Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Preying on the Innocent

The state of the economy today has many people searching for opportunity. Yahoo Hot Jobs, Monster and many other employment search environments make it easy for “Work at Home “ scam companies to prey on people seeking work to support families.

My wife recently finds herself unemployed due to company cut backs. She is a very qualified individual specializing in corporate management, creative marketing and communications. Not easily fooled, she signed up for an opportunity that seemed like a data processing work at home program. The original opportunity was written to “look” like a posting by, Florida Job Markets. With Google as the main focus of a work from home program, and knowing how much internet marketing is in demand, she thought that Google would be offering an opportunity to load ads for companies on web sites.

Wrong! What a scam.

The advertisement had included language that took this program out of the “get rich quick” type marketing and promised benefits like customer support, tutorials and a package of tools to help get started making money in less than a few hours. All you had to do was work hard, stay on course and follow the predesigned marketing strategy that any 6 year could follow. Comments by users of the program were included as quotes and the main article described the success of a woman that is from Spring Hill, FL., our community.

What she got for her original $1.99 sign up was a membership, that if not cancelled within three days would cost a one time fee of $129.00 and a recurring credit debit of $49.00 per month as long as the membership was active. The sign up also automatically placed her as a member of a social network that if not cancelled within 9 days would have a recurring debit of 17.50 per month. There were no tools, no package of information to process and no customer support.

The link that was sent as part of the membership took us to a web site that shows how important it is to build your own web site. Advises to find affiliate advertisers to load onto your new web site then advertise with pay per click marketing companies. Advise on how to build blogs, network with social media and on and on. No real marketing tools or services.

I called all the customer service numbers for cancellation and customer support. You guessed it, no answer. I waited for recordings that implied my call would be answered in three minutes, then two minutes and for the next ten minutes “your call will be handled by the next customer service representative". Ultimately we had to cancel the bank card used for the original purchase of $1.99 or risk being billed the “one time fee” and recurring authorized credit debits.

Upon further review of the original article that had her impressed, the bottom line on the page, in the smallest web rendered type available, was this statement:

"THE STORY DEPICTED ON THIS SITE AND THE PERSON DEPICTED IN THE STORY ARE NOT REAL. RATHER, THIS STORY IS BASED ON THE RESULTS THAT SOME PEOPLE WHO HAVE USED THESE PRODUCTS HAVE ACHIEVED. THE RESULTS PORTRAYED IN THE STORY AND IN THE COMMENTS ARE ILLUSTRATIVE, AND MAY NOT BE THE RESULTS THAT YOU ACHIEVE WITH THESE PRODUCTS. THIS PAGE RECEIVES COMPENSATION FOR CLICKS ON OR PURCHASE OF PRODUCTS FEATURED ON THIS SITE."
*We are not affiliated in any way with CNN, WebTV, News Channel 7, ABC, NBC, CBS, U.S. News or FOX. CNN, WebTV, News Channel 7, ABC, NBC, CBS, U.S. News and FOX are all registered trademarks of their respective owners.
All the above “affiliations” were mentioned in the Fake article.

Before signing up to any marketing program or Home Based Business, check out:
www.snopes.com.
A quick search might save your peace of mind.