Scams: It Doesn’t Always Take Money to Make Money

Do you always need to shell out some cash to get some in return? In the world of business, this is often the case. However, it doesn’t always take money to make money; some money-making schemes are just that: schemes. Also known as cons, scams, connivances or conspiracies, many fraudulent companies are in business simply to take your money. How can you tell the difference between a legitimate business transaction and a scheme? Let’s take a look.

Businesses Work on a Win-Win Mindset

If you are working with a legitimate business, they want to give you something for your cash. You get an item, they get their money; win-win. Now even though the business could offer you either a product or a service, the important factor to recognize is that the business wants you to be happy with your purchase. They want you to come back and buy more. A scammer couldn’t care less about your satisfaction.

For example, let’s say you want to start a graphic design business from home. You go out and purchase a book about how to start your business. You get a book, the store gets money and you learn all about how to join the ranks of the self-employed. This return was what you expected, and you are pleased.

A scammer, on the other hand, may falsely advertise a package for starting your own business. It has all the bells and whistles you think are necessary, and it guarantees you will see a 200% return in the cash you shell out within a month. The package sounds perfect, almost too good to be true.

So you purchase the package and wait for the delivery. And wait. And wait. When it finally arrives, it is not even close to what you expected, and you certainly can’t make back 200% of your investment. You then try to call the company to no avail; their number is disconnected.

Win-lose: the scammer got their money, but you get scammed.

How to Avoid the Scams

Unfortunately, this happens quite often. Scammers are pretty good at pretending to care…until they have you in the web. When they are trying to sell, they’ll pull out all the stops with overzealous selling techniques (Note: I know this firsthand. I was almost scammed).

Once they have your cash in hand, though, they will no longer offer excellence in service. In fact, they may just disappear. So what can you do to protect yourself? Simply doing some research on a company with whom you are unfamiliar may save you time, energy and a boatload of cash. Let’s look at some research tactics:

  • Google Search: First, if you are unfamiliar with a company, you can search for them on Google. Don’t stop with the first page, though. You should dig deeper, where you might find a string of negative reviews. Also, searching beyond the name of the company can also bring back information about a similar product scam operating under a different name; if it’s a scam there, it’s most likely a scam under the new name as well.
  • BBB Search: Next, you may wish to search the Better Business Bureau. The business should be graded there to help you judge their service. If it is a scam, there may also be additional information advising you to stay away.
  • Listen to Your Gut: You often know when something seems off, so when in doubt, listen to your first instinct.

In business, it almost always takes money to make money, but your investment should be worth every penny you put in. It’s your money, and it should be working for you, not lining a scammer’s pocket. Therefore, you may wish to research new companies before purchasing a product or service. A few clicks of the mouse can save you from scamming nightmares.

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Anonymous's picture

Lindy Mint wrote:

Thu, 10/13/2011 - 00:28 Comment #: 1

I was always coming across scammers when I was a newbie receptionist at my first job. People would call up and say they needed to update our directory listing, then I'd give them the information, and they'd send us a big directory and try to charge us $300 for it. Or they'd ask me to authorize a toner shipment, and when it arrived it was for a printer we didn't even own.

It took me a while to figure it out, but I learned it's always best to ask as many questions as possible, and if it sounds fishy, don't be too shy to just say no and hang up.

Christa Palm's picture

Christa Palm wrote:

Thu, 10/13/2011 - 22:17 Comment #: 2

Lindy Mint, it's amazing to me the scams that they come up with! The one about the directory is pretty amazing; who woulda thunk it? Great advice to ask as many questions as possible and listen to your inner voice!

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