I’ve been in marketing for 20 years, 13 of those years File a scam complaint I’ve been doing it on the Internet. As an experienced entrepreneur, I have come across more than my share of business opportunities, schemes and scams.
Everyone should understand the difference between a real scam, a real business, and what some people may label a scam, but many times is not. This is important because many people are afraid to participate in perfectly legitimate business opportunities that could be providing them with extra income for their families in these hard times.
Scam Definitions: Real Scams First, let me explain real scams. On this end of the spectrum are programs that are fraudulent, illegal, immoral, or a blatant rip-off. These can include “con” games where professional rip-off artists have no legitimate business opportunity, but are simply making money by stealing money, time, or resources from you.
Or worse, they can continue to cause harm to you after the initial event in other ways too, such as taking your personal information, including credit card information and selling it to others, or even stealing your identity.
Really, the best defense with these is to talk with someone at the business. You can usually get a feeling if they have something to hide after questioning someone for a few minutes. Do some research online to find out more about the type of opportunity it is, if it is a typical scam, or if the company is listed on scam websites.
Real Businesses Called Scams At the other end of the spectrum are thousands of real business opportunities where you can actually make some money. Many of these are similar to the programs you see on the internet today and involve work at home, virtual assistants, affiliate marketing, and selling products, software or e-books.
Even though I would classify these programs as real businesses, it does not mean they are perfect. It is these weaknesses that often result in people labeling some of these businesses as “scams”. Here are some reasons why these real, legitimate businesses are called scams by some people:
1) They are the competition to a program they are trying to sell. I have seen this many times where one person is selling a program trying to make money and labels all others or specific competitors as scams in order to scare people away from his competition.
2) They have really hyped up marketing. This hype and exaggeration in the marketing materials does not make it a Scam by itself. It is simply marketing. Just because there are large red fonts, with yellow highlighting does not necessarily mean it is a scam.
3) They tried the program and failed to make what they expected because of lack of Effort, Knowledge, Time or Money. Many people I have spoken to do not want to put in the required effort, or time or marketing money to get the program kick started.
4) Incorrect expectations. Expectations are critical, if they expected to make $50,000 in the first month and they only make $5,000, then they will call it a scam. ($5,000 per month is fine with me for one program!)