The Securities and Exchange Commission warned investors Tuesday about potentially fraudulent online paid-to-click programs that promise investors a share of the program’s profits in exchange for paying an upfront fee or buying products.
The agency issued an investor alert about the PTC programs Tuesday and also pointed to two recent enforcement cases involving such scams.
The SEC’s investor alert explains that the online advertising programs may have little or no revenue besides membership fees or sales of “ad packs” and may be nothing more than a Ponzi scheme.
Online advertising programs also can target those with something to advertise, promising to display a company’s ads on their network or guaranteeing traffic to a website by simply paying a membership fee or buying ad packs, the SEC said.
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“Be skeptical if you are offered high returns for buying advertising products or clicking on online ads,” said Lori Schock, director of the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy. “Some paid-to-click programs are actually Ponzi schemes.”