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Stephen Lim, CPA, CA
Henry Yan, CPA, CA

The Ascent Team
Suite 105- 3380 Maquinna Drive
Vancouver, BC
V5S 4C6, Canada
Tel. 604.291-0366
Fax. 604.291.0367

Is this business opportunity too good to be true?

The description sounds tempting - "work from your home, no experience needed, make your own hours, be your own boss". For many unwary people, the allure of easy money made on their own terms can cause common sense to go right out the window. Before you make the leap, proceed with caution when evaluating any business opportunity.

The promise of short, flexible hours, and little or no investment in return for huge sums of money has long been a favorite game of scam artists looking to make a quick buck. Mass-marketed business opportunities have cost unsuspecting individuals millions of dollars over the years and recent studies show that this trend is on the rise.

Business opportunity scams many times come in the form of legitimate business endeavors. Examples of common business opportunities that have a history with scam artists include vending machines, display racks, pay phones, and medical billing services, all of which are certainly legitimate business opportunities but, in the hands of a con artist, can be loss leaders. Widespread access to the Internet has created an inexpensive new medium for a whole new crop of these types of scams.

Before you commit to a mass-marketed business opportunity, consider the following:

Be skeptical.
When it comes to mass-marketed business opportunities, a little skepticism can go a long way. Play the devil's advocate when discussing the opportunity with the promoter - if it's a scam and you don't appear to be an easy target, the con artist may just move on. A legitimate operation will be willing and able to address concerns or hesitations you may have.

Review documentation.
The federal government and most state governments have enacted laws that require business opportunity promoters to submit a statement that provides certain written disclosures to potential investors. This disclosure statement can give you valuable insight into the business' financial history and track record with investors. Make sure that you contact any references provided to get some first-hand feedback on the program.

Do your research.
Don't risk ruining your good name by getting involved with a company with a checkered past. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce as well as the Better Business Bureau to find out if any complaints have been filed on the company offering the business opportunity.

Seek out professional assistance.
Consulting with a legal and/or financial professional to help you evaluate the opportunity can save you headaches and money in the future. These professionals are trained to spot trouble areas in contracts and financial information.

The bottom line? Exercise good judgment and common sense when evaluating any business opportunity because when if it sounds too good to be true, most of the times it usually is. Please contact the office for additional guidance.

The information presented in this document is of a general nature only and should not be relied upon to replace professional advice. Before acting on this information, talk with a professional advisor as laws and regulations are constantly changing. Readers accept full responsibility; no document found here is a substitute for a consultation.

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