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From the Email Bag – FTC Sending Refunds to Scammed Job Seekers
By Christine Durst & Michael Haaren
Sept. 13, 2012
Dear Rat Race Rebellion:
I’m embarrassed to say that I got scammed with a work-at-home job
I found online. The ad said that I could make money by doing Google
searches, and that a kit would show me how. I paid for the kit, but
never received anything. My credit card was also billed multiple times.
What can I do? – Ellen in Milwaukee, Wis.
Dear Ellen: It
sounds like you may have been a victim of the “Google Money
Tree” scheme, or one of its related come-ons, all of which have
been under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC just
mailed 93,000 refund checks to victims, totaling almost $2.3 million.
Here are the details.
According to the FTC, the ads promised that buyers would make
significant earnings by “filling out forms and running searches
on Google and Yahoo.” Purchasers were “unaware, however,
that the fee for the kit would trigger recurring monthly charges of
$72.21, because the defendants did not adequately disclose the
charges….Moreover, the defendants were not affiliated with
Google Inc., and their work-at-home product did not provide a method
for earning the income promised.”
Per the FTC’s announcement, “Consumers who made purchases
from ‘Google Money Tree,’ ‘Google Pro,’ or
‘Google Treasure Chest’ will receive approximately $24.50.
Consumers who have questions, or who have not yet filed a complaint
with the FTC and wish to do so, should call the Redress Administrator,
Gilardi & Co. LLC, toll free, at 1-877-226-2847.”
For more on the settlement, go to
http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/09/google.shtm. Separately from the
possible refund, you can also file a complaint with the FBI’s
Internet Crime Complaint Center, at IC3.gov, and with your
state’s attorney general’s office.
One final warning. Perversely, FTC announcements about scam refunds
will often trigger more scams. Scammers monitor FTC and other
government funding announcements closely, and tailor their come-ons
For example, the federal government’s “stimulus
package” of a few years ago triggered a wave of “free
stimulus money” scams. So watch out for “FTC refund”
scams, or you may be victimized twice.
Dear Rat Race Rebellion:
My daughter is living at home while she goes to college. I’ve
told her that she should build her resume with an internship or
something like that while she’s working on her degree, even if
it’s unpaid. Is there any such thing as a “virtual
internship”? – Kathryn in Rockville, Md.
Dear Kathryn: Yes,
with the spread of high-speed Internet, videoconferencing and the like,
many companies are creating virtual internships, both paid and unpaid.
Depending on your daughter’s interests and goals, you can find
them at the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism’s site, at
http://journalism.berkeley.edu/jobs/. Others pop up at ProBlogger.net
and similar writing-related sites. Searching with phrases such as
“virtual internship” and variations thereof will also turn
Christine Durst and Michael Haaren are leaders in the work-at-home
movement and advocates of de-rat-raced living. Their latest book
is Work at Home Now,
a guide to finding home-based jobs. They offer additional guidance on
finding home-based work at www.RatRaceRebellion.com. To read features
by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators
Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2012 BY STAFFCENTRIX, DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM