Skip to main content

The Federal Trade Commission recently announced a large scale “crackdown on con artists” who have been targeting jobless Americans.

“Federal and state law enforcement officials will not tolerate those who take advantage of consumers in times of economic misfortune,” the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said in a press conference last week. “If you falsely advertise that you will connect people with jobs or with opportunities for them to make money working from home, we will shut you down. We will give your assets to the people you scammed, and, when it’s appropriate, we’ll refer you to criminal authorities for prosecution.”

The FTC has dubbed this new mission Operation Bottom Dollar. I don’t love the name, but it has already done much to raise awareness… particularly about the seven big scammers that the FTC has already gone after.

Real Wealth, Inc allegedly conned more than 100,000 people into buying instructional booklets that explained how to make money off of government grants. Career Hotline, Inc is accused of falsely promised people jobs that paid at least $25K a year and the FTC claims that Independent Marketing Exchange, Inc lied about a wide variety of work-at-home opportunities.

Then there’s Entertainment Work, Inc, a company that is said to have scammed people into paying membership fees with the promise of landing “jobs as movie extras, jobs on television, or jobs in print media.” The last one should have clued people into the scam – there are no jobs in print media… well, almost none anyway.

The list of people injured by these scams is even worse – elderly people, the disabled, single mothers and more. If you hear about a work opportunity that seems too good to be true, it probably is. The New York Times recommends that you research any company that you’re using for your job search and, in general, you should only deal with them if you can meet them face to face at some point.

You can view the full list on the FTC’s Web site. Also, be sure check out MainStreet’s coverage of the worst scams that plagued Americans in the past year.

—For a comprehensive credit report, visit the Credit Center.