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How to Avoid Get-Rich-Quick Schemes

Published February 20, 2014

When you’re finding it harder and harder to make ends meet, it becomes more and more tempting to look for a “quick fix.” That’s why millions of people who struggle with shrinking incomes, mounting debts and squeezed budgets turn to so-called get-rich-quick schemes as a way to help them climb out of debt. Unfortunately, such schemes can cause more problems than they solve.

Because we want you to be careful with your money, here’s what you need to look out for:

Common Themes for Get-Rich-Quick Schemes

Get-rich-quick schemes come in many forms. Some of the most popular include:

  • Pyramid schemes that masquerade as legitimate investments or marketing opportunities but offer no real value
  • Online affiliate marketing scams that promise large incomes for just a few hours of work per week
  • Survey scams that promise rewards or income for online survey taking
  • “Rich relative” scams that trick victims into believing that they’ve inherited a windfall

Pay Now, Regret Later

One of the biggest warning signs that a particular business opportunity is a get-rich-quick scheme is when it requires you to make a significant upfront payment. They may even go as far as referring to your initial payment as an “investment”, with promises of massive payouts over time.

These schemes promise high payouts with minimal effort over a few days, weeks, or months. They often sound too good to be true, and unfortunately, they often are.

Associated Dangers

The main appeal of a get-rich-quick scheme is the promise of huge earnings both quickly and easily. People are eager to pay up front because they are promised a sizable income down the road.

Unfortunately, investing up front doesn’t mean you’re selling something— it means you’re buying something. As such, the greatest danger associated with get-rich-quick schemes is heavy financial loss, not to mention the possibility of identity theft.

How to Spot a Scam

Unfortunately, spotting one of these scams is sometimes harder than it sounds. The majority of get-rich-quick schemes may sound reasonable. In fact, some may even go into detail describing the marketing and money-making aspects of their “business.” However, you should be suspicious if they promise a large payout with little or no effort on your part.

Some of the more common get-rich-quick promises include:

  • “Earn a full-time income by working from home for only a few hours a week”
  • “Make x dollars by working x hours”
  • “Double/triple/quadruple your money within a few days/weeks/months”
  • “Own your own home business with little or no experience”

Always perform a thorough background check on questionable-sounding schemes. Also pay special attention to negative reviews or stories from previous participants both online and in person. And if possible, check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the business is legitimate or not.

Need Debt Help? There’s a Better Way

You don’t have to resort to potentially devastating get-rich-quick schemes to deal with your debts. While a debt management program from a reputable credit counselor won’t necessarily make you rich, it can make your debts more manageable.

The Power of Lower Interest Rates and Consolidated Debts

A debt management plan can reduce the interest rates on your credit card bills and consolidate many of your debts into a single monthly payment. Credit counselors negotiate directly with your lenders and credit card issuers to reduce your interest rates.

Planning for Tomorrow

When you enroll in a debt management plan, you’ll also receive much-needed advice on long-term budgeting, saving and expense management. These tips will help you reduce your household expenses and build up an emergency fund.

For more information on how a debt management plan can help you avoid worrying about get-rich-quick schemes, visit CreditGUARD’s debt management page.

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