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Swimming With Sharks

Internet scams, money from mom and dad, tax-trimmers

This story appears in the March 1999 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

Surf the Web for business financing yields thousands of sources: banks, brokers, consultants and venture capitalists, to name a few. While some names are immediately recognizable and radiate integrity, most aren't--and don't. Yet the semblance of sophistication combined with ease lure unsuspecting entrepreneurs into deals that often prove costly.

"Internet financing is fraught with scams," asserts Massoud Entekhabi, a partner in the PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Technology Group in Woodland Hills, California. "A simple search produces numerous accounts of rip-offs. And the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] is taking an aggressive stand to combat fraud on the Net." (See last month's "Money" column for more details.)

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