Just before the holidays, we just want to put you, our readers, on notice about scams and frauds that you can come across – especially around the time of the holidays when everyone is scrambling at the last minute to meet deadlines, get everything settled… and maybe seize an opportunity on the side? So we’re starting a short series where we’ll talk to you about the different types of scams and frauds that you can come across and how to avoid them – not only at this time of year but at any time.
The first we’re talking about today is the Business Opportunity Scam. These schemes are similar to pyramid schemes, chain letters, computer prediction software, and work-from-home scams. This one will come not because you’re being targeted by someone but because you’re one of thousands of people who are being sent batches of emails or randomized phone calls. You will be offered a way to make money quickly – and a lot of it.
The warning signs are like this:
- You’re being offered a ‘business opportunity’
- You are required to send a FEE to get started and obtain your materials
- There is no street address of the business, only a P.O. Box
- The email is sent to ‘dear client’ or ‘valued client’ – in short, they’re not addressing you directly
- You are required to transfer money to someone else to get that job
- You are promised guaranteed sums or returns on your investment
- You are offered high returns by just ‘using our [x] software that predicts the market share movements’
Do any of these sound familiar? That’s because they are everywhere. To avoid them, just remember one thing: get-rich-quick is about the scammer getting rich quick – not you.
So never agree to anything on the phone – get it in writing. Don’t go for anything that requires an upfront fee (we’ve talked about upfront fees before, too). Never hand out your credit card details to unknown sources. Do not open unsolicited emails. And if possible, contact your local office of fair trading, ASIC, or the ACCC for not only for assistance and to report this fraud or scam, but to bring their attention to it as well.
We’ve got more scams and frauds coming up, so stay tuned and stay safe during the holidays!
Always make sure that you make an informed decision in all cases,
All the Best,