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False promises from a work-at-home scam

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It’s hard to pass up a job opportunity that promises a large income and the flexibility of working entirely from home. Especially when the opportunity appears at the top of your online search results and includes video testimonials of success stories, making it seem legitimate. The problem is, most of these job opportunities are scams and won’t deliver on their promises.

Today, the FTC announced that a federal court put a temporary stop to a work-at-home scam that failed to live up to its promises. According to the FTC, Work At Home EDU made false claims that people could earn “hundreds of dollars, per hour from home, without any special skills or experience” by paying for a $97 work-at-home program. Once people paid, they were told that for $194.95 more, they could buy the advanced program and earn a whopping six figures a month. Unfortunately, none of it was true.

If you’re looking to work from home, here are some questions to ask to help you determine if a program is legitimate:

  • What tasks will I have to perform? Are any other steps involved?
  • What is the total cost of this work-at-home program? What will I get for my money?
  • Will I be paid a salary or commission?
  • Who will pay me? When will I get my first paycheck?
  • What is the basis for your claims about my likely earnings? What documents can you show me to prove your claims are true before I give you any money?

Before you hand over any money, also make sure you know what information you’re entitled to under the FTC’s Business Opportunity Rule. Doing an online search of the company’s name with the words “complaint,” “reviews,” or “scam” also can be a good way to hear what others have to say.

For more, read our article Work-at-Home Businesses. And report scams to the FTC.

Blog Topics: 
Jobs & Making Money


Scam alert with the person using Cielo Company's trade mark. the Name of contact Gerely Gayle in google hang out Asking for you to apply for Walmart credit card and to give Them all of your access information

There's also someone named Lauren Dreyer doing the exact same thing. Completely fell for it and lost money.

Hey, is this true? I'm talking to man right now...!

Peter Franklin the person who wasted my time.

I have someone from Wood Stock Inc trading company that is a scammer. Anita Stefan... Do not accept

What happened to you with that person?
I've just received an email from her offering me a job.
Could you give more details? Thanks.

I'm involved with one online business opportunity and my counselor has been training me a few days a week for quite a few weeks.I feel if they were not legit they wouldn't be still helping me out.What is your opinion regarding this?

It’s a good idea to research other people’s experience. Try entering the company or promoter’s name with the words “complaint,” “reviews,” or “scam” into a search engine. Read what others have to say. After all, it’s your money on the line.

You also might try checking out a company with your local consumer protection agency, your state Attorney General, or the Better Business Bureau — not only where the company is located, but also where you live. These organizations can tell you whether they’ve gotten complaints about a particular work-at-home program. But remember: just because there aren’t complaints doesn’t mean the company is legitimate. Dishonest companies sometimes settle complaints and change their names or move to avoid detection.

For more information, see the FTC article, Work-at-Home Businesses.

I got sucked into an online business deal last year, it was so extremely professional I had a trading coach that helped me for a couple of months, they had all kinds of people calling me..... An accountant who said there were many benefits to setting up an LLC , other people trying to sell different parts of the business7,000 later I realized that this was a horrible GE scam, I worked very hard sifting through suppliers trying to find my niche and working a full time job to not make any money at all on eBay and Amazon after all of their fees. The market is flooded with online sellers "third party" sellers to where it's impossible to make money.
The scam company I used is out of Utah called PRIVATE LEARNING INSTITUTE OR PLI. Steer clear I am not easily taken but they are so good at what they do even I got bamboozled!!!

Clark Howard listed legitimate work at home places such as live ops. ARISE is bad because they take your money and fire you and others a week after so they can get more new people to pay them.

Thank you! There is far too much solicitation of this type of activity going on and targeted toward retirees on limited incomes. I am personally and constantly getting U S mail, as well as E mail on line regarding numerous and I do mean that offers for making fabulous incomes with little or no effort with systems that do all the work for you. Have you heard of this claim? All recipients of this courtesy bulletin, and announcement should read and heed and learn and investigate evey thing they are offered to assure integrity, fact, and truth about claims made prior to putting up any money at all!! I am so grateful to have seen and read this warning and I know that others will appreciate it also. Keep up the information chain please!

Arthur J Plourde

There is no such thing as a free lunch!

I really need some help understanding this scamming thing, I received a job offer how ever ive been paid before the work has even started. I received a check to deposit in my account, buy the office materials however I am not the actual person buying the equiptment im just the assistant. im scared that I might get in trouble. could some one please help me? Help me.

You might be dealing with a fake check scam. That's when someone sends you a check with instructions to deposit it and wire some or all the money back. The check is fake, but it may look legitimate and may fool bank tellers. You may get cash before the bank finds out the check is fake. It can take weeks to uncover a fake check. You are responsible for the checks you deposit, so if a check turns out to be fraudulent, you will owe the bank any money you withdrew.

To learn more, please see these FTC articles: Fake Checks and Using Money Transfer Services.

This just happened to me. I applied to be a Kroger mystery shopper and was sent a check for $2480.90 to deposit into my account and then make money transfers and send my report along with receipts. Well the receipts had the reference #'s on them so that the person on the other end could claim the money transferred. Needless to say, I was SCAMMED and now crying over the monies I lost and will never get back!

Thank so much for sharing, I am so sorry this happened to you. I have been receiving these emails and my husband and I were going to seriously look into but now I know better. Thank you again !!

Or for the mystery shopping jobs the sender could have you depositing fictitious money orders for cashing and ur bank closes ur account for fraudulent reasons whenever you deposit the money orders. Happened to me not long ago.

Thank you for your posting. I was on the verge of signing one just like that but for Walmart. I appreciate your sharing!

Some will send you a check and then want you to send them a certain amount back right away so when you find out the check was bad they have the real money you sent them. Don't send anyone money if they send you a check, let that check clear with the bank first and tell the bank.

This is 100% a scam!! DO NOT DEPOSIT THAT CHECK.

this the same scam when you are trying to sell your car on line yourself.

Yep, I was really excited, spent a LOT of time on the google chat interview and assumed then I would meet with someone.

Today I was told I would get a check to buy: An Apple Laptop Internet Connection 3 in 1 Laserjet Printer Inkjet refill kit Office Desk & Chair Fax machine Telephone Cartridges Software e.t.c And then I knew...oh no. This can't be legit. I google searched scams and came across this website. Thanks. Now I understand why they do this...Not all the details of check fraud but I did watch that Leonardo Di Caprio movie.

In one scam they send a check with an actual active bank officer's signature. You are to deposit the check then fax them a copy of the deposit slip and bingo! They have your bank account info and can wihdraw your money! Almost got mine til they got this far.

Same thing just happened to me. It was for American clover construction. In fact the check is on its way to me now but I was suppose to deposit it and send a copy of the deposit slip.

I work a customer service job and one thing I despise is scammers. Someone once told me that there was a "company" that was to do the same thing: send a check to be deposited into the account and for the customer to send a copy of the deposit slip. My thought was: "They pretty much have the deposit slip, per se, once it is found to be 'legitimate' and the check clears THEIR account; therefore, there is no reason why you should ever need to seem THEM a copy of the deposit slip. In fact, do not even deposit the check. If they call, lie and say you lost it. There's a good chance that you will be cussed out if you ask a WHOLE lot of questions. That is another good way to know that it is bogus."


Thank you for watching out for us. It is appreciated.

This article confirms my suspicions about work-at- home offers. It's sad this goes on, since I'm sure there are a lot of folks that, like myself, need an income, but are unable to work at a location outside the home because of physical limitations.

Dont be discouraged.There are actually plenty of legit work at home companies. I myself are working for a few of them now.You just have to do the research on the company first, ESPECIALLY those that you have to invest your money. Those are usually independent contractor jobs. The pay is usually minimum wage or just over in most cases, but a good rule to live if it sounds too good too be true, it usually is. I hope this helps.

can you advise on the name of any legitimate work at home companies ? I have been researching for a while now and am still unsure about who to get started with. Please

I have the same problem as these other people. They too have had a program downloaded onto their computer that was said to help with their financial situations. I tried so hard to avoid this situation but, as you can see I have had just a little success. The programs are sent through a message system that is very handy when people are in serious need for some fast cash. I think that since I have eluded other stands of financial opportunities, I still have to look for the long-term results.

LOL, six figure salary! It is really sad and hurtful that these types of scammers are out there preying on unemployed people who are so desperate to make money that they fall for this type of employment scam.

What are good resources to find these companies that allow you to work from home? Most of us google and we get hundreds of hits. Is there a list that is published with the actual real companies that are not scammers? Please let me know where I can find work that permits me to work from home online

The FTC doesn’t maintain lists like this, but you might try checking out a company with your local consumer protection agency or your state Attorney General — not only where the company is located, but also where you live. These organizations can tell you whether they’ve gotten complaints about a particular work-at-home program. But remember: just because there aren’t complaints doesn’t mean the company is legitimate. Dishonest companies sometimes settle complaints and change their names or move to avoid detection.

It’s also a good idea to research other people’s experience. Try entering the company or promoter’s name with the words “complaint,” “reviews,” or “scam” into a search engine. Read what others have to say. After all, it’s your money on the line.

For more information, see the FTC article, Work-at-Home Businesses.

The job is probably this - for the $97 training fee, you call people and sell them on making money at home, no experience needed, for only a $97 training fee. And you can make thousands a month.

It's a version of a pyramid scheme, and we all know where Bernie Madoff will be the rest of his life.

Make money at home, no experience needed is tantamount to lose weight now eating all the foods you love, no exercise required.

If growing pot gets you a jail sentence if caught, those who prey on innocent people should get the death penalty.

This company has a huge internet presence and their website looks legitimate. It showcases many company presentations and associationss. The Managing Partner, Michael Mobley from Impetus Solutions LLC responded to my job inquiry and invited me to accept the position with a questionnaire followed by an emailed contract. Long story short, the bottom line is I never heard from him after I was asked to make a good faith donation to A Little Faith Foundation. This man (my supposed employer) was moving from Arizona to Florida and needed his new personal assistant to set up his office and purchase office equipment by him sending checks to deposit electronically into personal assistants bank account .... THAT is unethical and at that point I realized it had to be a huge scam.

Thank you for sharing your experience.  It helps warn other people.

The details in your comment are great for a formal report, which you can file at Watch this video to learn more about how to report a scam and why it matters.

I have received repeated calls from a man identifying himself as Robert Rothchild. He insists I have a large sum of uncollected prize money, which has now been turned over to the Federal Trade Commission for an attempted final distribution. I can, of course, have the money directly deposited into my account free of charge, OR I can pay to have it hand delivered to my residence. I have told him time and again I don't believe his scam, and he still calls and leaves a phone number so I'll return his call, which I never have done.

Sounds like you know a scam when you see one. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Thank you so much for the alerts that I get so that I can pass them along to my grandchildren and it also helps me since I am older. I print these alerts out and keep them in a folder. I read everything that you write and love the fact that you are helping people every single day. Thanks for caring and you continue to do a fantastic job. Job well done

Thank you for helping us get the word out!

Does anyone know which Lawyer represented Devry University Lawsuit?

I feel that any work at home job that you get online is most likely a scam especially if it just sounds too good to be true.

Follow the money trail. If the "employer" can't clearly explain where the money's coming from, it's probably coming from you. That's not a business model you want to get mixed up with.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

why did the courts put a temporary ban ? thats ridiculous

What is "Devry University lawsuit" all about?

Hi, thanks. I did check out that FTC link a few weeks ago. I am a Devorah grad, with in enormous student loans debt when I only needed 1.5 yrs to finish my Bachelors of Science degree. I never was contacted about a class-action suit, if that was it. DeVry had to pay that huge amount, if it is not coming back to the prior students, where did that money go and how can we get our loans reduced or paid off?
I am getting 4-6 automated calls saying that DeVry students can now get their loans reduced or cancelled out. I called several back and they want us to pay them up-front $699 for the SallieMae/Navient Private Loans Debts and another $699 for the Federal/Department of Ed Loans Debts.
Can you please direct us to a legitimate source that can help us get our student loans reduced or cancelled, an attorney's info or other contact info? That FTC article does not tell us how to resolve this. It is very disturbing to see DeVry pay the FTC settlement but not see how it is assisting us in actually wiping out or reducing the students/prior students. I just happened upon the FTC website when looking for something else.
I appreciate any assistance you can give us, so we can get fix this.
We hate to see SCAMMERS lurking people in, but a University did this to it's own students & are still filing student aid for the current students.
Thank you, from Donna, a 2009 graduate of DeVry.

You don't have to pay someone to help you refinance your loans. You can call your lender or loan servicer yourself. You can read information on their website about refinancing options.

The FTC reached a settlement with DeVry University. The FTC settlement required DeVry to forgive and cancel the entire unpaid balance of all private student loans DeVry University made directly to students between September 1, 2008 and September 30, 2015.

The settlement also required DeVry to cancel $20.25 million in debts currently eligible students owed to DeVry University for things like tuition, books and lab fees. If you were eligible for loan or debt forgiveness you should have gotten a letter or email from DeVry by the end of January, 2017.

The settlement also includes $49.4 million that the FTC will use to provide partial refunds to people who paid for DeVry classes.

To be eligible for a partial refund from the FTC, you had to meet four eligibility criteria. Go here to see the four eligibility criteria.

In July 2017, the FTC sent checks to the people who met the four eligibility criteria.

To learn about repaying federal student aid, go to the Department of Education’s loan repayment page.

Several years ago I went along with my son to DeVry to interview with them about their computer degrees. Their programs sounded great: concise, great job prospects, and short time to graduate. Until we got to sticker shock: $25,000. No way, as I am an expert at finding free government funded college options, which I did in my home town. About a year later I learned the "truth" about DeVry's courses and job prospects. So glad the price tag scared me away so easily.


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