Assistant Director, Division of Marketing Practices, FTC
Who isn’t looking for a little extra cash at the holidays? An offer for an easy – and fun – job could seem like just what you need. That’s the email offer I got from a major retailer (or so it said) last week:
“Holidays are coming we need you in our team. We are hiring holiday shoppers. No experience needed, just an honest opinion. The job requires you to shop and evaluate our employees. You will get paid to shop and keep the products.”
While there are legit mystery shopper jobs out there, we almost never see them in offers that show up in your inbox. Or in the classified ads. Or on telephone poles. Or on your phone. So, before you apply, here are some things to think about.
You’ve heard of the “right stuff” — the mix of bravery and brass that author Tom Wolfe told us powered the nation’s first astronauts to conquer space. Well, here’s the wrong stuff — a work-at-home envelope-stuffing scheme that bilked more than 50,000 people out of over $7 million.
In a case announced today, the FTC charged that convicted felon David Brookman and his companies falsely promised that people could earn $5,000 a week by stuffing envelopes with flyers and mailing them.
Has your Social Security Number gone to work without you? If someone has used your SSN to get a job, that’s identity theft.
You may be able to discover the identity theft before the IRS sends you a tax bill for income that never passed through your pockets. MyE-Verify, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website, also available in Spanish, is part of E-Verify. DHS created E-Verify to help employers check government records to make sure their employees can work legally in the U.S. MyE-Verify lets you see all the employers that checked your records using E-Verify. If you see an employer you don’t know, it may mean that an identity thief is at work.
Do you ever think about buying a franchise? Maybe you’ve heard of big opportunities and want to make a career change or build a business. If you’re considering buying a franchise, the FTC has updated information to help you.
Counsel for International Consumer Protection, FTC
People who’ve recently arrived in the US have a lot of adjustments to make. For many refugees and immigrants, and some of the social services groups who help them, the basics come first: figuring out language, food, shelter, and work. Understanding how to avoid fraud isn’t high on the list – until a scam finds a recent arrival.
That’s why the FTC has created new materials to help refugees and immigrants spot, avoid and report scams. We worked closely with the International Rescue Committee to create a short handbook to help anyone identify a sure sign of a scam.
Senior Attorney, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC
Are you a nanny or caregiver who lists your services on sites like care.com, sittercity.com, or craigslist.com? A few months ago, we warned about a scam that targets caregivers like you. Here’s a reminder: a con artist emails or texts an offer to hire you. The scammer also sends you a check and asks you to deposit it, keep some money for your services, and send the rest to someone else to — supposedly — pay for special items or medical equipment. But the check is fake, and it can take weeks for a bank to discover the forgery. If you deposit the check and withdraw the funds, you’ll wind up owing the bank all that money.
Your social media feed is abuzz with stories of people making serious money selling an energy drink. Not one to miss out an opportunity, you do a quick search and come across a viral video. The guy making the pitch insists you can make thousands of dollars a month. “Forget working 9 to 5. Join the Young People Revolution!” he says. You think to yourself, “I’m young people! And I can totally get on board with a revolution.”
Slow your roll, my friend. Before you shell out a wad of cash and start making pitches to your friends, you should know that the FTC just filed a complaint against the company behind the pitch.
Online scammers are recruiting. They’re looking for people to help them transfer money and stolen goods. Of course, they don’t come right out and say that’s what they want. Instead, they claim to offer work at home jobs or pretend to be your romantic partner and ask you for a ‘favor.’ The scammers’ goal: to use your bank account, personal information and address to help them steal money.
Want to work from home? How about a job helping small businesses get loans or cash advances?
For people recruited by Money Now Funding (aka Nationwide Lending, among other names), it seemed like a great opportunity. In reality, it was a con. People were left loaded with debt — sometimes tens of thousands of dollars of debt — and no income. Today the FTC announced that the companies behind the scheme have been shut down.