Imagine a coach talking to a team on the sideline: “Guys, I have a super strategy sure to give you a winning running game, which I’ll sell you for $97. Want an unstoppable passing attack? That’ll cost you thousands more.” According to the FTC, a group of operators promised that consumers would make big money by using their work-from-home “program” for just a few hours a week. Then they pitched pricey “business coaching packages,” also with misleading money-making claims. A recent lawsuit blows the whistle on their deception.
Fat Giraffe Marketing sold what they called Excel Cash Flow, Online Cash Commission, and the Cash From Home Program. At first glance, the ads looked like independent reviews by bloggers or investigative reporters. They featured logos from news channels and eye-catching headlines like “Mom Makes $7,487/Month And You Won’t Believe How She Does It!” But once consumers paid for the “program,” they were blitzed with expensive upsells for one-on-one “consultations.”
According to the FTC, Fat Giraffe’s program amounted to a big fat zero. The reviews were fake, the success stories were phony, and that money-making Mom didn’t exist. The settlement bans the defendants for life from marketing any business opportunity or business coaching service.
Looking to break into business? Take these steps to help protect yourself.
Be wary of upsells. Many scammers follow a formula. They lure consumers in with a lower-priced program and then unleash high-pressure tactics to sell expensive services. Our advice is to resist the pitch. If you didn’t achieve the results you wanted initially, don’t give them any more money.
Looking for a coach? Join the home team. Why pay for questionable coaching services when successful business people in your community will share their expertise for free? Approach an experienced entrepreneur in your neighborhood, place of worship, or circle of friends. Sit down over coffee and download their advice. The Small Business Administration has helpful resources, including volunteer small business mentors affiliated with the SBA’s SCORE program.
The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
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