Financial Education Clearinghouse

Warning Signs of Business Opportunity Fraud

Protect yourself from business opportunity fraud by recognizing the signs of a scam.

Warning Signs of Business Opportunity Fraud

  • High Pressure Sales
    If you are pressured to make the decision now, don't.
  • Promises of High Profits
    Beware of promises of high profits, especially if they are "guaranteed".
  • Little or no Risk
    If you are told "you can't go wrong" you had better look elsewhere. All businesses involve risk.
  • High Start-up Fees
    Steer clear of business opportunities that involve high sign-up fees, requirements of large product purchases, expensive product, or have a no product repurchase policy.
  • Evasive Answers
    If the promoter will not or cannot answer your questions, don't purchase their product.
  • Incomplete or Skimpy Contracts
    If your contract takes only a couple of minutes to read or seems to be incomplete and the promoter makes promises not covered by the contract, beware. Take the contract to your attorney before you buy so he or she can make sure your rights are protected.
  • Irregular Business Practices
    You are asked to travel to another state to sign the papers and make payment. The promoter asks you to send your payment by private courier instead of through the mail. The only references are half way across the country or even in another country. The promoter is only willing to give phone numbers of references. The promoter is willing to fly in and meet you at the airport to quickly sign you up.

Any of the above are serious red flags.

Take your time when investing in a business opportunity. Scams and frauds can be hard to spot, do your homework and investigate thoroughly.

Verify Opportunity is Registered

To check to see if a business opportunity is registered or if any complaints have been filed against it, contact the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions at 1-877-RING DFI (1-877-746-4334).