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Are You Selling Smoke and Mirrors?

He called in for a free consultation late on Friday afternoon. I could tell right away that he was trying to pull a fast one, wanting me to help him "buy trade lines" for his "aged business entity" so he could get payment history into a D&B report he had created for a shelf corporation, but I wasn't buying it.

So I asked him point blank — "Does your company actually sell smoke and mirrors? Or does it just look that way?"

He seemed confused. "Huh?"

"That's what you're selling, right? Smoke and mirrors?" And then I spent 30 minutes explaining...

He had already spent $2,500 to buy a shelf corporation that supposedly came "with $100,000 worth of credit already on it". But it didn't. Then he got more bad advice online, wasted more money to set up a virtual (fake) address and VoIP (fake) phone number for his phony business. Now he wants me to help him get payment history put onto his report so he can achieve REAL credit — credit he probably has no intention of ever paying off.

These are the kind of people who make it harder for legitimate businesses to succeed.

No one — not D&B, not me, not suppliers, and certainly not any of the creditors he plans on defrauding — are actually going to buy the smoke and mirrors someone else has already sold to him, and he's now trying to sell to us. He's fallen for all the oldest tricks in the books... and now I have to be the one to tell him that adding manufactured payment history to his report is not just time-consuming, it can be expensive, and could cost him more than he's bargained for.

If your company doesn't sell smoke and mirrors, then it shouldn't send off signals making it look like it does. Legitimate business owners buy things, pay expenses, incur bills and simple debt. And they spend money for the products and services they actually need and use. They don't have money to waste on manufactured credit.