At times, we all like to imagine ourselves lying on a private beach on a remote island or sipping rare Bordeaux along with a spoonful of caviar at a mansion in the Mediterranean.
The fact is that most of us cannot afford to do this. But human greed is such that at times logical reasoning, intellect or even plain common sense loses ground. There are various scammers and con artists out there, who will gladly take your hard earned money and vanish into thin air – and if we look at history, this is not a new trend.
Such cheaters have always existed and with the advancements in technologies like the Internet and e-mail, it has become much easier and “cost effective” for scam artists to target their victims.
Whenever you are presented with a unique business opportunity, don’t act spontaneously and rush into it. Calm your initial excitement and do a few checks regarding the authenticity the opportunity. Check the name of the company and its details on the government database website. This should give you a fair idea about the company and its history.
Try conducting a search on that company and look at few of the relevant details. Go through the official website, as well as other sites that offer reviews regarding the business and read the testimonials. Call the numbers that the business has listed and ask questions that you might have regarding the business. If you find any ambiguities, you know you are treading into dangerous territory. Check and see if you get the same information through different avenues. For example, if the e-mail you received from the company states one thing, while the official website states another, or worse – the reviews state something completely different, you know something is fishy and that you need to stay away.
Other Warning Signs
In addition to these common-sense checks, there are other signs that you should look out for to avoid being cheated.
Business Model: See if the business model looks viable. Don’t only look at potential profits, but also at how you are going to earn money. No business should be set up where it would go into loss. Ask them how their company earns money. If you do not get satisfactory answers, or receive vague responses, be cautious about the business.
Your Role: Check your responsibilities in the business. Also check to find out if you have any liability. You don’t want to be left with a truckload of useless products that you have to sell at a very high price, and which you have already paid for! Beware of opportunities that sound very simple, but that are next to impossible to put into practice.
Literature: Go through the company’s literature and see what it says about the opportunity. A genuine one will give you all the details. Stay away from those who show you pictures of rich people, and specify how they got rich because of that particular scheme, but fall short of giving you any real information on how the business plan will work.
Payment: A genuine business should have no qualms about accepting payments through credit cards or other legitimate payment routes. If the company insists on paying through cash or check or worse – wire transfer – you already know something is wrong.
Pressure: Don’t be pressured into making any hasty decisions, by claims such as “only few vacancies are left” or “rates will increase soon”. If someone is forcing you, you should just back off.
Finally, let common sense prevail – don’t overlook the warning signs. If an offer sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!