How to Avoid Scam Artists

scam-artistScam artists have existed since the dawn of currency. Don’t be among the hundreds or thousands of aspiring inventors who get ripped off each year by shady invention-promotion companies.

Here are some red flags:

* Company refuses to provide in writing the number of ideas they have represented and how many inventors made more money than they invested.

* Company refuses to provide in writing the number of ideas that have been sent to them and how many they accepted.

* Company refuses to provide inventor with at least three clients (preferably in the inventor’s own local area) that can verify their credibility.

* If the company provides a patent search, the company refuses to provide in writing the number of favorable patent searches versus unfavorable searches.

* Salesmen apply pressure to send money in right away.

* Company tells you to fully describe your idea in writing and then tells you to mail this information to yourself and not open the envelope. This ploy is used to give the inventor the false impression that the idea is somehow protected. In fact, it does absolutely nothing.

* Company recommends that a design patent be applied for.

* You can never directly reach the salesman without leaving a message. The salesman is most likely working out of his home and is using a phone drop.

* Company claims to be located in one state but all correspondence is postmarked from another. Frauds commonly use fictitious addresses and mail drops to hide their true location.

* Company recommends submitting your idea to manufacturers without applying for patent first. Most manufacturers will not consider an idea from the outside unless it is at least patent pending.

* You should never have a company evaluate your invention for a fee, if they are ultimately going to charge you upfront fees to represent that invention. This can easily be a “conflict of interest.” Get a third party evaluation from a recognized agency that will have no further interest in your invention.

* If you are asked to initial and sign a disclosure statement, read it. Do not rely on a salesman to explain. Once you initial and sign, it usually deprives you of any legal recourse if you become a victim of fraudulent practices.

Pay special attention to the companies success rate. This would be actual products brought to the marketplace and the inventor made more money than invested. Licensing agreements without manufacturing or successful marketing are not a sign of success.