Working at home sounds very appealing. No commute and you get to work in your pajamas. What could be more convenient than that? In 2018 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 initially issued a temporary restraining order against the company stopping it from continuing to do business. Later in 2018 one of the defendants in the case, Susan Zanghi settled with the FTC. Along with turning over frozen assets to the FTC, she was also permanently banned from ever selling or marketing business coaching or investment opportunities. The FTC’s case continues against the other defendants.
Now in an interesting development Qualpay, a payment processor settled charges brought against it by the FTC in which the FTC argued that for years Qualpay processed payments for MOBE while ignoring many indications that MOBE was a scam. Some of the things that Qualpay ignored were the nature of the business model of MOBE, MOBE’s history of excessive chargebacks and MOBE’s representations in marketing materials that MOBE customers made hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Under the terms of the settlement, Qualpay will no longer be allowed to process payments for any business coaching company or other companies designated as high-risk.
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 conventional 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.
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”
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