To commemorate the Federal Trade Commission’s annual National Consumer Protection Week (March 6 – 12, 2011), the FTC is providing a budget-load of handy-dandy information designed to protect your money, your credit, and your overall post-recessionary financial future. So whether you’re rebuilding your economic life post-bankruptcy, or simply trying to speed up your savings, the NCPW blog can yield a wealth of resources exactly at a time when average Americans need a financial infusion, including information about:
- Avoiding foreclosure rescue and other mortgage-related scams;
- Knowing how to spot employment opportunity scams;
- Making the most of your money in the early stages of your career;
- Building and maintaining a budget to improve financial stability;
- Avoiding time-share and credit-card scams offered via text messages; and
- Learning what steps to take to save your home from foreclosure.
In Part One of The Best of National Consumer Protection Week (March 6 – 12, 2011) we took a long, hard look at select scams from the hard-hit real estate industry. But those desperate to find work are also facing an onslaught of job scams. In Part Two of this series, focusing on employment opportunity scams, it’s important to note that the FTC is attempting to take the lead on shutting down businesses that are making money by promising job results they can’t possibly deliver. As such the FTC recently announced a law enforcement initiative called Operation Empty Promises, which also combines the efforts of the US Department of Justice, the US Postal Inspection Service, and several states, targeting companies “promoting online business opportunities, steady employment, and home business success.” According to the NCPW Blog, “According to the FTC, the cases run the gamut of business opportunity fraud, shutting down a company that sold worthless internet business coaching, one that claimed to offer roles as TV and movie extras, and another that sold services that were supposed to help people recover money they’d already lost to other business opportunity and work-at-home scammers.” Operation Empty Promises has already taken legal action against (and warns you to avoid) the following scammers (and ones that act like them):
- Ivy Capital Inc. This so-called “company” has allegedly duped average Americans out of more than $40 million on assurances that it could help them establish successful home-based online businesses. Reportedly Ivy Capital would effectuate the same by first asking consumers about their available credit and then pushing them to use that credit to buy an array of worthless products and services. The lesson: if the offer sounds too good (or lucrative) to be true, it likely is.
- National Sales Group, Executive Sales Network and Certified Sales Jobs, All three of these business titles actually represent the same company that has a history of allegedly posting fake sales jobs on employment web sties including popular (and reputable) job aggregators like CareerBuilder.com. According to to the FTC website, this consortium promised “sales positions with Fortune 1000 companies” and then charged consumers for the privilege of running related background checks for made-up employers. Instead of background checks, the companies would then reportedly overcharged the client and, in some cases, charged unapproved recurring fees to their credit cards. The lesson: avoid companies requesting upfront fees for employment services.
- Business Recovery Services LLC The FTC claims “Business Recovery Services” was very much the opposite, instead misrepresenting the efficacy of its “work-at-home wealth recovery kits” which, we might add, sold for a rather steep $499 apiece. In the end, the FTC reports that this rather lucrative operation netted $1.5 million from unwary employment seekers. The lesson: for every $499 cure-all “kit” there’s a free online resource willing to provide the same educational wealth-related information.
But despite these types of warnings from the FTC, we know that people in desperate situations can fall for even the most obvious employment scams. So whether you’ve fallen victim to workplace downsizing or scams offering “upsizing,” understand that a qualified bankruptcy attorney can be a safe and authentic way for unemployed or financially insecure Americans to conquer their creditors and face their financial fears. In fact, the bankruptcy experts at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to 1-888-234-4181, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.