We’ve all seen them – the ads that promise opportunities to make extra money or work from home and make a fortune. But the fact is that many of these are scams that take an applicant’s money up front and then never delivers what was promised.
But how do you know if an ad is bogus? It’s often not easy to tell if an ad is fraudulent, but there are certain clues that give it away. One is the type of business opportunity being advertised. Fraud is most often associated with vending machine, display rack, medical billing, mystery shopping, work at home and some Internet-related business opportunities.
Fraudulent opportunities are quite common – you can find them in newspapers, magazines and online every day. The bait is similar in all of them: excellent pay and the ability to set your own hours, be your own boss and work from home.
If you are considering a business opportunity, be sure to thoroughly check it out first. Read the ad carefully. If it claims you can earn a certain income, it must also give the number and percentage of previous employees who achieved these earnings. The seller is violating the law if this information isn’t there.
Get information in writing about how much money you can make. Be sure to study all the materials about the opportunity. Ask to speak with other employees, at their place of business.
You should contact the Better Business Bureau, attorney general’s office, and state or county consumer protection agency to find out if there is any record of unresolved complaints on the company. Do an Internet search on the company name and the CEO or president, along with words like “complaints” and “scam.”
If a business opportunity involves selling products from well-known companies, call the legal departments of the companies behind the merchandise and find out if the company is truly affiliated with the promoter.
Be sure to consult an attorney, accountant or business adviser before you sign anything or hand over any money. If the promoter requires a deposit, ask your attorney to establish an escrow account where the deposit can be maintained by a third party until the deal is closed.
Take your time. Promoters behind fraudulent offers will often try to push you toward signing on the dotted line. Don’t rely on a money back guarantee or refund policy as your get out of jail free card. If the business is legit, it will be there after you’ve done your homework and are ready to make a decision.