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Have you ever thought about paying for a training program to learn how to invest in real estate or start an online business? These programs can be pricey — and some make false promises about helping people make money. In fact, the FTC has sued plenty of real estate investment training and online business coaching programs that have done exactly that, while charging people thousands — or even tens of thousands — for those programs.

Pricey deceptive coaching and investment schemes often involve deceptive financing, as well. Today the FTC filed a complaint against Seed Consulting LLC, a company that claims to offer financing to aspiring entrepreneurs interested in buying a training program. But, the FTC says, Seed Consulting is not a lender and doesn’t offer any financing itself. Instead, Seed Consulting charges people $3,000 or more merely to submit credit card applications on their behalf. In addition, the FTC says, Seed Consulting improperly encouraged people to significantly overstate their income to get credit of $50,000 or more on these new cards.

You can probably predict what happened next to people who paid Seed Consulting: according to the FTC, they often ended up mired in debt with lower credit scores while Seed Consulting took in more than $10 million from their funding scheme.

So how do you protect yourself from deceptive training and financing schemes?

  • Do your research before you act. Take a few minutes to search online: look for the name of the company and the words “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.”
  • Be skeptical of any company that charges you a hefty sum to secure credit card financing. When such financing is warranted, you can typically obtain it directly from the credit card issuer on the Internet or via phone without any middlemen or fees.
  • If a company encourages you to inflate your income on a credit application, walk away. Income information on credit applications must be truthful.
  • Check out alternatives. Look at free or low-cost info on investing in real estate or starting a business before you buy a big, expensive training program. And certainly do that before racking up charges on new credit cards to pay for it.
  • Talk it over with someone first. Tell someone you trust about the details of the investment training program. And tell someone how the company suggests you should finance the cost of that training.

Don’t be pressured into a quick decision. Scammers often say their offer or pricing is only available for a limited time. But deals will always be there. And remember: there’s no such thing as a sure-bet investment that has a high return but little or no risk. If someone offers you one, tell the FTC:

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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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January 29, 2021
I was involved in this! It was part of Real Estate Elevated class scam! I am still trying to recover and paying on charge cards from this scam!
January 29, 2021

In reply to by JL

I am as well. AWaiting for recompense plus interest! I’m drowning in the debt that I never had until I met Real Estate Elevated
January 29, 2021
These scams took $120,000 from my mother and we only caught on when she started asking family members for money to keep paying them. They coached her to open credit cards and take out loans against her house so she could keep buying more programs.
Vincent paola
January 30, 2021
From sept to jan. Someone was receiving unemployment benifits in my name. I have reported this with the unemployment office and am attempting to follow as best as I can. They used a email and was having the money sent to an account that wasn't mine. 2400 is what they were able to fraud me out of. Worried about me having a job while they were filing unemployment and proving this so when I file taxes this will be straightened out. Shouldnt be hard to see the address, email, and account are all someone easle. Thank you and looking forward to receiving feed back about my next step
January 30, 2021
Thank You !!!! Please continue to counter these things