'Bandit' signs part of multilevel marketing, real estate expert says

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SALT LAKE CITY — Signs around the Salt Lake Valley say, "Real Estate Investor Seeks Apprentice — $20,000 a month."

The so-called bandit signs show up at busy intersections and in vacant lots, on utility poles and anywhere they might get someone's attention. In fact, real estate investors have used bandit signs for ages to generate leads.

Many times, these signs are selling the dream of getting rich. But if someone knew the secret to making $240,000 a year, would they share it with potential competitors?

"They're looking for a large amount of money upfront," said Scott Moyes, a real estate investor and president of the Wasatch Area Real Estate Investors Association.

He said those $2 bandit signs are very effective in getting leads, but not always about real estate.

"You recruit other people to recruit other people, to recruit other people," he explained.

Moyes said when people call the number on the sign, they'll get invited to a seminar. And there, they'll hear a pitch on an opportunity they're told they would be stupid to decline, even if they have to pay thousands of dollars up front.

They're looking for a large amount of money upfront.

–Scott Moyes, Wasatch Area Real Estate Investors Association

"It's a pretty hard sell," he said. "They hang on you pretty tough. Usually the person that puts out the signs was recruited the week before."

Moyes said the seminar hosts are not too concerned about teaching the ins and outs of real estate. They want people to learn how to recruit their friends, relatives or neighbors. Now, they're in the crosshairs of a multilevel marketing company, Moyes said.

People might make a little money off real estate, but any profit they make will likely come from recruiting future recruiters that recruit even more future recruiters, he said.

"You can bypass the people that recruited you, and that's the thing that keeps them out of the so-called pyramid. But most people won't. It's human nature," he said.

There's no need to jump into a multilevel marketing scheme to learn real estate investing. Moyes said interested people can read books, or attend monthly meetings held by several real estate investment associations around Utah. Many times they are free of charge.


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Bill Gephardt


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