Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Beware of spurious ads – Conmen on prowl

Twenty-year-old Soujanya wanted some extra income to buy a latest cellphone with camera and other features. She doesn’t know how to make it. She came across an ad in a vernacular daily newspaper about a business opportunity to earn Rs. 5000 to Rs. 30,000 per month by working part time or full time for an USA MNC by Net or phone.. Immediately she made a phone call to the contact number and she was told to attend a meeting at an apartment in the city (it may be any city in India). Afraid of attending the meeting alone, she sought the cooperation of her classmate. Both went there.

One comes across similar advertisements in almost all newspapers in the classifieds section offering business opportunities which can be undertaken on part-time or full-time basis and thousands of rupees could be made.

Soujanya went to the address along with her friend and was asked to shell out Rs. 30 per person to attend the meeting. The lure of earning thousands sitting at home made her pay the amount. She reallised that it was not her cup of tea once the meeting started. She has to become a distributor and buy certain products from them and then sell them to others so she can reap in sizeable commission. If she can enroll more members she will earn more commission.

The products which have to be sold are said to be herbal products. But nobody knows how genuine they are. Nobody ever tested the efficacy of the products. They claim that the products are from the USA and anything from USA are acceptable to us. It is a company called Herbalife and they offer products to reduce obesity and improve health.

The organizers of such meetings are the distributors who have once been lured into it in the same way. And now they learnt how to make money. By inviting the prospective customers at a fee of Rs. 30, they earn anywhere Rs. 600 to Rs. 1000 per meeting. And there is no dearth of the gullible falling prey to such ads. If they sell products that means more profit. Even if they enroll a couple of persons per meeting, they can sell products worth a minimum of Rs. 2500 and a maximum of Rs. 8000 per person depending upon the capacity of the customers/distributor.

This is the modus operandi of the conmen to corner the gullible people to make fast buck. So we must be careful not to fall prey to such evil designs.