A business opportunity scam can come to you through a spam email, a phone call or a letter. The scammer will always offer you a way to make a lot of money quickly.
Business opportunity scams are similar to pyramid schemes, chain letters, computer prediction software and work from home scams. A business opportunity can be a scam if it relies on you making an upfront payment (for something that does not work or is not what you expected), recruiting other people to the scheme (these are pyramid schemes) or paying for a ‘system’ to make money which may not work as it is supposed to.
Before you respond to a business opportunity advertisement, ask yourself why somebody would offer you this opportunity without even knowing you. If someone had a guaranteed way of making a lot of money, why would they tell you about it?
Always investigate money-making schemes very carefully before parting with your money. Take time to seek independent legal or other professional advice.
Don’t rely on the person approaching you or anyone they recommend for advice.
Don’t be enticed by reported past performance or examples, as these advertising tools can easily be manipulated.
Be on the look out for ongoing costs. Many business opportunity scams require you to open accounts or transfer money. You should NEVER give out your personal or banking details to somebody you don’t know and trust. Don’t let the fact that an offer sounds enticing or genuine fool you.
NEVER reply to an unsolicited or spam email, as this may encourage further contact from the spammers. If you are interested in a business opportunity, make sure you get independent professional advice before making a decision. Remember that if a business opportunity sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you have received information about a business opportunity that sounds similar to the scams described above, or if you have responded to one of these offers and you now suspect or realise it is a scam, you can report a scam through the SCAMwatch website. You should also spread the word to your friends, family and colleagues to protect them.