Federal Trade Commission Cracks Down on Con Artists Who Target the Unemployed
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has noticed a surge in con artists preying on unemployed Americans, and the FTC is redoubling its effort to stop the schemes. Many Americans are being lured by offers of job placement and work-at-home scams promising to help them secure jobs in the federal government, as movie extras, mystery shoppers, or making money from home by stuffing envelopes or assembling ornaments.
Last month, the FTC announced, “Operation Bottom Dollar,” one part of a law enforcement sweep designed to put an end to deceptive and illegal job- and money-making scams.
“I’m glad to see such actions taking place on the federal level to further protect our citizens from fraud. In these tough economic times, it is especially important that we do all we can to inform our citizens about scams,” said Missouri Labor Department Director, Larry Rebman.
Through “Operation Bottom Dollar” the FTC recently filed seven new cases against operators of illegal and deceptive scams, including one that victimized more than 100,000 people. This brings the total number of cases against perpetrators to 11 since the FTC’s challenge of such operations began last spring. The “sweep” includes 43 criminal actions by the Department of Justice, many involving assistance by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. In each case, the FTC received a court order temporarily barring these operators from continuing their deceptive, illegal tactics and freezing their assets. The FTC also is asking the courts for permanent orders that would allow the agency to try to get money back to reimburse victims.
The FTC also announced partnerships with the online job placement service, Monster.com, the search engine Bing, Microsoft, and Craigslist, to help job seekers recognize job scams so they can avoid being victimized. Monster, CareerBuilder, Bing, and Craigslist will display FTC consumer education material for people using the companies’ Web sites to search for jobs.
To help consumers avoid being cheated by employment scams, the FTC has produced a new consumer education video in English and Spanish. To view them, visit ftc.gov/jobscams and youtube.com/ftcvideos. For access to higher resolution versions, visit aperturefilms.com/ftc or contact the FTC’s Office of Public Affairs.