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What would you give for a turnkey system to earn six figures in 90 days or less, all while working from home? That’s what the defendants behind Digital Altitude promised. But the FTC alleges they did not deliver.

In a case announced today, the FTC says the defendants defrauded consumers out of more than $14 million, but provided nothing more than a series of “training” videos, a few PDF documents and so-called “coaching” sessions that turned out to be sales pitches to get people to pay even more.

The FTC says most people made little or no money. The few that did make money typically didn’t earn enough to cover their required membership fee and monthly dues. People were paid only when they recruited new members.

To reach people, the defendants used ads and videos on websites and social media platforms to sell memberships. Their methods included these tried and true tricks of the con artist’s trade:

  • Outrageous claims — “You are about to receive a very special guide that reveals how you can make six figures online in the next ninety days or less”
  • Deceptive testimonials — Videos of members scuba diving, hiking, and lounging by a pool as money poured in on autopilot
  • High-pressure upselling — “You are leaving $60,000 on the table” by not moving up to the next membership tier
  • Free trial periods that aren’t as they seem — Ads promising 14-day “test drives,” but fine print giving people just 72 hours to cancel

If someone promises you fast and easy money, you can bet it’s a scam. Slow down. Search the company’s name online with words like “scam” or “complaint.” Share what you know with a friend, and help others by reporting what you’ve spotted to FTC.gov/complaint.

60 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

MichaelEdits
February 08, 2018
I've been banging away from home for 18 years. It's possible, but there's no "rich" or "quick" involved. Working for someone else would've been easier.
GinaLisa
February 17, 2018

In reply to by MichaelEdits

Me too Michael. 15 years. If you aren't looking for a get rich quick scheme, but just want an honest work from home job, they are out there. I hope to never go back to working in an office.
Kitty
April 25, 2018

In reply to by MichaelEdits

Michael, so true about at home businesses. It’s hard work, long hours, but no boss breathing down your neck! The latest scam seems to be threatening you with legal action, having cops come get you for unspecified crimes. If you wait a few days, the number they give you to call will be disconnected. Since I knew I didn’t have any crimes, I knew it was a scam! They will actually leave a message on your phone! Please report. The numbers (I’ve been contacted by them 4 times now) are always different, different area codes even.
Roman Gurtler
February 08, 2018
If its too good to be true.....it is
want to be my …
February 08, 2018
I've always been intrigued by medical billing from home but, have always been leery. Seems like its happening but, don't know the legitimate route to find out how to do it.
Sharon
February 08, 2018
Please investigate “universal systems technologies”. They scammed me for close to $6000. Deliver nothing. They claim to be selling gps software and hardware for trucking companies. They said it was a federal law that all trucking companies had to have this type of hardware and software permanently installed on all of their trucks by October, 2017. I have reported them to FTC but have heard nothing. They promised 100,000 per year for my investment. Whenever they called me or I called them they just wanted more money. When I finally said no more money they stopped calling and to this day will not return my phone calls. Please go after them!
Antosino
February 08, 2018
There are, unfortunately, ways to "spoof" your caller ID, though it can be easier or more difficult depending on what type of caller ID service you utilize. For example, it's far easier to spoof caller ID provided by some random app store download than it is to fool a landline's caller ID directly from a major provider. You won't ever have a 100% guarantee, but I wouldn't start worrying about every call you get from a trusted number actually being somebody else. It's possible, sure, and it might happen now and then... but it's not quite mainstream enough (or easy/cheap enough!) for most scammers or telemarketers to take advantage of this on a large scale. In fact, I'd assume that most calls with a spoofed ID are specifically targeting a person or small group, not a mass calling of thousands (I'm no expert, though, and my assumptions could be incorrect). I will say, however, that if you do ever realize a caller is spoofing their ID it's far more likely they are a scammer than a simple telemarketer or salesman; only then does the potential of a large, scammed profit make it worthwhile for them to spend the time, effort, and (potentially) money required to do so. A random Telecom center selling cruises certainly wouldn't. Sorry for the long reply, here's a somewhat more concise version: it can spoofed, yes, but it's not something that's terribly common outside of silly 99-cent prank call apps (a friend calls another "from the white house," etc) and most of the time it will only fool third party database-driven caller IDs such as downloaded caller ID apps or low-end VOIP caller IDs - the easier/cheaper the method of ID spoofing, the fewer services it will actually fool. In any case, it's still something that's rare enough that I wouldn't worry and/or start ignoring numbers you know; just remain mildly vigilant and keep the possibility in the back of your mind, so that if/when a call from a trusted number starts to sound fishy in the future you can protect yourself. There are more technically proficient ways to spoof a caller ID, but that's less tricking the system to show a fake ID and more actually changing your device/service to send incorrect caller information. I doubt you'll have to worry about this, and even if so the end result (from your perspective) is the same, no better or worse. Sorry for any typos or if anything doesn't make sense, I'm typing this on my phone which, for some reason, loves to randomly reposition words or sentences now and then. Good luck!
Believer
February 13, 2018

In reply to by Antosino

Actually the FTC says, “Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information...”
Kenklocke
February 09, 2018
So much work to do.If it ain't one fraud it's another.
Jackie
February 08, 2018
Remember, with get rich quick offers... the one getting rich quick is the scammer you are sending your money to. If anyone asks you to pay them for a job, the wrong person is getting paid. Are you starting to see the pattern? Never be a afraid to ask questions and do research before jumping in. Don't let anyone rush you into making a decision. If it is a real opportunity then it will still be there later.
'Ball four
February 14, 2018

In reply to by Jackie

Hi Jacky, I can relate to the the Get Rich Scammers Scam. They swear you will make money,"If you pay for the CD's and other materials. The reason I would try to be making money is not to spend Money on the supposed garanteed product or service. Beware.
FrustratingCalls
February 09, 2018
I have gotten repeated Robocalls from Blue Cross. But health insurance sellers that have consistently had 990 in the otherwise different phone nos.have been calling me repeatedly for several months. I try to tell them I've got my insurance but they don't stop talking. They just talk right over you. I wish I could get my name and no. off their list forever!
MahJongg Lady
February 16, 2018

In reply to by FrustratingCalls

Put your phone on silent, then they are forced to leave a message or will probably hang up after getting your vm message. I do this and it works..only people who know me leave messages and they know I will get back to them.
Shambala
February 09, 2018
I was reading a column online from a reputable news source. Suddenly the column was gone and an email message from Amazon was announcing that I was chosen for a free...( I stopped looking at this right then, instead I tried to copy the email, to send to the new source and to the FTC ). My attempt was not successful because the “copy” choice on my iPhone didn’t copy the email; it only copied the yellow arrow from the content that is what amazon uses in their ads, I think, as I am not an amazon user, but I have seen other individual’s online site when I was present. I am positive that it was a scam or hack attack, and I am still going to write the experience to the publisher of the news source for online subscribtions. I hope that someone else has this experience and doesn’t make the mistake of actually answering this type of email. Thank you for your continued support for our protection.
archie
February 10, 2018
are cell phone no. been released on 1 mar
Shariys
February 15, 2018

In reply to by archie

NO! That's an old HOAX! Look it up on Snopes.com .
Concerned
February 11, 2018
Someone or something has been sending me non informative (usually one word) text messages for the last few days. One of the first messages asked me if I would like to earn a quick $5,000. I have not replied to these messages as that would inform this phone is active. The alarming thing is this person or bot knows my first and last name! I am unsure how to deal with it, though I am thinking of filing a complaint with the FTC. Thoughts?
FTC Staff
February 12, 2018

In reply to by Concerned

If you are an AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint or Bell subscriber, you can report spam texts to your carrier by copying the original message and forwarding it to the number 7726 (SPAM), free of charge.

Don’t reply, and don’t click on links provided in the message: Links can install malware on your computer and take you to spoof sites that look real but whose purpose is to steal your information.

Concerned
February 12, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

Thank you Bridget. Yesterday I filed a complaint through the FTC unwanted texts category and registered my phone with the do not call registry. I believe the registry only regards calls, not texts, but it offers a little peace of mind. I've read that is illegal to solicit via text. However, criminals don't obey the law. I have also read about the 7726, but my carrier is different. My phone is a flip phone and does not connect to the internet. Thankfully, I do not have to worry as much about malware or viruses. My concern is for my privacy and identity. I check my financial accounts and credit score often. Everything looks fine. After the Equifax breach, I signed up for credit monitoring and have not seen an alert from them - which is good. Hopefully the only personal information this person or bot knows is my first and last name, nothing more. If the texts continue, I may decide to block all texts except for contacts. It will be annoying having to add contacts that wouldn't ordinarily be in my phone (pharmacies, dental and doctor offices, businesses, etc.) if I wish to receive future text communication from them. Is there something local law enforcement can do with an unknown number? Perhaps I can pay a fee for them to look it up. I trust the local police office much more than some online site.
Rocky
February 12, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

Bell is a Canadian provider, and therefore outside your protection.
Angel
February 15, 2018

I am wondering if this so called business is legit. Survey Money Machines 7800 Preston Rd Planto Tx 75024. 972-275-9610 hailey(at) www. surveymoneymachines. com They send your info to other legit? to do surveys and depends on how much you work you could make up to 1000.00 an hour..That sounds to good to be true myself that is why I'm writing to get opinions from anyone. Thanks

anon
August 15, 2018

In reply to by Angel

100% scam. There are legitimate apps that let you earn money from surveys, but they don't tell you how much you can make, don't make you much money, nor make ludicrous promises like 1k an hour. Literally no job pays you 1k/hr.
MAX THE NIFE
February 12, 2018
I have been informed by an employee of Customs and Regulations that they are holding a package with a sweepstake winning check for $850,000 as a winner of the American Winning Network. They now want me to send a check for $850 to receive the package with my winning check of $850,000. The representative of American Winning Network named Roberto Rios tells me that he is an attorney and gave me a claim number lm9016, Please check and inform me if this is a scam.
Nitewelder
February 16, 2018

In reply to by MAX THE NIFE

This is as much a scam as you could ask for. Likely from Nigeria or India. Amazing that anyone could fall for such lies. If a message has "you won" or "free" in it, you are being scammed. Know it.
Don't use your…
March 17, 2018

In reply to by MAX THE NIFE

This is a scam.It isn’t western union,where pay money to get money.dont send the money.
MAX THE NIFE
February 12, 2018
Pleas inform me if American Winning Networks is for real or a scam. The contact is Roberto Rios who says he is an attorney. This has all the earmarks of a scam. Please inform me.
abrahamsmith
February 13, 2018
Thank you so much for the great information.
dam
February 13, 2018
Do you know anything about the National Grants Organization from New York?
JohnGetson
February 13, 2018
Somewhat saddened to see yet another prediction has come true... even though it lasted several months longer than I originally called... but I have to admit to being glad that more than a few associates and followers have actually been paying attention to my original analysis Unfortunately, the rest of you can not say you were not warned... Sadly, when something seems too good to be true, all too often that’s because it is in fact not true at all.
AB0708
February 13, 2018
I am a huge enthusiast for work from home opportunities! I personally know several top earners in several Direct Sales/Network Marketing companies, and I am a small business owner myself! I can promise you, there is NOTHING EASY about the work we actually put into our businesses; it is very possible to be successful and even live 'lavish' type lifestyles, go on trips and have nice things. However, the people who are able to take advantage of 'lavish' lifestyles are also the people who worked extremely hard in the beginning, found their niche, and built their businesses and teams!! Unfortunately, some advertise that it's easy, and when someone doesn't get the payout they were 'promised', they swear it's a scam; the truth is it is most definitely hard work, and it is NOT quick! To make money, it takes time and patience to stick with it thru the rollercoaster of good months and not so productive months! Recently, I decided to dabble in other income-producing ventures because I have found myself a single Mom with 2 toddlers, and my youngest has disabilities which require weekly therapy sessions. It makes it almost impossible to have a typical 9-5, and I am in the process of launching a small business but I haven't officially started it as of yet. I participate in market research studies, surveys, product testing, and even Mystery Shopping Evaluations. I was once a fraud specialist for Citi-Cards, so I am EXTREMELY familiar with scams!! I am usually the person warning others about different scams, and things that don't seem right. Then today, I woke up with my entire world in shambles; I fell victim to a scam myself. My daughter's birthday is in 2 days, all of my bills are due this week, and my bank account is now NEGATIVE $1286. I applied for an evaluator assignment thru Survey Monkey. I was contacted to inform me I had been selected to participate in this week's evaluation assignment for Wal-Mart. I worked at Wal-Mart when I was younger, and they do use Mystery shoppers at times to evaluate their customer service! I received my instructions via USPS Priority Mail with tracking information, as the sending company knew once the package had been delivered. I looked up the financial institution that issued the check to verify the check, and it was in fact the correct information. I then verified the receipt of the package, and received my survey questionaires I would be required to submit after my evaluation. My assignment was to make a purchase at Wal-Mart for $50 or less. Once that was complete, Inwas to use walmart2walmart transfer service to transfer $1270 to the feedback department. All of which I have done multiple times before while conducting evaluations for Mystery Shopping companies, so it was NOT a red flag in anyway at that point. The check also included $30 that would cover any transfer costs, which were actually only $16. The total transaction amount was $1286. I waited 3 days just to be sure the check actually cleared my account and was verified by my financial institute as ok. In hindsight, now that I awoke with the $1650 as been returned pending investigation, I have replayed EVERYTHING in my head and noticed some suspicious activity that I want EVERYONE to be aware of; The Check was issued from a smaller credit union, which as of today now has an Alert on their website that fraudulent checks from their institution are in circulation (was NOT on the website when I looked them up initially), the phone number used to contact me is a CA number which reverse lookup showed it is a T-Mobile VOIP service out of Alhambra, CA. The instructions were printed on paper with logos, but without an official letterhead. *Community Research, inc (assigned the evaluation) *Mr. Robert Brouillette (listed as my 'Task Manager') *(626) 888-3323 (Phone # used) *Ferguson Federal Credit Union (Check issued from) *walmart2walmart transfer ONLY (not MoneyGram-however, when I initially reported there may be an issue, I was advised to find MoneyGram location outside of Wal-Mart because the 2 day time period had lapsed & I hadn't submitted my evaluation yet). *Recipent of Transfer: David Fenwick of Atlanta, GA 30319. I NEVER thought I would be so stupid, as I am educated when it comes to scams. However, this scammer is a professional! The scammer(s) used Survey Monkey (which IS a legitimate company) in their rouse to offer me an 'exclusive assignment'. This means the person(s) knew I regularly complete surveys and shopping assignments, sent the instructions via priority mail on a paper WITH LOGOS (Wal-Mart, Ria Money Transfer & Community Research, inc.), sent an ACTUAL CHECK with real account information (apparently, it just wasn't an authorized check but I'm not positive as it's still being investigated by Ferguson. The person spoke with me on the phone, conducting himself in an extremely professional manner even scheduling further evaluation opportunities with me! Even the most knowledgeable person can find themselves victim, so just ALWAYS KEEP YOUR GUARD UP!! Had I not needed the $300 payment so desperately for the assignment, I may have done a more extensive check in the beginning, and I wouldn't be posting this warning!! Luckily, I still have the check and all the documents and communications from the person....I just wish I would have kept the priority mail envelope so I can see what return address was used. In hindsight, I am now seeing some 'red flags' per day that I overlooked initially because I was under the assumption I was accepting an assignment from Survey Monkey. God Bless all of you for reporting your experiences, and I can only pray that a miracle happens so I can at least somehow get groceries this week & make a birthday miracle come true for my daughter!! Ugh, I wish Blogs like this didn't have to exist because there are so many GENUINE opportunities to make REAL, HONEST income without completely destroying someone as I was this week, and so many of you were.
FTC Staff
February 20, 2018

In reply to by AB0708

Thank you for your comment. To help law enforcement, please report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you provide will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

Lv
March 03, 2018

In reply to by AB0708

Thank you for sharing this post on here. I just received a check from the same person with instructions. I will not be participating thanks to your feedback about this scam.
jordan
February 13, 2018
i do not likeit
kassanna
February 14, 2018
is the federal grant money from the federal trade commission legitimate. I have a friend who swears he was given grant money and actually received it from the federal trade commission
FTC Staff
February 15, 2018

In reply to by kassanna

No! The Federal Trade Commission does not give grant money to people. If someone says you can get a grant from the Federal Trade Commission, please call 1-877-382-4357 and report that to the FTC.

Barney Rubble
March 17, 2018

In reply to by kassanna

A real friend cares about you.This is not a friend
Angela
February 14, 2018
They got me too. Digital Altitude has made a lot of money off a lot of people. I wish I hadn't fallen for their schemes. They have a lot of people in their circle.
Got clever
February 15, 2018

What has been working for me to get rid of a lot of scammers is tell them to hold a second, I put the phone down and don't come back to it for about 1/2 hr. Also, another approach is if they ask for me I say that she doesn't live here anymore & has moved. Good Luck!

Robyn R
February 15, 2018
I have been sought out by Cobalt Construction our of Similar California for a work at home position. They have just sent a cashiers check stating it would be for home office equipment and my first 2 weeks training pay. I called the bank it was issued from to verify funds nand they stated they do not have a record of the check number. I didn’t deposit the check, of course, but I’m wondering how to check this out. Any help you suggest will be greatly appreciated
FTC Staff
February 15, 2018

In reply to by Robyn R

That could be a fake check. If you deposit it and send money back right away, you could lose money.

Banks must make funds from a check you deposit available within days, but it can take weeks to uncover a fake check. If a check you deposit bounces – even after it seemed to clear – you’re responsible for repaying the bank.

chris
February 15, 2018
Why didn't you guys go after Empower Network (David Wood, David Sharpe) which was way bigger than Digital Altitude?
FTC Staff
February 16, 2018

In reply to by chris

If someone promises you fast and easy money, you can bet it’s a scam. You can help law enforcement by reporting that to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you provide will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

The comments you write here on the blog do not go into the law enforcement database.

Mark
February 16, 2018

Will the FTC also look at these companies: MOBE, Four Percent, Tecademics, Tai Lopez, Sam Ovens, The Six Figure Mentors, Empower Network, Global Affiliate Zone

FTC Staff
February 16, 2018

In reply to by Mark

If someone promises you fast and easy money, you can bet it’s a scam. You can help law enforcement by reporting that to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you provide will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

The comments you write here on the blog do not go into the law enforcement database.

Dee
June 17, 2018

In reply to by Mark

We are also concerned about the Four Percent group. Why can't we pay a one time fee and get all of the material? Also, you have to join to promote this as an affiliate. Booooo!
Fred flintstone
February 21, 2018
ANYTIME you can get a scammer to overnight you a "FAKE"check by all means do it. It cost's the scammer at least $15 in overnight fee's. Then when they call you, tell them you only did it so it would cost THEM money and help support our American shipping company's. If enough people would do this the scammer's would stop because it cost them to much money. I also try to drag the scam out as long as I can and then at the last minute tell them I was just wasting their time because the more of their time I waste the LESS time they have to scam someone else. You will find it wont take long before somehow you are you are now on the scammer's do not contact list. It works for me. They quit contacting me altogether. Make sure AS SOON AS YOU GET the scammers fake check to notify the bank it is written on so the bank can take immediate action to shut down the Scam.
Jay
March 08, 2018
I too got all mixed up in the Digital Altitude Hype I loaded a lot of money and my credit took a hit. I’m coming out of it now but still feeling had. I signed up under the Millionaire Mentor/Jason Stone all promises never heard from him and the company was very very aggressive . My fiancé used to work for MOBE and the company is ran Differently then DA. But doing more of my research now and not falling for scams. Tai Lopez and some other put a disclaimer on there website saying that it’s a risk and you may or not make money it’s based only upon yourself and work ethic . At least that way you know what your getting into
Kay Matthews
March 14, 2018
BEWARE of T Bank in Dallas TX Cashier's Check scam from a VA address.
Jean Paul
April 03, 2018
It reminds me a lot of what Philippe Ballesioa did to us a group of unsuspecting people with a computer program, in the end everything is a Ponzi scam.