Working at home sounds very appealing. No commute and you get to work in your pajamas. What could be more convenient than that? Last July I told you that the FTC sued nine corporations and three individuals involved in the selling of business education products online, through direct mail and at live events. They operated under the acronym MOBE which stands for My Online Business Education and promised to provide a “simple 21-step” system that would make their customers wealthy with little effort or skills. While initial registration in the system only cost about $49, victims of the scam were lured into enrolling in higher membership levels at a cost of as much as $29,997. According to the FTC, the entire operation was a scam and people were thwarted when they tried to get their money back through the company’s promised 100% risk-free guarantee. A judge issued a temporary restraining order against the company stopping it from continuing to do business. Now, one of the defendants in the case, Susan Zanghi has settled with the FTC. Along with turning over frozen assets to the FTC, she is also permanently banned from ever selling or marketing business coaching or investment opportunities. The FTC’s case continues against the other defendants.
Years ago, stuffing envelopes was a common work at home scam. That scam has been updated by other scammers to offers of being paid to read emails, but it remains a scam. The range of work at home scams is constantly changing and evolving, but the result is always the same – rarely are these work at home schemes legitimate nor do they provide any income except for the scammers who operate them. Often the advertisements for these work at home scams appear in legitimate media that have not checked out the legitimacy of the advertisements they run.
Recently there has been an upsurge in a work at home scam that actually makes you an accomplice to a crime. Your job is to receive goods, often electronics that have been shipped to you, inspect them and then reship them to an address provided to you by your new employer. The problem is that these goods have been purchased with stolen credit cards and you have just become an accomplice to the crime when you ship them to someone else who will then sell them to turn the merchandise into cash. The term scammers use to describe the people doing the reshipping is a “mule” and it can get you into a lot of trouble. The companies offering this type of work may seem legitimate, but they are not.
As always, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Check out work at home scams with the big three – your local attorney general, the Better Business Bureau and the FTC. And as always, you can Google the name of the particular company offering you the work at home program with the word “scam” next to it and see what turns up. As for reshipping scams, they are always a scam and you should steer clear of them.
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