Business Tips Entrepreneur

Don’t Believe Everything You See on the Web

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Written by Francine Schill

I was writing a blog when I received a call from a friend telling me about this new opportunity she had found and how it was the answer she had been looking for.

” The post says, ‘Work from home; make $7,000 a month.’ I found it on this job site. It’s an official job site, so it has to be real. They wouldn’t post scams on the site.” She was so excited about this opportunity, I hated to tell her it wasn’t true. That wasn’t the first time I’d heard about these ads and the excitement they generate when people read them.

The economy is tough right now for everyone. More and more families are struggling and looking for ways to make ends meet. Needing additional income to ease their burden makes them a more vulnerable target for these ads.

How do you make sure you are not a victim of ads that tout the opportunity to make large amounts of money but may have a required fee or investment to generate income? Here are some tips to help you:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it is. This is one of the most important rules for you to remember. To succeed in business, you actually have to work. Money is not going to fall from the sky into your waiting hands. You are not going to be paid for sitting by the pool or having your computer on autopilot making sales for you. If that were the case, I’d be the first to sign up.
  • There is a fee. Employers do not charge fees of any kind to hire you or for startup kits. If you are asked to pay a fee, run! Do not give any type of payment to a potential employer. This is a sure sign it is not a legitimate business or opportunity.
  • Appearances can be deceiving. Be sure to research. I cannot tell you this enough: Research, and research some more. I have created many websites for many different businesses over the years. My job is to make them look professional and unique. But just because a company has an awesome website and seems legitimate doesn’t mean it’s a valid company.

I learned the last particular lesson the hard way. About seven years ago, my husband and I decided to go on an overnight trip with the children to a lake resort. We had never been in the area before, so I checked numerous sites and found this wonderful hotel. It was great. It was right on the lake, was well-known and was written up as a wonderful resort. So we booked our room, and off we went.

The children were very excited as we pulled into a long, sloping driveway lined with trees and beautiful lampposts, and offering a glimpse of the lake as we drove up. But when we got to our rooms, they were horrible. The rooms look as though they hadn’t been cleaned since 1970, and the furniture looked as though it dated from that era, as well. It was not a retro look, created deliberately by a designer to appear that way. It looked like someone had dumped furniture into a hotel room and left it for 20 years. While this hotel had a great location, everything else about it was terrible. I vowed I would not be taken in again by false advertising, and I set out to find great, unbiased resources.

What were my mistakes? First, the website didn’t show a picture of the rooms, which should have tipped me off. But that is when I learned to do heavy-duty research. Now I don’t travel anywhere without checking TripAdvisor first. The photos travelers post can be very enlightening. So again, be diligent in your research.

When researching, do multiple searches. If I am interested in working for ABC Company, or just interested in using ABC Company, I will search “ABC Company,” “ABC Company complaints,” ABC Company scams,” ABC Company rip-offs” and “Is ABC Company a scam?” You get the idea. When you are searching, check the links you click on to find reviews. Also be aware of bias: You may do a search and find a post that ABC Company is great, but the review is located on the company’s website. Also be cognizant of a newer trick some companies are using: They hire people to post positive reviews about them or their products on multiple sites.

Be sure to check the Better Business Bureau as well to see if any complaints have been filed against a company you’re interested in.

About the author

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Francine Schill