By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – You may get bombarded on line by people who want you to give money for their pet project. Sometimes for your money you’re offered something in return like the fund on kick starter that promised if you gave 24 bucks you’d get a postcard composed while the seekers were sober, but if you give 25 dollars you’d get a postcard scrawled while the seekers were drunk that they promised to regret.

This type of ask is basically a donation that comes with the promise of nothing of value in return. But there’s another type of crowdfunding: businesses who want investors who will get an equity piece of the pie in exchange for their buy-in.

The law doesn’t mind someone passing around the electronic version of the hat for donation-based crowdfunding. In contrast, it is in the process of creating regulations to monitor those platforms that promise monetary return in investment type crowdfunding.

Legitimate companies can still seek only so-called accredited investors through crowdfunding.

So for now, if you are offered money, stock, or other value for your so-called investment without further forms for you to fill out, it’s likely illegal and not worth the paper it’s scrawled on.