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Abili-Staff Gets an F Rating For Being Work At Home Scam

BBB has issued an F rating to San Antonio-based Abili-Staff Ltd., due to a pending Federal Trade Commission government action against the company as well as unanswered consumer disputes received by BBB. Abili-Staff offers work-at-home opportunities to consumers nationwide through an online database consumers pay membership fees to access. Yes, this is another one of those work-at-home scams. Disputes received by BBB claim Abili-Staff did not deliver legitimate job opportunities and failed to process promised refunds. Additionally, the FTC alleges Abili-Staff falsely claimed consumers could have unlimited access to more than 1,000 "scam free" job listings after paying fees ranging from $29.98 to $89.99. These scams are everywhere. But how do you protect yourself from such a work-at-home scam?

1. Beware of Unsolicited Offers. Be cautious of any unsolicited e-mail, telephone call or letter promising vast earnings to work from home. Do not share personal information such as credit card or social security numbers with anyone you do not know.

2. Watch Out for Upfront Fees. Avoid any opportunity that requires upfront payments to apply or start work. I believe this to be the number one indicator of this type of scam.

3. Don't Fall for the "Perfect Offer." Job listings offering short hours for substantial pay with limited experience should be carefully examined. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Check with your BBB if you are tempted but you will find that most such work-at-home promoters will not be listed for the simple reason that they close down after only a few weeks. Please note that there are a few legitimate work-at-home companies and they will have a listing with BBB.

To read this in its entirety, visit Victoria Advocate website by clicking here

Arizona Round Up 38 for Mortgage Fraud Over The Past Month

United States Attorney Dennis K. Burke recently joined members of the Arizona Financial Fraud Task Force to announce multiple indictments charging 38 people—among them loan officers, escrow officers, real estate appraisers and agents, and straw buyers—in various mortgage fraud schemes, including “cash back” and loan origination scams.

The announcement of the indictments in Arizona followed a press conference in Washington, D.C., where Attorney General Eric Holder announced the results of a nationwide coordinated takedown of mortgage fraudsters, the largest collective enforcement effort ever brought to bear in confronting mortgage fraud.

To read this in its entirety, visit National Mortgage Professional website by clicking here

Google Sues to Stop Work-From-Home Scams

The Charleston GazetteGoogle Warns of Scam Sites That Use Its Logo and Fake News Pages

Google has launched a legal battle against companies that allegedly infringe upon the Google name to promote "work-from-home" scams.

"At the heart of the scheme is a false representation that consumers can participate in a Google-sponsored program that will allow them to make hundreds of dollars a day working at home performing a simple task that requires no particular experience or qualifications," the search engine giant wrote in a 26-page claim filed in U.S. District Court in Utah.

The lawsuit names Nevada-based Pacific WebWorks and 50 other defendants referred to only as "Does 1 through 50."

Pacific WebWorks did not immediately return calls for comment from ABCNews.com. According to the Google claim, Pacific WebWorks operates a credit card processing site.

The defendants, Google said in its lawsuit, "deceive the public by misusing the famous Google brand and GOOGLE marks to sell to consumers work-at-home kits purporting to train and enable consumers to earn money using Google services."

The unnamed defendants use fake news articles, fake news blogs and fake testimonials to promote their services and direct them to credit card processing sites like the one run by Pacific WebWorks, Google said.

The schemes are advertised as free, Google said, but then often charge various fees, including monthly charges between $50 and $79.90. Customers wind up paying these charges through their credit or debit cards, which they provide online when they sign up for the alleged schemes.

To read this in its entirety, visit ABC News website by clicking here

Don't Send Money to the Business Filings Division

If you run a business or work with a nonprofit group, you might have received a letter recently from the Business Filings Division, located at 980 9th St., 16th Floor in Sacramento. Although it says "Business Mail - Important Notice Enclosed", underneath that it also says "This is not a government document".

You wouldn't know that by looking at the form that is enclosed. It is an official looking form that looks suspiciously like a form from the California Secretary of State's office and demands that you remit a payment of $235.00 by October 15th! They also include frightening information that says you will face fines and penalties and perhaps even a dreaded suspension.

But at the bottom of the form it also says "THIS PRODUCT OR SERVICE HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED OR ENDORSED BY ANY GOVERNMENT AGENCY". So why is some business sending you a form and asking for money? Because this is a scam my friends.

A quick check of the California Secretary of State's office website shows that they know of this scam and warn folks to ignore them.

"The Secretary of State's office has been advised that solicitation letters are being sent to California businesses encouraging them to comply with their California Corporations Code filing obligations by submitting fees and documents to a third party rather than by filing directly with the Secretary of State's office. These solicitations are not being made by the California Secretary of State's office and are not being made by or on behalf of any governmental entity."

To read this in its entirety, visit the Sacramento Press website by clicking here

Work From Home Scams Cite Reputable Organizations Including Google

The Charleston GazetteJerald Marshall was searching for jobs online when he came across an ad for a Google work-at-home business. The ad featured a "Chicago Tribune News" story about Mike Steadman, a college drop-out from North Carolina, who was earning buckets of money placing links on the Google Web site.

"I get paid about $25 for every link I post on Google and I get paid every week," the story said. "I make around $10,500 a month right now."

But something about the story didn't seem right to Marshall. When he checked with the real Chicago Tribune, he learned the story was bogus. Experts say the ad is part of a growing trend on the Internet: companies using fake stories that co-opt the names of respected news organizations and other firms to gain credibility for their work-at-home business schemes. They dupe consumers into believing they are trusted companies with good reputations.

"It's a pandemic problem across the Internet. There are so many fake Web sites with the BBB seal as well," said Steve Bernas, president and chief executive of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois. "If (consumers) see that it's supposedly endorsed by a newspaper, they think it's true. They think there's no need to check it out because (the news organization) did."

To read this in its entirety, visit the Charleston Gazette website by clicking here

FTC Cracks Down on Spammers Trying to Take Advantage of the Economic Downturn

The Federal Trade Commission today announced a law enforcement crackdown on scammers trying to take advantage of the economic downturn to bilk vulnerable consumers through a variety of schemes, such as promising non-existent jobs; promoting overhyped get-rich-quick plans, bogus government grants, and phony debt-reduction services; or putting unauthorized charges on consumers’ credit or debit cards.

Dubbed “Operation Short Change,” the law enforcement sweep announced today includes 15 FTC cases, 44 law enforcement actions by the Department of Justice, and actions by at least 13 states and the District of Columbia. During a joint press conference today at the FTC, David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, was joined by Assistant U.S. Attorney General Tony West; Roy Cooper, Attorney General of North Carolina; and a Washington, D.C. job seeker who was conned by a company that made false promises of maintenance and janitorial work.

“Rising unemployment, shrinking credit, record-setting foreclosures, and disappearing retirement accounts are causing consumers tremendous anxiety about making ends meet,” Vladeck said. “But to con artists, today’s challenging economy presents just another opportunity to play on consumers’ worry and bilk them out of money.”

To read this in its entirety, visit FTC's website by clicking here

Attorney General Tom Corbett Cautions Recent Graduates About Scams

Attorney General Tom Corbett today cautioned college and high school graduates, along with other consumers seeking work, to be wary of Internet job scams.

"It is important for all Pennsylvania residents to be watchful for online job scams, especially young people looking for part-time or summer work," Corbett said. "Falling for these schemes will not only leave you unemployed, but victims can also lose thousands of dollars and find themselves targeted by identity thieves."

Corbett said that con artists typically use Internet postings or websites like Craigslist to publish ads that offer high pay for part-time employment, including work as personal assistants, 'mystery shoppers' and check processors.

Despite this news address being directed for Pennsylvania, it applies nationwide. If you are a recent graduate and are looking to start a business or work from home, for the month of May you can save 10% on the purchase of my book. To find out how, click here.

Suspected scams can be reported to the national Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

To read this in its entirety, visit Pennsylvania's Attorney General's website by clicking here

300% Jump in Business 'Opportunity' Complaints

Attorney General Terry Goddard is warning consumers of a sharp increase in wort-at-home or get-rich-quck opportunity scames due to the rough economic climate. These schemes typically offer consumers a simpel at-home job or a plan for starting a business that promises large profits in exchange for a significant up-front payment.

Complaints received by the Attorney General’s Office about business “opportunity” scams increased 300 percent from the first quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009. During the first quarter in 2008, these scams were listed as the Office’s third most common scam complaint. By the first quarter of 2009, they climbed to first on the Office’s top 10 list.

The majority of these recent complaints concerned Internet-based opportunities. Many victims report becoming involved in the scam because they were looking to offset a negative financial event, such as a layoff, loss in the stock market or a resetting mortgage payment.

The schemes operate by requiring consumers to pay an initial price or fee, often $500 to $1,000, with the promise that they will be able to make extra income easily. When the venture produces little revenue, the promoter quickly tries to up-sell the victim, pressuring him or her to buy expensive advertising or marketing tools to make the “business” more effective.

This is another example of why I stress doing your homework before you start a small business from home. Being a nation of convenience, we often are led to false promises of making fortunes overnight. This is why I partnered with Palo Alto Softare to provide in my book a sample business plan and a sample marketing plan. These plans make you answer questions you would have never thought otherwise.

If you believe you've been a victim of consumer fraud, you should first contact the company in writing and specifically request the relief that you feel is appropriate even if it means you expect full refund. You may also file a complaint with your state's Attorney General's Office.

To read this in its entirety, visit Arizona's Attorney General's Office website by clicking here

BBB Alert: Habitat for Humanity Name Used in Work-At-Home Scam

Wisconsin Better Business BureauThe Wisconsin Better Business Bureau is issuing an alert regarding a current work-at-home scam using a well-known charity, Habitat for Humanity.

The Wisconsin BBB was notified by a consumer who answered an advertisement in her local newspaper for a work-at-home job as a Regional Donations Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity International. She applied for the job via email and was accepted.

She was sent a check, which she was told was a donation, and was instructed to keep $350 of it as her payment and wire the remainder to another Habitat for Humanity official who was said to be in charge of home construction projects. Unfortunately, the check was counterfeit. If she would have deposited the check into her personal checking account and wired the remainder, as instructed, she would have owed her bank the amount of money she withdrew against the check deposit.

Scammers are becoming smart. They're now incorporating well known organizations to their advantage. This is where you, the consumer, needs to be smarter. Always investigate something before you hand over your hard-earned dollar. This is even why I suggest you take a look around this website before deciding to purchase my book. I will always tell you the truth with starting a small business from home..

To read more, visit BBB's website by clicking here

Consumer Protection and Education

Consumer fraud is at it's all time high. Scams and warnings are even being updated on the FBI's website (see below "New E-Scams & Warnings"). According to the Arizona Attorney General's Office, consumer fraud is any deception, false statement, false pretense, false promise or misrepresentation made by a seller or advertiser of merchandise.

I coordinate a local art show here in Arizona so artists can have a venue to showcase their artwork free of charge. With this, I've partnered with Banner Children's Hospital and its school program where I donate school supplies purchased from proceeds from the art show (to view photos of my Art Fiesta handing over donations click here). I was asked at this past donation exchange what separates 142 Now from others who promise $3,000 working 2 hours a week.

My response was how I normally respond. First, 142 Now shows how to start a legit small business from home. Second, it shows how to rightfully begin the process. Third, my book provides the steps necessary when planning and the forms needed to get you going.

The advertised work-at-home scams that want you to call a 800 number for more information either request that you sell certain product(s) or they want you to recruit people for commission (pyramid scheme). This Isn't A Small Business! I offer 142 actual small businesses and provide the steps necessary to get you started.

If you believe you've been a victim of consumer fraud, you should first contact the company in writing and specifically request the relief that you feel is appropriate. If this means refund of your purchase, then state this. You may also file a complaint with your state's Attorney General's Office.

To read more, visit Arizona's Attorney General's Office website by clicking here

New E-Scams & Warnings

On February 4th, the FBI released an update on their website alarming people of work-at-home schemes involving illegal behavior. With the workforce across America being slashed day-after-day, many are looking for get-rich-quick opportunities.

The truth is, unless you hit the lottery or win it big in Las Vegas, there's really no such thing as "overnight success". I personally do not use smoke and mirrors to convince anyone to purchase my 142 Now book – I will always tell the truth. I do not ask to recruit people in some multi-level marketing scheme or push anyone to sell product. My 142 Now book shows you how to start a small business the right way the first time.

To read more on scams or to sign up for e-mail updates at FBI's website, click here

Beware of Scams

I'm sure you've seen these signs or advertisements:

"Make $60K in one week! Don't believe it, don't call"

"Work part time at home and make $3000 your 1st week"

"Earn CEO income working 2 hours at home"

According to AARP, individuals advertising the above schemes rake in $427 billion dollars a year! Many of these ads promise the big bucks in little to no time. And with the United States being a country of convenience, it's no surprise these con artists are able to convince people that living the life of their dreams can be easily had in only a few short weeks.

Listen, it's going to take determination to make your small business successful. Ask any legit small business owner and they're not going to say they only work 3 hours a week. If you can legally make $3000 your first week in business, then let me know!

My 142 Now book provides the steps and has copyright permission to reprint a sample business plan and marketing plan from Palo Alto Software. 142 Small Businesses You Can Start On The Weekend or On Your Spare Time will start you on the right track.

I strongly urge each and everyone interested in starting a small business to do their homework. And always keep in mind -- if it sounds too good to be true, then more than likely it is.

Read more on AARP's website by clicking here

Work-At-Home-Schemes

Be part of one of America's Fastest Growing Industries!

Earn thousand of dollars a month - from your home processing Medical Billing Claims.

You can find ads like this everywhere - from the street light and telephone poles on your corner to your newspaper and PC. While you may find these ads appealing, especially if you work outside your home. But proceed with caution! Not all work-at-home opportunities deliver on their promises.

Many ads omit the fact that you may have to work many hours without pay. Or they don't disclose all the costs you will have to pay. Countless work-at-home schemes require you to spend your own money to place newspaper ads; make photocopies; or buy the envelopes, paper, stamps, and other supplies or equipment you need to do the job. The companies sponsoring the ads also may demand that you pay for instructions or "tutorial" software. Consumers deceived by these ads have lost thousands of dollars, in addition to their time and energy.

Read this complete article on the Federal Trade Commission's website, click here

Startup Nation 2009 Home-Based 100 Competition Winner

142 Now is currently being distributed to various online book outlets. Check below to see where you can grab your copy of "142 Small Businesses You Can Start On The Weeekends or On Your Spare Time".

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