By Tom Burns
According to the most recent jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Michigan has a 13.9% unemployment rate which underscores the fact many people are desperately looking for a way to bring home a paycheck. Work-at-home schemes have often preyed on unsuspecting job hunters and now Twitter is being used as a way to convince cash-strapped individuals that they can make quick and easy money. The Better Business Bureau warns that the large print for such offers may promise big returns but the fine print can cost them every month.
“Twitter is the newest online fad and a perfect hook for luring people into work-at-home schemes during these tough economic times,” said Tim Burns, Public Affairs Director for the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan. “Scam artists had recently been enticing people with offers of making easy money by sending e-mails or by placing ads on Google. Now cash-strapped job hunters are the newest scam targets that need to be wary of shelling out money for work-at-home schemes that revolve around Twitter.”
One e-mail picked up by BBB stated: “Twitter Workers Needed ASAP, You're Hired! Make Extra Cash with Twitter; As seen on USA Today, CNN, and ABC... Apply Now!” The e-mail links to EasyTweetProfits.com, a company out of Surrey, England. EasyTweetProfits.com claims you can make $250-$873 a day working at home with Twitter. The Web site offers a seven-day free trial of their instructional CD-ROM for $1.95 to cover shipping. Buried in the lengthy terms and conditions are the details that the trial begins on the day the CD is ordered—not when it is received—and if the consumer doesn’t cancel within seven days of signing up, they’ll be charged $47 every month.
Similar to other work-from-home schemes, phony blogs by made-up individuals have been created as testimonials to the success of Twitter-money-making programs. Make-money-on-twitter.com is one such phony blog—supposedly by a Derrick Clark of Virginia—where the author brags about making up to $5,000 a month posting links to Twitter. The blog also includes an image of the supposed check Derrick received for posting links on Twitter, but the exact same photo of the check has been used countless times on other phony blogs for various suspect work-at-home jobs.
The blog links to TwitterProfitHouse.com which, similar to EasyTweetProfits.com, claims you can make $250-$873 a day working at home and offers a seven-day free trial of their instructional CD-ROM, for $1.99 shipping. Again, however, reading the fine print shows that the trial period starts once the CD has been ordered and the consumer will be billed $99.99 every month if they don’t call the company to cancel.
“We’ve just recently noticed the emergence of these Twitter themed web sites and if experience has taught us anything, we know that it’s only a matter of time before consumer complaints start trickling in to the BBB about them,” added Burns. “Fighting online work-at-home schemes is similar to playing a game of wack-a-mole at the arcade; new web sites pop up as quickly as you knock one down.”
BBB wants job hunters to be aware of the following red flags when searching for a work-at-home job online:
The “job” is actually a money-making scheme and doesn’t provide actual employment.
The work-at-home scheme claims that you can make lots of money with little effort and no experience.
You have to pay money upfront in order to be considered for the job or receive more information.
The exact same tweet touting the program is posted by many different Twitterers. The links in such tweets could lead you to scam sites or install malware onto your computer.
About BBB Serving Eastern Michigan
The Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan (www.bbb.org) is a non-profit organization with the purpose of preventing fraud and unethical business practices and promoting trust in the marketplace.