their sales. Ideally if you big enough pyramid underneath you the money will roll in without any work on your part. Failure to see any profit will be your fault for not "wanting it enough." The companies will claim that you need to buy their extra training modules or webinars to really start selling. But in reality, the vast majority of people who buy into a MLM won't see a cent. At the end of the day all you'll be doing is annoying your friends and family with your constant recruitment efforts. What to look out for: Recruiters love to be vague. They won't tell you the name of the company or what exactly the job will entail. They'll pump you up with promises of "self-generating income", "being your own boss", and "owning your own company." They might ask you to read books about success and entrepreneurs. They're hoping you buy into the dream first. If you get approached via social media, check their timelines. MLMs will often instruct their victims to pretend that they've already made it. They'll constantly post about how they're hustling and making the big bucks and linking to youtube videos about success. Again, all very vague about what their job actually entails. If you think you're being recruited: Ask them what exactly the job is. If they can't answer its probably a MLM. Just walk away.
Street scams
Phone scams
You will receive a communication from someone who claims that you are entitled to a large sum of money, or you can help them obtain a large sum of money. However, they will need money from you before you receive the large sum.
Online shopping scams THE GOLDEN RULE OF ONLINE SHOPPING: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Computer scams
Assorted scams
Door to door scams
They ask you to donate $1
After you decline to buy a subscription, they ask you to donate a small sum of money. Your mind goes "I guess it's only $1" or "if that's what it takes for them to go away".
They ask to enter your home
While trying to sell you whatever, they suddenly need to use your bathroom, or they've been writing against the wall and ask to use your table instead. Or maybe they just moved into the neighborhood and want to see how you decorate for ideas.
They're scoping out you and your place. They want to see what valuables you have, how gullible you are, if you have a security system or dogs, etc.
submitted by EugeneBYMCMB to Scams [link] [comments]

Don't just complain about the anti-gun march, amplify your voice by contributing to pro-2A groups and reaching out to your representatives

National Advocacy Groups
Gun Owners of America
Second Amendment Foundation
National Rifle Association
National Association for Gun Rights
Local Advocacy Groups
State and local groups are critical too. The national groups have limited resources and often just don't have the ability to stay focused on everything going on at the state and local level as well. Thanks to /progun for this list:
State Group URL
Alabama Alabama Open Carry http://www.alabamaopencarry.com/
Alaska Alaska Outdoor Council http://www.alaskaoutdoorcouncil.org/
Arizona Arizona Citizens Defense League http://www.azcdl.org/
Arizona Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association http://www.asrpa.com/
Arkansas Arkansas Carry http://www.arkansascarry.com/
Arkansas Arkansas Rifle and Pistol Association http://www.arpa-online.org
California Calguns Foundation http://www.calgunsfoundation.org/
California California Rifle and Pistol Association http://www.crpa.org/
California Gun Owners of California http://www.gunownersca.com/
Colorado Colorado State Shooting Association http://www.cssa.org/
Colorado Rocky Mountain Gun Owners http://www.rmgo.org/
Connecticut Connecticut Citizens Defense League http://www.ccdl.us/
Connecticut Connecticut State Rifle & Revolver Association http://www.csrra.com
Delaware Delaware State Sportsmen's Association http://delsports.net/
Florida Florida Carry http://www.floridacarry.org/
Florida Florida Sport Shooting Association http://www.flssa.org/
Georgia Georgia Carry http://www.georgiacarry.org/
Georgia Georgia Gun Owners http://georgiagunowners.org
Georgia Georgia Sport Shooting Association http://www.gssa.info/
Hawaii Hawaii Rifle Association http://www.hawaiirifleassociation.org/
Idaho Idaho State Rifle and Pistol Association http://idahosrpa.org/
Illinois Illinois Carry http://www.illinoiscarry.com/
Illinois Illinois State Rifle Association http://www.isra.org/
Indiana Indiana State Rifle And Pistol Association http://www.isrpa.org/
Indiana INGunowners http://ingunowners.com
Iowa Iowa Gun Owners http://iowagunowners.org/
Iowa Iowa State Rifle and Pistol Association http://iasrpa.org/
Kansas Kansas State Rifle Association http://www.ksraweb.net/
Kentucky Kentucky State Rifle & Pistol Association http://kysrpa.org
Louisiana Bayou Shooter http://www.bayoushooter.com/
Louisiana Louisiana Shooting Association http://www.louisianashooting.com/
Maine Gun Owners of Maine http://gunownersofmaine.org/
Maine Pine Tree State (Maine) Rifle and Pistol Association http://www.mainerpa.org/index.php
Maryland Maryland Shall Issue http://marylandshallissue.org/
Maryland Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association http://www.msrpa.org/
Massachusetts Commonwealth Second Amendment http://comm2a.org/
Massachusetts Gun Owners' Action League http://goal.org/
Michigan Michigan Gun Owners http://www.migunowners.org/
Michigan Michigan Open Carry http://www.miopencarry.org/
Michigan Michigan Rifle & Pistol Association http://www.michrpa.com/
Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance http://www.gocra-mn.org/
Minnesota Minnesota Rifle and Revolver Association http://www.mrra.org/
Mississippi Mississippi State Firearm Owners Association http://www.msfoa.com/
Missouri Missouri Sport Shooting Association http://www.missourisportshooting.org/
Missouri Western Missouri Shooters Alliance http://www.wmsa.net/
Montana Montana Rifle and Pistol Association http://www.mtrpa.org/
Montana Montana Shooting Sports Association http://www.mtssa.org/
Nebraska Nebraska Firearms Owners Association http://nebraskafirearms.org/
Nevada Nevada Shooters http://www.nevadashooters.com/
New Hampshire Gun Owners of New Hampshire http://gonh.org/
New Hampshire New Hampshire Firearms Coalition http://www.nhfc-ontarget.org/
New Hampshire Pro-Gun New Hampshire http://www.pgnh.org/
New Jersey Association of NJ Rifle & Pistol Clubs http://www.anjrpc.org/
New Jersey New Jersey Second Amendment Society http://www.nj2as.com/
New Mexico New Mexico Shooting Sports Association http://www.nmssa.org/
New York Long Island Firearms http://www.longislandfirearms.com/
New York New York State Rifle & Pistol Association http://www.nysrpa.org/
New York NY Firearms http://www.nyfirearms.com
New York Shooters Committee on Political Education http://scopeny.org/
North Carolina Grass Roots North Carolina http://www.grnc.org/
North Carolina NC Rifle and Pistol Association http://www.ncrpa.org/
North Dakota North Dakota Shooting Sports Association http://www.ndssa.org/
Ohio Buckeye Firearms Association http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/
Ohio Ohio Rifle and Pistol Association http://www.orpa.net/
Oklahoma Oklahoma Rifle Association http://www.oklarifle.org/
Oregon Oregon Firearms Federation http://www.oregonfirearms.org/
Oregon Oregon State Shooting Association http://www.ossa.org/
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Rifle and Pistol Association http://www.pennarifleandpistol.org/
Rhode Island Citizens' Rights Action League http://www.cralri.com/
South Carolina Gun Owners of South Carolina http://www.gosc.org/
South Dakota South Dakota Shooting Sports Association http://www.sdshootingsports.org/
Tennessee Tennessee Firearms Association http://www.tfaonline.org/
Tennessee Tennessee Shooting Sports Association http://www.tennesseeshootingsportsassociation.org/
Texas Texas State Rifle Association https://www.tsra.com/
Utah GOUtah! http://www.goutah.org/
Utah Utah Shooting Sports Council http://utahshootingsportscouncil.org/
Vermont Gun Owners of Vermont http://www.gunownersofvermont.org/
Vermont Vermont State Rifle & Pistol Association http://www.vsrpa.org/
Virginia Virginia Citizens Defense League http://www.vcdl.org/
Virginia Virginia Shooting Sports Association http://www.myvssa.org/
Washington Washington Arms Collectors http://www.washingtonarmscollectors.org
Washington Washington State Rifle and Pistol Association http://www.wsrpa.net/
West Virginia West Virginia Citizens Defense League http://www.wvcdl.org/
West Virginia West Virginia State Rifle and Pistol Association http://www.wvasrpa.org/
Wisconsin Wisconsin Carry http://www.wisconsincarry.org/
Wisconsin Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs & Educators http://www.wi-force.org/
Wyoming Wyoming State Shooting Association http://www.wyossa.com/
Puerto Rico Damas de la Segunda Enmienda http://damasdelasegundaenmienda.net/
Take Action!
Obviously, when there is pending legislation, you need to write your representatives and let them politely but firmly know where you stand and what vote you expect from them. It helps to explain you're a single-issue voter as well, and that you're politically active and your friends look to you for guidance on who they may want to vote for.
But writing outside the scope of pending legislation is important too. Right now Congress sees hundreds of thousands of people marching against gun rights on the news. Getting hundreds of thousands of calls and emails from their actual constituents telling them not to give an inch will go a long way.
There is a great list of forms that make contacting your representatives incredibly easy here - https://www.reddit.com/progun/wiki/take_action
Donate For Free
How do you donate for free, you ask? There's plenty of affiliate programs out there which will give pro-2A groups a small percentage of sales. For example, Amazon Smile allows you to select the Second Amendment Foundation as a charity for Amazon to donate a portion of your purchases to every time you buy something. You can amplify this by taking the extra step of using their direct affiliate link anytime you shop instead by bookmarking http://www.saf.org/amazon.
Politely Debate
Anti-gunners are loud. Many gun owners are not, for a variety of reasons. People who concealed carry don't want to become a target. Casual gun owners may not want to risk their house being robbed for guns. Others may live in areas very hostile to gun owners and don't want to deal with the hassle of their neighbors, co-workers, bosses, etc. These are all understandable, and hopefully these people can at least rely on the organizations listed above to speak on their behalf.
But if you have no qualms about speaking up, please do so on behalf of everyone else. A few key things to keep in mind though, especially when it comes to social media:
Take People Shooting
Many anti-gunners, or even people in the middle who may vote for anti-gun candidates, are uneducated on guns. The easiest way to educate them isn't to yell at them on Facebook, but to actually take them shooting. Teach them the rules of safety before you get to the range. Let them handle an unloaded weapon. Get them out there and shooting and let them experience for themselves how it's fun and empowering. They'll probably even notice on their own the wide variety of people at the range and how all of them are being safe and are nice, friendly people.
If you can, take a few non-scary guns as well as a scary "assault weapon." If you have a .22, then awesome. Even better if you have a 10/22 and a Ruger Precision Rimfire so you can let them shoot the 10/22, go "that's not so bad," then hand them the scary black rifle and they fire it....exactly the same, but not semi-auto....wait a minute why did they want to ban the scary looking one? Politely point out that it's not even a semi-auto, and explain the 10/22 is a semi-automatic rifle and you might see some light bulbs start going off.
Other Resources
Edit: Added a bit on taking people shooting. Added NAGR.
submitted by HelluvaNinjineer to Firearms [link] [comments]

Amazon's affiliate program is widely considered one of the best for novice affiliate marketers, and well-seasoned veterans often call it one of the best overall. Some very famous marketers use it, and promote its use to all comers. That said, it's not perfect for everyone, for one simple reason. According to certain tax legislation, Amazon is unable to operate their affiliates program in Amazon is hiring entrepreneurs for its new "Amazon Delivery Service Partner" program, which allows people to start own their own small business and operate independently. Here's how to apply. Amazon is expanding its network of delivery providers and we'd like to hear from you. Join our last mile revolution and help us give our customers the best service possible. Join the Amazon.com Associates Program and start earning money today. The Amazon Associates Program is one of the largest and most successful online affiliate programs, with over 900,000 members joining worldwide. If you are a Web site owner, an Amazon seller, or a Web developer, you can start earning money today. Amazon is one of the largest e-commerce retailers in the world. E-commerce is just a fancy way of saying buying and selling online. As of 2017, Amazon is the top online retailer in the U.S. with $94.7 billion in online sales (that accounts for a whopping 70% of the company’s revenue!).

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