FTC cracks down on scammers

via Consumer Watch » Bill Moak.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been busy lately with a number of actions filed against operations that allegedly misrepresented benefits of their work-at-home opportunities, promised they could get nonexistent “postal jobs” for clients, and promised free smartphones.

The FTC announced the actions in separate releases in the past few days. For the details, click on the links. All are classic reminders that…say it with me… “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Be Your Own Boss?
Christopher Andrew Sterling, who sold work-at-home opportunities, was banned by the FTC from selling any more, after agreeing to a settlement with the FTC. The agency sued Sterling in November 2012 as part of “Operation Lost Opportunity,” a federal-state crackdown on scams that falsely promised jobs and opportunities to “be your own boss” to people who are unemployed or underemployed. Sterling was accused of falsely claiming that consumers could earn up to $1,000 per day by processing rebate and credit card applications, but never delivered on the promises. A $69,289 fine was part of the settlement, but it’s likely he won’t have to pay because he says he claims he doesn’t have the financial means to do so.

Return to Sender
A company that claimed to be able to provide jobs with the U.S. Postal Service is now banned from further activities, thanks to an FTC settlement resulting from its investigation, called “Operation Lost Opportunity”. The scheme, which went under the name “Career Exams, Inc. and O’Brien Marketing, Inc.”, was charged with running ads for postal jobs. Would-be Cliff Clavens were duped by ads promising access to postal jobs in exchange for a $120.00 fee, but instead received a booklet “containing general information about the hiring process for the federal civil service and Postal Service.” The two defendants, Jeryn B. Lee and Derek Jackson, were ordered to surrender about $45,000, but could also be subjected to a $4.8 million judgment if it’s found they misrepresented their ability to pay.http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2013/07/careeradv.shtm

Spam, a lot…
Henry Nolan Kelly has been ordered to pay $60,950 and stop sending unwanted text messages to consumers. Kelly was accused of sending more than 20 million unsolicited text messages to consumers promising free iPhones or iPads, but when consumers clicked the supplied links, they led to a site where they were asked to provide personal information or to make additional purchases or subscriptions. Just a reminder…it’s illegal to send unsolicited text messages for marketing purposes, unless you have clearly gotten the consumer’s permission. Once again, Kelly will probably escape repaying the $60,950 he gained from the venture.http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2013/07/hnk.shtm

One thing that’s interesting here is that these people are apparently going to escape having to make restitution for the ill-gotten gains from their activities. No word on when, or if, any of the victims will ever get their money back.


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