The Federal Trade Commission has just won a major lawsuit against infomercial marketers of real estate investment scams that stole money from a million victims who fell for the informercials misleading misinformation as to how they could become rich through real estate deals and through the Internet. The infomercials were for “John Beck’s Free & Clear Real Estate System”, “John Alexander’s Real Estate Riches in 14 days” and “Jeff Paul’s Shortcuts to Internet Millions.” In addition to the misleading and false claims that were made in the infomercials, the scammers did not adequatley disclose that once you paid for the system, you also were automatically enrolled in a program that charged you anew every month.
Perhaps the most important thing to take away from this type of scam is that just because you see an advertisement on a legitimate television, cable or satellite station, hear about it on a legitimate radio station or read about it on a website or publication that is honest, you can’t automatically trust that the advertisment is legitimate. Media outlets do little if any screening for legitimacy and accuracy when it comes to their advertisers. As always, if it sound too good to be true, it usually is. It is always a good idea to check out the program and the history of the company behind the program independently before investing in anything. Checking with the Better Business Bureau, the FTC and your local attorney general are good places to start your research. And finally, always read the fine print. Rarely is there anything fine in fine print.