A one-page fax has been popping up on business fax machines recently, entitled “Forget the Banks: Get up to $500,000 with a simple application and instant review.” All of this is available with no collateral or minimum credit score requirements. What a deal for business owners! So why am I skeptical?
Let’s dissect this fax promotion. The first problem is the claim that you can get up to a $500,000 loan with just an application and a quick review. Normally loans, and especially ones of this size, require lots of documentation in addition to the application to support a company’s ability to repay the loan. Expect a legitimate lender do a credit check and to require collateral of some sort. Second, nowhere on the fax is there any mention of a company name or physical address. Third, the center of the document is sprinkled with the logos of well-known organizations, to lend an air of legitimacy to the offer.
Now let’s look at the telephone numbers. Based on an internet search, the number at the top of the page (800) 555-5555, where the fax supposedly originated from, is linked to multiple companies that are probably using the same commercial fax server. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. However, out of the remaining numbers, the 888-609-5207 number is linked to three different companies, one that is listed as out-of-business and the other two have Rip-off Reports and an F-rating with the BBB. Finally, in a call to this number that supposedly allows you to opt out of receiving subsequent faxes, a caller receives a recorded message asking them to leave their phone number. Still the company still does not identify itself.
Be very careful, this promotion has all the tell tale signs of a business opportunity scam. If a promotion makes an unbelievable offer, don’t believe it. If it sounds too easy, it probably is. Look at any promotion with a critical eye and ask yourself the question, “Does this make sense?”
Business opportunity schemes rarely yield any profit for the participant. The only person who may make money is the originator of the scheme. On the other hand, you will be at risk to:
Don’t fall prey to these schemes, if you receive an offer like this, just throw it away. For more information, check out the FTC’s Bogus Business Opportunities. To report a scam, call your BBB at 256-533-1640 or go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, visit BBB.org.