Knowing if a business opportunity online is fraudulent or not isn’t as easy as it looks. The internet is riddled with stories of people getting rich overnight. Many are obviously scams simply because of the impossibly high returns they offer for such a short time or for little effort.
Caveat Emptor is a well-known Latin phrase which translates roughly translates to “let the buyer beware”. Before you buy-in to anything online, whether it’s a job, a product or a business opportunity, make it a habit to check if the deal you’re getting into won’t waste your time and money.
There are a few good rules of thumb when checking out a business opportunity online. Aside from the obvious one I mentioned earlier, here are a few other telltale signs that a business opportunity is too good to be true:
- They ask for money upfront but don’t outline what you’re going to receive for it. Vague offers with no clear cut descriptions should always set off an alarm in your head. The same bit of common sense you apply to real world business opportunities are still useful for any business opportunity online.
- You’re asked upfront to provide sensitive information like credit card number or your Social Security number. Even for less important information like your contact number, you should only provide it if they have a compelling reason to ask for it.
- You can’t find their business location or it’s not listed online. There’s no reason for a business not to publish their mailing address. It’s a legal requirement. Drop the offer if you cannot find any verified contact information.
- There is no available information on the owners or company that posted the business opportunity online.
- They don’t offer a refund guarantee or if they do, there are no details on how to initiate it.
- Shoddy website design. An online business has no excuse for mediocre website design. Be on the lookout for those that do not have their own domain or use free hosting sites.
- Search engine results on their name gets nothing but negative feedback. Check the results you see on the front page. If the reviews and feedback from reputable sources are all negative, then you should skip the offer. Besides, you really don’t want to start with a huge handicap since any negative feedback also makes it harder to sell whatever product or service they offer.
- They use an unknown payment system that is also equally hard to find information on.
- They use very spammy tactics. Marketers can be persistent but if you feel that the marketing feels more intrusive rather than inviting then you should probably reconsider the offer. These tactics aren’t looked upon well by internet users and in some cases, considered illegal.
- Scams and frauds work because they appeal to greed and fear. If you feel pressured, step back and assess the offer further. The person making the offer should be more than willing to discuss the offer in detail with you. If they’re not willing to talk to you before you take the offer, then don’t expect them to talk to you and provide you with support once you’ve already joined or worse paid up.
If the opportunity you’re considering is positive for any one of these signs then you need to do a bit of research. The website or people who made the offer should be willing and able to give you a straight answer when you ask them about your concerns. Don’t even think of taking their offer if they fail to comply with your request for information.
One quality of the Internet and the Web that you should remember is that it allows you access to an immense amount of information. You only need to do research, ask around, and apply a bit of common sense to avoid scams.
You can find a business opportunity online that will work for you. There are lots of opportunities available to the smart, determined and discerning. Before committing, it is always important to know what you’re buying and what you’re selling.