Business opportunity fraud involves an offer to become financially independent, or to generate extra income, by setting up your own business.
More information about business opportunity fraud
A letter, advert or website asks if you are interested in making easy money by working from home, or setting up your own online business.
The scheme allows you to choose when you work and enables you to fit your work around your other responsibilities. The work itself could involve filling envelopes, assembling products or selling goods or services through your own website.
However, any products or services you are asked to sell are worthless and you won’t be able to sell them. You have to pay money up front to register with the scheme, buy customer leads, set up your web site, buy products to sell on, or receive an instruction manual on how to run your business.
If you’re asked to assemble goods or fill envelopes, the fraudsters will find fault with your work and use it as a reason for not paying you.
Many of these schemes are straightforward pyramid schemes, where you will only earn money by introducing other people to it. For example: by selling them copies of the instruction manual.
Are you a victim of business opportunity fraud?
You’ve received an email or letter, seen an advert, or landed on a website explaining how you can make easy money by working at home, or by setting up your own online business.
You’ve paid money up front to register with the scheme, bought customer details, set up a new website, bought products to sell. However, the products are worthless.
Pyramid scheme fraud involves an unsustainable business which rewards people for enrolling others into a business that offers a non-existent or worthless product.
More about pyramid scheme fraud
A fraudster advertises a multi-level investment scheme that offers extraordinary profits for little or no risk.
You’re required to pay a fee to enter the investment scheme.
You’re then required to recruit friends or family members to enter the scheme. If you do this successfully, you’re paid out of their receipts. They are then told to recruit others to keep the chain going.
Your money is not actually invested in any product. Instead, it’s simply passed up the chain of investors. Because pyramid schemes are unauthorised and make no profits, you’re very unlikely to recover any lost investment. While the fraudster at the top will collect most of the profits, those who entered the scheme later end up losing out.
Legitimate trading schemes rely on valuable goods and services, while illegal pyramid schemes focus simply on recruiting more and more investors.
Using hard-sell techniques, fraudsters try to pressure you into making rushed decisions, giving you no time to consider the nature of the investment.
Fraudsters aim to make their business seem legitimate. This means they will often use technical jargon, impressive job titles and mock websites to look credible. If you have any suspicions about a scheme’s authenticity, you should investigate the company’s status and contact details.
Are you a victim of pyramid scheme fraud?
You’ve been approached about a multi-level investment scheme that offers great-sounding profits with little or no risk.
You’ve paid a fee to join the scheme.
You’ve enrolled others on the scheme and already earned money from your efforts.