THE SCAM: Business opportunities
HOW IT WORKS: Whether they come in unsolicited e-mails, classified ads, fliers on telephone poles or through the mail, there always are "business opportunities" being advertised for the dynamic go-getter who wants to make lots of money. A Sonora man who answered an ad for his own greeting card distributorship said he was burned after sending more than $30,000 to Costa Rica. The company had sent him promotional materials that made it seem legitimate, but when his son later checked online, other complaints against the company turned up.
WHAT'S AT STAKE: Your money
HOW TO BEAT IT: If you answer one of these "business opportunity" ads, ask lots of questions, and check out the company independently with consumer groups and online. Odds are, if the company is less than reputable, there will be a trail of unhappy "investors."
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Contact Bee staff writer Ben van der Meer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2331.