Scams are nothing new. There will always be people who attempt to profit by misleading others into spending their money on products or services with little or no value – and during times of economic uncertainty, scams only become more common. Unfortunately, 2022 is one of those times. Inflation is rampant, and supply chain issues have made some desirable products difficult to find. If you’ve looked at your retirement account recently, you probably noticed that it isn’t doing so well. Scammers pounce on these circumstances – and to make matters worse, many of the scams making the rounds today are based on technologies and products that didn’t even exist a few years ago. These are the consumer scams that could only exist in 2022.
The Cryptocurrency Scam
These days, it often feels like you can’t turn on a TV or visit a website without being inundated with cryptocurrency-related ads. In particular, crypto exchanges around the world do their best to trigger a fear that you’re missing out on something huge if you aren’t trading cryptocurrencies right now and adding them to your retirement portfolio.
In 2021, consumer interest in stock trading experienced an enormous boost. Crypto exchanges rode that wave and earned a great deal of money. Now that the markets are trending down, though, crypto traders are beginning to incur heavy losses. Bitcoin – the best-known cryptocurrency – is down over 38 percent in 2022 at the time of writing. The only way to stem the tide is to bring new traders into the cryptocurrency fold, and that’s one reason why the crypto exchanges are advertising more heavily than ever.
If you’ve been on the sidelines and are worried that you could be missing out on huge gains if you don’t start dabbling in crypto now, you should stop and spend some time reading about what cryptocurrencies are, how they work and why they have value.
When you buy a share of stock, you own a percentage of that company and have a legal claim to a share of the company’s assets. When you buy a cryptocurrency token, on the other hand, you have an entry in a digital ledger. There’s no underlying value and nothing to support the token’s price except consumer demand. Without demand, the value of any crypto token can fall to nothing. Most cryptocurrencies have no real use case. There’s no reason to buy them except out of the hope that you’ll be able to sell them to someone else for a higher price later. Unless you’re sure you’ll be able to do that, you should think very hard about whether a crypto exchange is really where you want to park your money.
The Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil Scam
In the health world, the hemp-derived extract cannabidiol (CBD) has been the hottest supplement for quite a while now. People use it for a huge variety of different reasons, and many people have reported great results with it. The only problem with CBD, though, is that it can be quite expensive – even within the already expensive world of supplements.
When people want a product but can’t afford to pay for it, scammers will always pop up to take advantage of the situation – and that has definitely happened in the world of CBD. Recently, unscrupulous sellers have attempted to sell hemp oil on major websites like Amazon, marketing their products in a misleading manner to make companies think that they contain CBD.
Why is the distinction between hemp oil vs. CBD oil so important? It’s because the two products have nothing in common at all except that they both come from the hemp plant. CBD is a cannabinoid. It’s an active ingredient that interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce a variety of effects, and it occurs in the highest concentrations within the flowers of female hemp plants.
After a female hemp plant is fertilized by a male plant, it stops producing cannabinoids and begins to produce seeds. Hemp seeds are extremely nutritious. They’re full of protein and healthy fats. You can buy hemp seeds to eat as food, and you can also buy oil that’s pressed out of the seeds for culinary use.
When you search for CBD oil on a marketplace like Amazon, you won’t find it because Amazon doesn’t allow the sale of CBD products. You will, however, find hemp oil that looks like CBD oil and is marketed in a way designed to make you believe that it is CBD oil. You’ll also see some appealingly low prices. Don’t fall for this scam. Hemp oil isn’t CBD oil, and it contains virtually no cannabinoids of any kind.
The Tech Scalper Scam
One of the situations that has driven the narrative in the tech world over the past year is a global shortage of semiconductors. Put simply, virtually every electronic product in the world has at least one integrated circuit inside it. An integrated circuit can be something as complex as the CPU in your computer or as simple as the chip that controls your microwave. Thanks to increased demand for all forms of electronic components, the world’s semiconductor fabricators are fully booked and can’t produce enough microchips to meet the demand. Chip makers are attempting to increase production capacity, but it could be years before the new production facilities are fully online. In the meantime, many gadgets and electronics will remain difficult to find.
Some of the tech products most affected by the semiconductor shortage include game consoles and computer components such as video cards – and when expensive products are in demand and difficult to find, scalpers will always take advantage of the situation.
A scalper is a person who buys a product at its retail price with the hope of flipping it on an auction site such as eBay for more than what they paid. Scalpers often use automated software to detect when retailers have certain items in stock and buy those items immediately before consumers have an opportunity.
The thing that many consumers fail to realize is that scalpers wouldn’t exist if no one bought from them. If a given video card has a retail value of $1,000 – and you can’t find that card anywhere except on eBay with a price of $1,700 – you can bet that the eBay seller is a scalper. At that point, you have two choices: You can pay the inflated price to get the product now, or you can wait for the product to be available at its normal retail price later. If all consumers chose the second option, scalpers would have no choice but to cut their losses and move on.
Scalpers add no value to the tech industry and only exist to take advantage of low supply and high demand. Although you might have the money to buy that overpriced video card or game console immediately, it’s really better for you – and for other consumers – if you refuse to buy the product at an inflated price. If everyone does their part, tech scalpers will eventually go away.