Chicago, IL - August 10, 2009 -The Better Business Bureau is advising social networkers to read the fine print when responding to ads on blogs or other social networking sites because the large print doesn’t always tell the whole story. Ubiquitous ads for work-at-home opportunities can cost job hunters more than they bargained for in the long run.
There are a variety of schemes, such as promising non-existent jobs promoting overhyped get-rich-quick plans, bogus government grants, and phony debt-reduction services. In many instances the schemes can appear to many to be even more credible as they disguised to look like a newspaper did a story on them, or the sites reference as seen on well-known TV stations and newspapers. There are intended to support the scammers trying to appear legitimate.
They are also piggybacking on the Google name to add credibility to their website. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a law enforcement crackdown early last month on scammers trying to take advantage of the economic downturn, one of which was Google Money Tree. This company and others like it are allegedly misrepresenting that they are affiliated with Google and trying to convince consumers into divulging their financial information by advertising a low-cost kit that they claim would enable consumers to earn $100,000 in six months. These companies also fail to adequately reveal that there are recurring charges.
“In our experience, it is extremely difficult to track complaints because these online companies are changing their names, sometimes daily,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “We are very concerned about seeing a rise in instances of fraud targeting job hunters this year in light of the rise in unemployment rate, shrinking credit, record-setting foreclosures, and disappearing retirement accounts. Scammers read the headlines and anytime people are vulnerable they’ll take advantage”
The Pitch: Learn How I Make $67,000 a Year Being a Stay-at-Home Mom!
There are many ads on Facebook or Twitter that advertise ways to make easy money from home. Similar to the Acai Berry ads, the ads link to blogs that were supposedly created by people who made money through a work-at-home program. One such blog purportedly written by a “Sarah Roberts” claims that she added “$67,000 a year to my family’s income working 10 hours a week (that’s over $128 an hour!)” by creating Web sites that host Google ads.
Another, "www.jasongetsrich.com", is ostensibly written by the newly married Jason who makes “around $5,500 to $7,000 a month from Google.”
The Fine Print: The blogs direct readers to Web sites for programs such as Internet Money Machine and Easy Google Cash where they can sign up for a seven-day trial access to information on how to make money from home. While the free trial supposedly only costs $1.95-$2.95, the individual will be charged around $69.90 for a monthly subscription if they don’t cancel seven days from signing up. The fine print also states that the company does not give refunds.
BBB recommends job hunters to be aware of the following red flags when searching for a work-at-home job online:
ü The work-at-home scheme claims that you can make lots of money with little effort and no experience.
ü You have to pay money upfront in order to be considered for the job or receive more information.
ü The exact same tweet touting the program is posted by many different Twitterers. The links in such tweets could lead you to scam sites or install malware onto your computer.
ü Check the company’s reliability report on www.bbb.org before applying for a job.