A “work at home” scheme that didn’t work
Claims you can “Make Big Money Working From Home!” can show up online, on utility poles in the neighborhood, even on your phone. Some promotions that sound promising are cover-ups for a con, like the sham payment processing business that took more than $5.4 million from people in less than a year. The FTC stopped the operation, and has reached a settlement with two individuals and six of the companies involved. The FTC’s settlement requires the owners to surrender cash, real estate, jet skis and other items and bans them from being involved in work at home and business opportunities.
According to the FTC, the defendants claimed they ran a payment processing business. Company telemarketers recruited consumers to become business “representatives,” and promised they’d make substantial income by working from home to find clients for the business. Thousands of consumers paid up to $495 to sign on; some paid even more — tens of thousands of dollars more — for add-ons, like lead lists, marketing campaigns and “mentoring” help. Defendants took consumers’ money, but didn’t help them get accounts or make the money they’d been promised, according to the FTC.
If you’re considering a work at home or other business opportunity, do some research first. Enter the company name and the word “complaints” into an online search engine to see what people say about the company. You also can check a company’s history with your local consumer protection agency or Attorney General. Before you send money, read the information a seller must provide by law. Our one-minute audio tip has more about how to check out an offer.