When you're the victim of a home business scam, it can be emotionally and financially devastating. Many work-at-home moms are seeking legitimate opportunities to earn a living at home to help their families, and to stay home with their children. Scammers prey on them, because they know they have a ready market willing to try anything to make it feasible to stay home. They often promise a certain level of income per month, or secrets to working from home, but the only money they make is from scamming.
You can help other moms avoid these scams, plus you may be able to get your money back. Here's how to report a home business scam:
Step #1: Contact the Company
As difficult as it may be, you should contact the company and let them know that you're aware of the scam. Tell them that you demand a refund, and if not, you will contact law enforcement. Be calm when speaking with them, and document the call. You also have the option of recording the phone call, but tell the representative you're speaking with at the beginning of the call that you're doing it. If the company is unresponsive, and you don't get a refund, then it's time to file a complaint.
Step #2: File a Complaint with the Better Business Bureau
Consumers and business owners often search the Better Business Bureau for complaints against a company. You should file your complaint with your local Better Business Bureau so that other work-at-home moms can come across it when they are researching the company online. It may also help you to obtain a refund, because the Bureau has clout that you don't have. The company is well aware that a negative rating with the Bureau will likely shut them down, and they may refund your money in order to resolve the complaint.
Step #3: Notify the Attorney General
A home business scam is often an internet-based company or out-of-state company. You'll need to notify the attorney general in the state where the company is located. There may be laws that protect against home business scams, and the attorney general's office may assign the case to attorneys to prosecute the company. At the very least, they may conduct an investigation which may be enough to put a stop to the scam, and lead to you getting your money back.
Step #4: Report Scam with the Federal Trade Commission
Your report can be helpful to others if you file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You can file a complaint at www.ftc.gov/complaint. The Commission will investigate the scam, make it public and it may work to shut down the operations of the scammers. You might get your money back and more as a result. The Commission's website also has information on various types of scams, to help you avoid future ones.
You can turn around a home business scam into an opportunity to do good by reporting it. Even if you don't get your money back, you'll spare other work-at-home moms pain and financial loss.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.