A Work At Home Opportunity That’s Not So Golden
Looking to make some extra cash? So are scammers. Listen to this one about a telemarketing resale scam targeting Spanish-speakers nationwide.
A recent lawsuit filed by the FTC claims that Cream Group, Inc., also doing business as Oro Marketing, Inc., offered Spanish-speaking women the chance to buy brand-name clothing, purses, and perfumes at below market prices for resale to friends, family and their communities for a profit. Telemarketers took consumers’ orders, and promised to send the brand-name merchandise cash on delivery (COD) – meaning consumers couldn’t inspect the contents of the packages until they paid the delivery person. Once consumers opened the packages, they discovered junk: products that were unusable and unsellable. Despite complaining to the company, which claimed a shipping mistake and promised to send the right merchandise as well as refund checks, consumers ended up in a costly cycle of lies until they tried to refuse COD shipments. After that, the company began harassing them for payment, including threatening to sue them, have them arrested, or report them to immigration authorities.
Here’s how to reduce your risk of being taken in by a telemarketing resale scam:
- Be skeptical when you get cold call offers. Telemarketers who call you out-of-the-blue with work-at-home opportunities are trained to gain your confidence by sounding like trusted advisors and speaking your language. They also may use high-pressure sales tactics to entice you into paying them money without thinking it through. You can avoid most cold calls – at least those from legitimate telemarketers – by placing your home and mobile phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.
- Research any company before agreeing to do business with them. Enter the company’s name in an online search engine and look for any negative comments or complaints. Query the street address or phone number to make sure the company actually exists at the location. Has the company changed its name recently or multiple times within a certain time-frame? That could be a sign of a scam.
- Avoid Cash on Delivery or Money Order requests for payment. Requiring payments by COD or money order upon delivery of a package could be sign of a scam. Another red flag is when you’re told you can’t open the box delivered to you for inspection of the merchandise before you pay. Refuse any delivery that comes this way.
- Report companies that ask you to pay for their mistake. If a company says they made a mistake with your order and promises you a refund – but withholds the order or the refund until you pay again – it’s likely to be a sign of a scam. No matter how convincing they may be, it just doesn’t add up to have to pay more just to get the right merchandise delivered to you when the wrong delivery was the company’s so-called mistake.
- Intimidation, deportation, threats of lawsuits, or other forms of harassment in exchange for payment are illegal and can be signs of a scam. Legitimate companies don’t threaten consumers and will not harass you for any form of payment.
If you suspect a scam or feel you are being threatened, don’t wait to complain. You don’t have to be a U.S. citizen to have consumer rights in the U.S. Contact the local office of your state attorney general, and file a complaint with the FTC.