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Articles > Life July, 29, 2020

How to Avoid Online Scams

Frank Hamilton
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Thousands of people have become victim of business opportunity scams every year. Even the most professional, experienced investors can fall fail to scams if they don’t do the necessary background checks before investing money.

There is a growing number of young people aged under 25-yo who are becoming victims of job scams, identity fraud and other scheme. Unfortunately, young job seekers are statistically unlikely to report such scams.

Anyone can duped by a scammer

The FCA emphasizes the importance of making informed decisions, but many of us still don’t know how to understand whether we’re dealing with a legit opportunity or scam.

The main reason why we fall victim to scams is simply that we’re not experienced enough. Some scams are quite sophisticated. They use a variety of tactics to make people trust them, and they may have various fake documents to mislead potential investors.

However, there are some features that most fraudulent schemes have in common.

How to tell you’re dealing with a scammer

There are some common signs of fraud that every consumer can spot. For instance, many fraudulent business opportunities are promoted via email or using internet ads.

To attract more people, scammers often promise very high income within a short period of time. Obviously, they also claim that you won’t need to put much effort into your work. There are many fraudulent opportunities that involve working from home or being your own boss.

However, such businesses that are promoted using emails or classified ads in newspapers are often unprofitable. The product might be of poor quality or have no demand in the market. The business may also have low-quality customer service or not enough locations to bring their owners any considerable profit.

How to avoid business opportunity scams

To protect yourself from scammers, we recommend that you follow a few helpful tips:

  • Read the FAC’s list of unreliable companies to avoid
  • Check out the FCA’s Financial Service Register if somebody asks you to invest any money
  • Keep in mind that legit employers don’t need you to pay to secure a job
  • “Talk to an attorney, business advisor, or accountant before you decide to sign any documents or to make any payments,” suggests Claire Russel from a writing service reviews website Online Writers Rating
  • Contact a consumer protection service and/or a government organisation to source any records of previous complaints
  • Visit Companies House and do your research to determine whether you’re dealing with a genuine firm or a so-called “clone firm.”
  • If you see an opportunity that involves selling products from a well-known brand, contact the brand’s legal department and make sure the promoter is affiliated with this brand

Take you time, gather all the information before committing to a job or investment opportunity. If someone makes you an offer, they should be able to provide you with evidence that the offer is profitable.

If you’re dealing with a company that doesn’t provide enough information, we recommend that you don’t rush into decisions. Take your time and do your research.

Most scammers want you to act quickly and emphasise that you should make your decision immediately. Legit opportunities will be around for a while, so nobody should put pressure on you.

Final thoughts

There are many fraudulent business opportunities that look too good to be true. Quite often they are.

But if you do your research and follow the above tips, you will be able to avoid scams. And if you do suspect you’re dealing with a fraudster, don’t hesitate to report it to the FCA.

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