Now more than ever, be wary

Remember how your mom used to tell you that if something seemed to good to be true, it probably was? In today’s information-overloaded world, truer words were never spoken.

I admit it — I see lots of infomercials. What can I tell you? I am a part-time insomniac who watches TV in the middle of the night. Just this past week, I saw four separte infomercials for business models you could purchase. The one that sent me around the bend had to do with buying foreclosed-on properties for back taxes.

Now, I’m no expert on foreclosed properties — or probably any other specific informercial-based business model. But I have seen people spend their money to become “mystery shoppers,” thinking they’d make some easy money. And I’ve heard about people sending big checks back to someone who sent them a cashier’s check. And we all know people who’ve taken part in pyramid-scheme-type businesses.

And we know these models don’t work (except for the people who originate them). Some are even illegal. Others are just bad ideas, bought into by people who are either desperate or greedy. Or both.

So before you spend your hard-earned money buying a business that promises lots of money for little or no work, harken that still-small voice in your head that warns you to beware.

Do your due diligence. Make sure the business is legit and the model is sound. And then ask for advice from your Small Business Development Center or SCORE counselor or other business expert.

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA). All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA