Through Tweets, e-mail and Web sites, job hunters are being told that they can make lots of money from the comfort of home using Twitter and Better Business Bureau warns that the large print for such offers may promise big returns but the fine print can cost them every month.
Currently 14.5 million Americans are out of work and looking for a way to bring home a paycheck according to the most recent jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 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.
"Twitter is the newest bright shiny object online and a perfect hook for yet another work-at-home scheme," said Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. "The pitch used to be about making money by sending e-mails or by placing ads on Google but now cash-strapped job hunters need to be wary of shelling out money for a dubious scheme that revolves around Twitter."
Unfortunately, such "Make Money With Twitter" schemes may sound risk-free but bear many red flags prompting BBB to advise job hunters to be extremely cautious.
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.
"These Web sites have not been up for very long so, if experience has taught us anything, we know that it's only a matter of time before the complaints start coming in," added Andrew. "Work-at-home schemes are like a game of whack-a-mole and new Web sites crop up practically every day."
BBB wants job hunters to be aware of the following red flags when searching for a work-at-home job online:
Claims that you can make lots of money with little effort and no experience.
You have to pay money upfront.
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.
For more information about the services and products provided by the Better Business Bureau, call 206-431-2222 or 253-830-2924 in Washington, 503-212-3022 in Oregon, 907-562-0704 in Alaska, or visit www.bbb.org