“Work at Home” Scheme Stopped

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> Mississippi (August 28, 2015) Last week the Federal Trade Commission announced that eighteen elusive marketers who cheated American and Canadian consumers out of more than $7 million are banned from selling business or work-at-home opportunities under court orders obtained by the FTC.
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> The defendants, who began operating as “Money Now Funding,” tried to avoid detection by law enforcement by changing product names, office locations, and merchant identities. They falsely claimed consumers would earn up to $3,000 per month by referring small businesses to the defendants to obtain loans. After consumers paid up to $499 to buy the business opportunity, the defendants told them that, to succeed, they had to buy sales leads that cost tens of thousands of dollars but turned out to be worthless.
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> SIGNS OF A WORK-AT-HOME SCHEME:
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> Be skeptical about work-at-home promotions that state:
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> ● You can earn big money with little effort. “Earn hundreds in your spare time!”
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> ● No experience necessary. “Our people have come from all walks of life and have succeeded with no special training!”
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> ●The market for your work already exists. “This huge untapped market is waiting for you!”
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> ●You need to invest only an insignificant amount of money for training or materials. “Only $29.95 will bring you thousands in earning power!”
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> ● You will not be paid a regular salary. “Profits will start rolling in with your first completed item!”
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> ●Many others just like you have succeeded. “I was a failure until this offer changed my life!”
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> A Work-at-Home Scheme Promoter will:
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> ● Never offer you regular salaried employment.
> ● Promise you huge profits and big part-time earnings.
> ● Use personal testimonials but never identify the person so that you could check with them.
> ● Require money for instructions or merchandise before telling you how the plan operates.
> ● Assure you of guaranteed markets and a huge demand for your handiwork.
> ● Tell you that no experience is necessary.
> ● Take your money and give you little or nothing in return.
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> On-Line Schemes
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> “Turn Your Home Computer into a Cash Machine! Get computer diskette FREE! Huge Selection of Jobs! No experience needed! Start earning money in days! Many companies want to expand, but don’t want to pay for office space. You save them money by working in the comfort of your home.”
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> This is typical of advertisements showing up uninvited in your e-mail – an old scheme advertised in a new way. You pay for a useless guide to work-at-home schemes – a mixture of computer-related work such as word processing or data entry and the same old envelope-stuffing and home crafts scams. The computer disk is as worthless as the guidebook. It may list government web sites and business opportunities, many of which require more money.
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> Mail-Order Scams
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> “These proven mail-order money makers can make you an overnight success in the growing mail order business. You have the ability to earn cash profits daily while you relax. Outstanding new plan for beginners requires a token investment and no previous experience. The perfect home business!”
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> Most new business ventures are risky, and the mail-order business is no exception. Even the most successful mail-order promoters are likely to have experienced failures along with their successes.
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> Envelope Stuffing Schemes
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> “$356.00 Weekly Guaranteed. Work two hours daily at home stuffing envelopes. No experience needed!”
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> When answering such ads, you may not receive the expected envelopes for stuffing, but instead get promotional material asking for cash just for details on money-making plans. The details usually turn out to be instructions on how to go into the business of placing the same kind of ad the advertiser ran in the first place.
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> According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, “In practically all businesses, envelope stuffing has become a highly mechanized operation using sophisticated mass mailing techniques and equipment which eliminates any profit potential for an individual doing this type of work at home. The Inspection Service knows of no work-at-home promotion that ever produces income as alleged.” The Postal Inspection Service has put several of these work-at-home operations out of business through mail stop orders, consent agreements, or criminal proceedings.
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> Assembly Work At Home
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> ● Assembly work at home! Earn $600 monthly assembling attractive craft items. Easy Money. No experience needed!”
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> These schemes require you to invest hundreds of dollars in instructions and materials and many hours of your time to produce items such as baby booties, toy clowns, and plastic signs for a company that has promised to buy them. Once you have purchased the supplies and have done the work, the company may decide not to pay you because your work does not meet certain “standards.” You are left with merchandise that is difficult or impossible to sell.
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> Multi-Level Marketing Distributorships (Direct Sales) and Pyramid Schemes
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> “Our products make it possible for people like you to earn more than they ever have in their lives! Soon you can let others earn money for you while you and your family relax and enjoy your affluent lifestyle!”
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> Multi-level marketing, a direct sales system, is a well-established, legitimate form of business. Many people have successfully sold the products of reputable companies to their neighbors and co-workers. These people are independent distributors who sell popular products and also recruit other distributors to join them.
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> Before you sign up for a program, ask the company’s representative the following questions. Remember, a reputable company will respect you for being careful and will not pressure you to make a fast decision:
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> ● In what state is your company incorporated?
> ● What is the total cost of the program, including training, supplies, equipment, and special fees?
> ● Exactly what materials and support services will I receive for my investment?
> ● If I have products I cannot sell, will the company buy them back from me?
> ● Exactly what tasks will I be required to perform?
> ● When and how will I be paid–by salary, on commission, by the quantity of completed work?
> ● Who will pay me?
> ● Will I be responsible for finding my own customers?
> ● Exactly what are the required standards my work must meet?
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> Do your homework and your own research:
> Call Better Business Bureau or access the BBB’s web site at http://bbb.org for a BBB Business Review on the company.
> Find out what regulations apply to work-at-home offers in your state. Check with your state’s office of attorney general or office of consumer affairs.
> Call the secretary of state’s office where the company is headquartered to find out how long the company has been in business.
> Contact the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. or access the FTC’s web site at http://ftc.gov for information.
> Call the U.S. Postal Service Criminal Investigations number for your region (listed in your local telephone directory) or call your local postmaster.
> Contact the Direct Sales Association or the Direct Marketing Association (both in Washington, D.C.) for further information.
> Consider doing further research at the public library. Talk to people in similar businesses that deal with the same type of products. You may also wish to consult an attorney who specializes in business law.
> Before you sign a contract or spend any amount of money you cannot afford to lose, get all information in writing.
> Read all of the contract’s provisions carefully and make sure you clearly understand them. The Federal Trade Commission, under the Franchise Rule, requires that the sellers of some types of business opportunities must supply certain information in writing before a contract is signed.
> TIPS TO REMEMBER WITH ALL WORK AT HOME OFFERS
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> If you become a victim of a work-at-home scheme, ask the company for a refund. They may be willing to give it to you. If they refuse to give you a refund, or if they give you an evasive response, tell them you plan to notify law enforcement officials.
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> Keep careful records of everything you do to recover your money. Document your phone calls, keep copies of all paperwork such as letters and receipts, and record all costs involved, including the time you spend.
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> About BBB:
> For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.7 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 112 local, independent BBBs across North America, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation. BBB Serving Mississippi was founded in 1964 and serves 76 counties of Mississippi.
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