FTC warns of jobs-for-cash scams

February 14, 1993|By Knight-Ridder News Service

Despite all the warnings, consumers continue to be duped by con artists who promise jobs in exchange for cash.

The latest scam involved a Florida company that was charged with fraud this week by the Federal Trade Commission.

Here is how the FTC described the operation:

Beginning last October, the Douglas Co., using a San Francisco address, placed "help wanted" ads in newspapers across the nation.

Readers were invited to call an 800 number for information about construction and hotel jobs in Antigua, Aruba, Mexico and other foreign nations.

After callers described their job qualifications, they were offered employment. But in order to lock in the deals, applicants were required to send good-faith deposits ranging from $150 to $300.

According to the FTC, applicants were told the money would be refunded once they completed physical examinations or drug tests, or once they reported to work. However, the jobs they were promised did not exist, and most of the money was never returned.

"This type of scam is not all that uncommon," said Bonnie Jansen, an FTC spokeswoman. "One scam is like another scam."

To help educate consumers about deceptive-employment schemes, the FTC is offering a free fact sheet titled "Job Ads, Job Scams and 900 Numbers." To order a copy, write to: FTC, Public Reference Branch, Room 130, Sixth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C., 20580.

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