Hi folks! I hope y’all had as good a Thanksgiving as I did. The only problem with mine is that I think I found a few of the 15 pounds I had lost over the last two months…<g>…oh well, After Christmas I suppose I can try to lose them again!
Today I want to warn y’all about a type of scam going around that is targeted at folks who are self-sufficiency, grid-avoiding types of folks…you know, people who ar homesteader types whether they realize it or not. These folks are a perfect scammer’s target.
Folks who are already living the homestead life and have been for a while may have a “Well duh!” reaction to this post, having learned this lesson a while back, but there are a lot of new homesteaders and homesteader wannabes that read the Family Homesteading posts here at JuicyMaters who aren’t aware of just how many scammers target folks like them, so…listen up!
Most homesteaders think that the basic ingredient in being a successful homesteader is hard work, and they are right. With that said, many folks are always on the lookout for tools to help them in their self-sufficiency quest. Scamers know that, and put together “products” to take advantage of it. The range of products is positively amazing, supposedly “helping” us in a variety of areas.
For example, for folks whose big concern is food self-sufficiency, there are a lot of companies that will sell you everything from “heirloom seeds” (that aren’t really) to a “food system” that will include a package of pre-prepared meals, for anywhere from a weekly to a yearly “plan”.
Regarding the “yearly food supply” products…how is that self-sufficiency? It is really just a prettied up, and expensive, version of military MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), processed and packaged in a factory, just like what you get off the shelves at your local grocery. How is that self-sufficient?
Anyway, probably the sector of products most often targeted at homesteaders, and that seems to have the most scammers, is products that promise cheap or free energy. That makes sense since probably 99% of homesteading types want to go as far as they can toward being off-grid, and most “mainstream” energy production, like solar panels or wind turbines, are expensive..REALLY expensive.
Obviously there is more than one energy scam out there, and you need to check everything out, but today I want to give you a specific example of what to watch out for, and remember…you usually get what you pay for. Cheap or free offers are usually worth what you pay.
That does not apply to information you can find here at JuicyMaters, of course…LOL. This is a free site and always will be, and I hope many of y’all find it one of your first “go-to” sources of information about homesteading, yurts, and more. You, the friends and readers of JuicyMaters, are very much appreciated.
If you are like me you have somehow gotten on every email list in the world of people that offer advise/systems/products that can help you become more energy self-sufficient…from gadgets that make your car run on water to plans for building a $50 greenhouse to grow your food food in the winter, and all of these share a few similarities. All of them are cheap…too cheap. I’m all for being frugal and saving money, but I also know you get what you pay for. When something costs $199.00 $$149.99 $$99.99 $59.99 but now just $19.99, you can figure it’s probably a scam. If the offer further puts time pressure on you as well…”Three days only!!! or “This offer may be forced offline at any time!”…it is usually just scam confirmation.
The latest scam I’ve seen is for the HoJo Motor, an invention that will supposedly allow you to make your own energy rather than buying it from the power company. You can supposedly build this miraculous item in 3 days with less than $100.00 worth of parts, parts available from your local hardware store, and you can get the blueprints for only $49.97!
Now THAT is tempting. For under $150.00 you can say goodbye to the power company!
Sadly, these people aren’t interested in helping you go off-grid. Their only interest is in your helping them afford bigger houses that will use ever more energy…energy bought from the power company no doubt, not energy generated with the HoJo Motor.
What the blueprints will show you is how to build a theoretical machine that has the potential to possibly generate energy, but only after someone spends weeks or months of their time and somewhere well over $100,000 of their money in further development of what is, now, not even to a working prototype stage.
Before even opening the link in the email, there were a few clues that sent warning flags and killed any chances of sucking me in. First was the subject, “Free Energy Generator With Patents (invite only)”. Really? FREE Energy Generator? And how am I so special I get an invite? Is it my bank debit card they want me to use that makes me “special”?
Next was the return address, [email protected], which shows in my email as simply TeslaSecret.net. If you are like me you constantly get emails from TeslaSecret.net and you already know their missives are a scam, but homesteading neophytes may not be aware of them. They are smart scammers. Every once in a while they actually send an email that has helpful information that is helpful, that makes you think they are legitimate, but believe me, that is only to draw you in and THINK they are legit.
When I visited the site the email directed me to, which I will NOT publish here, the video gave the last clue anyone should need. Supposedly, the Big Energy Companies are so big, and so powerful, that they have forced this offer off the net once already, and will probably do it again SOON, so you must buy NOW while it is still available. I’m going to break my own rule about off color language here on JuicyMaters and give you a one word opinion on that, and the rest of the scam.
Folks, all of us who think of ourselves as homesteaders, now or potentially, want to be self-sufficient, in energy and other ways. That is the core of a homesteading life, frugal self-sufficiency…but don’t let your enthusiasm for self-sufficiency make you a victim of scammers like this. Here are a few rules of thumb:
- If you run across something via email, as I found the HoJo Motor, look at the subject. Is it simply informative, or does it try to imply urgency, either making you “special” (invite only…really?) or very time limited (Today ONLY!)?
- Is the sender someone who you know as reliable, either unknown or someone you know and have received scam offers from before?
- When you get to the offer itself, look for the time limited clue again. Sometimes it’s an obvious baloney claim, like the HoJo Motor offer claiming powerful interests will force them to quit the offer, but sometimes the limiting part of the offer will look reasonable. “Limited quantities” or “Get it before we run out” seem reasonable, and can be legitimate if you are buying something that you can actually hold and touch, like a tool that uses less power, or a super-efficient generator, but there is no such thing as running out of web delivered information.
The only effect of more downloads of the latest greatest ebook or the coolest recent video series is to increase the sellers bank account.
When a publisher of web based information claims “quantities are limited” there is only one word that accurately describes the person or persons making the offer…liars.
- Remember, Google and Bing are your friends. Before spending a penny on any offer, Google it, and don’t read the website of the company making the offer. Look for reviews, or scam warnings. Be careful about what you read though. Many scammers will set up phoney sites that write glowing “reviews” of what the main site is selling.Read more than one review…read more than two. My Google page displays 10 sites per page, and before I spend money I read a minimum of all 10 items on the first page, and often I’ll read, or at least scan, the content of all of the items on the second Google page as well.
Folks, homesteading is not quick or easy. It takes hard work and a bit of time to get a successful homestead up and running, and to become as self-sufficient as you want it to be. It is not quick or easy, but it can be done frugally, if a part of your frugal planning is to educate yourself on any ideas and products before spending money on what turns out to be a scam.
Y’all have a good…and frugal…day, and remember…
Y’all come back now, ya hear?
p.s. One of the links below, on going off grid, is fro the Huffington Post. See? Even HoffPo is good for something besides just cyber-toilet paper…
- Scammers Scam Gmail Scam Filters (loosewireblog.com)
- Cyber Monday: How to avoid getting scammed (cbsnews.com)
- To Catch A Scammer: One Man’s Mission To Shut Down An Invoice Scam (techcrunch.com)
- How Much Land Do You Need To Go Off The Grid? (huffingtonpost.com)