Wallingford, CT – March 19, 2012 – For decades, Better Business Bureau has heard from consumers who have been scammed out of money by work-at-home programs. In the past 36 months, more than 10,000 complaints have been filed with BBB’s nationwide from people who felt they were cheated by work-at-home scammers.
Amendments to the Federal Trade Commission
’s (FTC) Business Opportunity Rule
went into effect this month in an effort to further protect consumers from these ruses. The changes implement new disclosures that work-at-home businesses must provide to ensure consumers have the appropriate information they need when considering these kinds of programs.
There are five key pieces of information work-at-home businesses must now disclose using the FTC approved disclosure form:
- Its identifying information (i.e. the name, business address, and telephone number)
- If earning claims are made, the basis for that claim
- Whether the company, its affiliates or key personnel have been involved in certain legal actions
- Whether the company has a cancellation or refund policy
- A list of people who bought this business opportunity within the previous three years
While these new regulations will help consumers better understand these work-at-home programs, they still must be cautious. Here are common red flags to watch for that could indicate a work-at-home scam:
- Non-compliance with the FTC’s new regulations - If a company is not willing to provide you all the information now required, walk away and report it to your BBB and the Federal Trade Commission.
- Big bucks for simple tasks - Watch out if they promise to pay you a lot of money for jobs that don’t seem to require much effort or skill.
- You are asked to invest money up-front - If someone asks you to make an advance payment – especially if it’s a big investment, or you don’t have much information about the deal – this is a red flag. In addition, if they expect you to make a major purchase of equipment, software or inventory in order to get started, be careful. These often are the most persuasive kinds of scams.
- They ask you to wire money - If you wire a payment to somebody you don’t know, it’s gone forever. Scam artists often ask you to wire payments because they know you won’t be able to track them down to get your money back.
- High pressure to do it now - Don’t be in a hurry to accept an unsolicited offer of work, or make a business investment, particularly if the other party is asking you to spend your money on the deal. Take your time.
If you feel you have been a victim of a work-at-home scam, file a complaint with your local BBB at http://www.bbb.org
or with the FTC at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/