The booklet is “Get Credit Now.” The company, Preston Lord Enterprises, of New Jersey, is looking for assemblers and is willing to pay people throughout the USA to work at home and staple booklets. The pay: $2,500 weekly.
“It sounds like a great opportunity,” says Richfield resident Connie Nice. “There’s no work in town. We have to travel everywhere for everything.”
Located two-and-a-half hours east of Boise, there are 480-plus residents in this Lincoln County town, according to the US Census. The median income for a family is $12,750 annually, and men make three times the money women in the town make.
“It would help make ends meet,” she says. “But, I’m low-income and cannot afford the $99 refundable deposit required to start. I cannot afford this.”
That’s when she called BBB for help. Work-at-home schemes have been around for a long time. Traditional schemes such as envelope-stuffing are still around. Nice forwarded to BBB a pay up-front offer from Preston Lord Enterprises aka Maxwell Gates Enterprises.
BBB received more than 1,800 complaints about work-at-home businesses in 2012. A majority of complaints alleges companies need them to pay up-front for work-at-home opportunities, and was promised income that never materialized.
The company was sued in 2011 by the New Jersey Attorney General. The lawsuit was part of “Operation Empty Promises,” a nationwide crackdown against work-at-home scams. According to the state’s lawsuit against David Brookman and his company, people who signed up for the work-at-home program had to pay a registration fee. After paying the fee, they found the terms and conditions substantially changed, often including the need to make further payments.
New Jersey’s five-count lawsuit, filed by the Division of Law in State Superior Court in Essex County and transferred to Morris County, alleged that Brookman and his company, Capital Enterprises, Inc., violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act by engaging in unconscionable commercial practices, deception, false promises, and misrepresentations, as well as bait-and-switch tactics, in their advertisement and sale of work-at-home programs. Brookman also conducted business under the names Maxwell Scott Enterprises, Maxwell Scott, David Gates Enterprises, Warner Daniel, and Preston Lord Enterprises.
Before signing up for any work-at-home opportunity, BBB advises job hunters to:
- Start with trust. Check out any company at bbb.org to view their BBB Business Review free of charge. There you will find the company’s history of complaints and contact information. For a list of accredited businesses, go to bbb.org.
- Be skeptical. Beware of any offer that guarantees a lot of money for little effort and no experience. Thoroughly read the website’s terms and conditions, keeping in mind that a free trial could cost you in the end.
- Don’t be fooled by affiliation claims. Be wary of work-at-home offers that use logos from Google, Twitter or other popular online sites. Just because Google is in the name doesn’t mean the business is affiliated with Google.
- Check the domain. Research the website with Whois.net or a similar site for determining domain name ownership. Be cautious if the site is anonymous or individually registered.
- Beware of unexpected offers. If you receive a job offer without filling out an application, meeting with the business or being interviewed, it is probably a scam.
- Don’t pay up front. Being asked to pay to get on the ground floor of a big opportunity is a red flag, especially if it is a large payment or the company doesn’t provide much information about the deal. Handing your Social Security number or other personal information to suspicious sources could lead to identity theft.
- Don’t wire money. Being asked to wire money is a red flag. Scam artists often ask you to wire payments because they know you won’t be able to get the money back.