Tribune Print Share Text

When easy money is too easy

Created date

April 19th, 2018
Senior Scams Prevention Act has been introduced in the Senate. If passed, the bill would create a federal advisory council to develop educational materials for retailers, financial institutions, and wire transfer companies.

Don't get scammed!

“Get started on Amazon and make $5,000-$10,000 in the next 30 days…even if you have never sold anything online before.”

The pitch sounds tempting, especially since it’s with Amazon, one of the most successful companies in the world. Unfortunately, it was a scam.

Dishonest fraudsters lured unsuspecting consumers by promising to share the “secrets of making money on Amazon.” As it turned out, their “secret” cost unwitting investors $995 to more than $35,000. In exchange, investors were supposed to receive guidance on how to use the company’s exclusive “plug and play system” that makes selling through Amazon wildly profitable.

Anything but a money-maker

So how did it turn out? Most, if not all, of those who shelled out their hard-earned cash, made nowhere near $5,000 in a single month. And contrary to what the ads implied, Amazing Wealth Systems never had any affiliation with Amazon. In fact, their “system” included strategies like posting fake reviews, a deceptive practice that violates Amazon’s rules. Those who followed the advice offered by Amazing Wealth Systems soon found themselves suspended from Amazon altogether.

Amazon, working with various state attorney generals, police departments, consumer bureaus, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), took action to shut the scammers down.

They are charged with violating the FTC Act and the Business Opportunity Rule. Among other things, the rule states that when a company makes specific earnings claims about a business opportunity, they must have proof that people have earned that amount in the past.   

As the case proceeds, Amazing Wealth Systems (also known as AWS, FBA Stores, and Online Auction Learning Center) is barred from making deceptive marketing claims. Their assets have been frozen pending resolution of the FTC’s motion for a preliminary injunction. In addition to ending the alleged illegal practices, the FTC is also working to get money returned to injured consumers.

Clearly the old adage “if it looks too good to be true…it probably is” applies in this case.

Before you make any kind of investment in a new business opportunity, get the facts, ask questions, and, above all, proceed with caution.

If you discover a bogus business opportunity, contact your state attorney general’s office. You may also want to contact the Better Business Bureau in your area. Finally, you should file a complaint with the FTC by visiting ftc.gov/complaint or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

Comments