By Bridget Small
FTC Consumer Advocate
April 18, 2022
Financial Literacy Month is a good time to talk about earning, managing, and saving your money. Are you searching for a new job, investment, or business opportunity to boost your financial well-being? Learn how to avoid scammers’ sham offers that will cost — not earn — you money.
Here are some common job and money-making scams:
- Job scams. Scammers post fake job ads for mystery shoppers, personal assistants, or caregivers. If you apply, they might send you a check, tell you to deposit or cash it, keep some, and send the rest to someone else. The check is fake, and by the time the bank realizes it, the scammer has your money, and the bank will want you to repay the money you withdrew.
- Business opportunity scams.Pyramid schemes might look like legitimate business opportunities and often sell real products, but they’re scams. Pyramid scheme promoters may say you can change your life, — quit your job, even get rich — by selling the company’s products. That’s a lie. Your income is based mostly on how many people you recruit, not how much product you sell. Eventually, most distributors find they can’t sell enough inventory or recruit enough people to make money. They quit and lose everything they invested.
- Business coaching scams. Offers for online business coaching programs that promise guaranteed income with no experience, large returns, or a “proven system” are probably scams. They say their “experts” will teach you this “proven method” for building a successful business online. But after you invest thousands of dollars in a coaching program, you learn the scammers lied about how easy and lucrative the model would be, and you’re left with nothing.
Visit ftc.gov/scams for more information on spotting and avoiding scams, then share what you learned during #FinancialLiteracyMonth. If you see or lose money to a job or money-making scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.