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Small Business Financing: A Resource Guide

Avoiding Scams

S.D. Ehrhart. Daily scene in the Louvre. October 18, 1911. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

When looking for start-up funds or other financing, research the agency or business offering money and the terms and conditions to help avoid cons or scams. This information is also useful for staying alert when hiring employees, subcontracting work (like building a website), or dealing with a manufacturer or supplier. Some scams happen gradually and can look legitimate until the very moment you realize you've been conned.

In general, before giving or receiving money:

  • get the agreement in writing,
  • confirm multiple ways to contact (and check to make sure the phone numbers, email addresses and locations are valid),
  • and verify information from an outside source (do not rely solely on the agency's or business's own website).

The resources on this page cover how to spot warning signs, places to look up repeat offenders or report scams, and ways to protect yourself.

Online Resources

The following external websites provide links to resources on avoiding business fraud and scams.

Selected Print Resources

The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are provided when available.

Reporting Scams

If you have been a victim of a scam, report the information to the police, the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau so that there's a record. The following resources have forms for reporting, and many also link to more information on frauds and other scams.