KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- “Discover how a poisoned brain-damaged man rakes in a six-figure income.” That’s an advertisement for a company that drew in thousands of people on the promise of learning how to make money off the internet.
Representatives from the Federal Trade Commission’s Midwest Regional Office in Chicago were in Kansas City on Wednesday with a warning that the number of work-at-home scams is growing at an alarming rate.
The victims range in age and race. However, many are African Americans and Latinos -- the two ethnic groups least likely to report being a victim of scam.
The company targeted in the FTC’s most-recent crackdown used the acronym MOBE for My Online Business Education. MOBE went after retirees, service members and veterans in many of its advertisements, promising to teach them the tools to become internet entrepreneurs.
“They are very convincing,” said Kati Daffan, assistant director of marketing practices for the FTC. “We've seen people lose tens of thousands of dollars to them."
Daffan said MOBE lured people into giving the company more and more money after an initial investment of $100. At each stage of the training, people are asked to give more money.
Some handed over as much as $60,000 and made nothing in return.
In the last three years, this scam is believed to have defrauded people out of more than $125 million.
That’s why the FTC asked a judge to take immediate action, freezing the company’s assets before its owners even realized they were under investigation. Named in the FTC’s lawsuit are the company’s operators Matt Lloyd from Malaysia, Russell Whitney from Florida and Susan Zanghi form North Carolina.
If you’ve been a victim of this company, contact the FTC here.