It is no surprise to anyone that unemployment is high and that opportunities in corporate America are not what they were 5-7 years ago during our booming economy. What you may not have known is the number of multi-level marketing (MLM) companies out there that take advantage of these times to take your money, time, and effort in exchange for a false promise.
We did reviews of these scams over the past two years where we covered: Primerica MLM, 5Linx Scam, Mona Vie Scam and Visalus Scam throughout our site. Surprisingly they all have significant amount of comments to go with them showing the 1000’s of delusional people saying it is a legitimate business while another 1000 scammed people say otherwise. It truly is comical in nature but yet sad for society.
Today, we are going to break down how to identify such scams and making sure you do not fall for the traps.
Most MLM companies want you to believe that their business is a legitimate business and will use a few components to create buy-in (credibility) and get your hard earned dollars.
1. The celebrity or millionaire tie in: Many MLM’s use celebrities, athletes, and millionaire to prove their business is legit. Simply put, why would a smart millionaire or even billionaire endorse a business if it wasn’t a great business. Everybody wants to make money which is why you are contemplating joining to begin with, but those with deep pockets are the ones who have made large amounts of money by allowing companies to use their names, just so that you can give your money and make those on top even more money. Celebrity tie ins have been used for years in business and are a great way to get you to pay up but reality is that those celebrities, regardless of what they say, are not working at the bottom feeding those on top and have already been paid a lot more than you will working 80 hrs a week. Be wary as legitimate businesses DO NOT need to use such strategies to sell themselves to employees which is the perfect example of how MLM companies think of you as their customers, not employees.
2. The self employed approach: Every MLM out there claims that it is an opportunity for you to own your own business but yet in reality, you work for others. The idea is they cut you checks which means you are not your own boss, they give you 1099’s which means you depends on their corporation to pay you, and they expect you to work certain hours, do certain activities, etc.. The idea here is their lack of liability on you, so they don’t have to regulate what you do or don’t do or when you lie and cheat people out of money. They simply legally can allow to slide by while making money.
3. The disclaimer or disclosures: This our favorite by far as its entire purpose is to be truthful but yet all it is says is the exact opposite of anything you have been told by the reps of that company. The disclosure or disclaimers on all these sites usually will tell you that you are not employed by that company and that no support will be provided in any legal matter, even if directly linked to the product. It also states that most of the reps earn close to nothing in salaries. Its all in the fine print and they do a great job hiding it on their site or their paperwork.
4. Pay to join: The majority of MLMs will have some sort of entry fee or mini purchase amount. Primerica and 5Linx expects you to pay to join and they do a great job at telling you that this covers expenses they incur while others like Visalus or MonaVie will require you to purchase a minimum amount of their products as a starting point. Both of those models profit them, and despite what they say about needed licensing fees, etc, consider the following: Primerica’s top revenue maker is its $99 entry fee and 5Linx’s fees in order to sell for them contradict their fine print which says that you don’t work for them. The other system which includes buying a minimum amount of products actually makes you the company’s base client. When was the last time you paid to join a job, when was the last time the job required you to buy what they sell as a minimum to work there. It simply makes no sense..
5. The false promise: Follow the money folks… People in all those companies claim to make millions and have helped other make millions but yet have nothing to show for it. They claim they make money yet drive crappy cars, live in apartments, and best of all will never reveal their W2 or 1099’s simply because they never made any real money but rather made less money than a guy working in corporate America in 5 years. We have asked over a dozen agents from Primerica, 5Linx and Visalus for some 1099’s and have received nothing in the past 2 years and yet constantly argue that they make money. Simply pathetic. We even met a guy at Primerica who claimed to make $30,000 a month and yet wore a $100 suit, lived in a van and smelled homeless but yet he made $30,000 a month… WOW… Do you really want to belong to that crow of elite idiots?
These 5 indicators should be enough to keep away from these MLM platforms but perhaps you need more proof that these are a joke. We understand that many want to believe they are meant for greater than they currently are doing, and we agree with that, but these MLM scams prey on that idea as well as those unemployed looking for that big break. If you do decide to join these MLMs, just remember that we told you so…