As many of you know when I am researching work at home scams, I tend to review numerous sites including the Better Business Bureau, RipOff Report (often unreliable) and various blogs. Ironically, you don’t often see people defending the company that is in question and if you do, it is usually NOT accompanied by a batch of lies. However, two such “defenders” now have a serious case of egg-face since the NJ Attorney General successfully settled with one such work at home con job. Read on for more!
This particular scheme is fascinating since the owner/operator has found ways to cull information from other companies who collect names of people who are searching for work online. The basic premise is this guy collects these names then mails a letter offering them a work at home opportunity. This “opportunity” involves assembling booklets on credit repair and credit cards. Interestingly enough, one would (or should) wonder about why a company would be paying someone to assemble a 17 page booklet and offering such an incredibly high rate of pay ($20 each) for doing so but I digress. The drill is, you agree to assemble these books, you pay a fee upfront for materials and they send them along. After your ninth paycheck (I don’t know what’s so magic about nine paychecks) you get your upfront fee refunded to you. Not so fast.
First the BBB
A quick look at the BBB website today shows “118 complaints filed against business” which is significant in of itself. 10 of those complaints were never resolved. Needless to say they have earned the hard-won title of “F” rating with the BBB. However, a quick look at the address also shows that it is a maildrop and not a real address at all. Now keep something in mind, I use a PO Box but when I’m soliciting business I actually use my real address.
Now to RipOff Report
After poking around RipOff Report, I found a number of complaints about this company. What was fascinating was they were at that time (2011) fighting with the AG over their “business opportunity” and in fact that was backed up with a news report in New Jersey at the time. The news story was written by New Jersey News Room where they talk about the fact this company is at least under investigation. The whole idea of going after work at home scams started because of a diligent AG who was sick and tired of people in his state getting ripped off by these con artists. However, the irony is that even the news report has a comment from one of the “defenders” who now has a massive case of explaining to do. Follow me to see why:
On October 8, 2013 Bob Holt from New Jersey News Room posted a follow up story regarding this company stating the company had in fact settled for a nice little price tag of $130,000. That’s a pretty penny for someone who claims they have done nothing wrong. But, it gets far better: If you read the information on the Consumer Protection Site regarding the settlement (which is in PDF format), you will see where these two jokers really got their clocks cleaned: One line in particular to pay attention to in this release is “The State’s investigation revealed that Brookman and his company never fulfilled that promise. The State found that, of Brookman’s approximately 13,000 customers, only 45 – less than 1 percent – ever made more than $100 from the envelope stuffing program. Approximately 11,000 made no money at all. The most any consumer ever made from Brookman’s work-from-home scheme was $520 over a 10-month period.” Emphasis MINE
So what did the defenders do wrong? Well one of them posted a supposed paycheck on the RipOff Report thread where she claimed the check was from this “opportunity”. The check was in excess of $700. Now if you read this citation from the AG you can see clearly that is not even possible. After two years, one would think that if someone was regularly getting this type of money (which she claimed was about what she earned every week) the AG would have found that and highlighted that it was not completely impossible (just unlikely) to earn a ton of money. The other “defender” posted a comment that said “This is another example of the idiots in government wasting your tax money on BS lawsuits. I can tell you as a customer of theirs, there are NO misrepresentations, the product is genuine, the opportunity is real, and my paychecks are definitely real“. Clearly false.
Anyway, as usual, you can do your level best to protect yourself from these type of con-artists by NOT falling for them in the first place. If you are looking for work at home then you need to figure out what your skills are and learn how to market them. Whether you use an online marketplace or not, DO NOT PAY UPFRONT fees and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.