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Companies offering work, training, business opportunities, investments, or other money-making opportunities often try to grab your attention by talking about how much money you can make. But all too often, the potential earnings they describe are exaggerated or even flat-out phony, and people who take the plunge instead lose significant time — and money.

The FTC is ramping up its efforts to stop companies from using false or misleading earnings claims to draw people into their business ventures. The agency sent notices to more than 1,100 multi-level marketing companies, business opportunities, franchises, investment coaching companies, and “gig” companies. The notices remind the businesses they must follow well-settled law when making earnings claims to potential participants, workers, and buyers.

Among other things, the notices tell the companies that they:

  • can’t make false, misleading or deceptive claims about the earnings you can expect
  • can’t misrepresent that you don’t need experience to earn income
  • can’t misrepresent that you must act immediately to buy or be considered for a money-making opportunity, and
  • can’t misrepresent that buying a money-making opportunity is risk-free or involves little risk.

The FTC’s cover letter makes clear to recipients that merely receiving a notice does not mean that a company did something wrong. But it also makes clear that the recipients are now on notice that if they use the illegal practices in the future, they can face penalties of up to $43,792 per violation.

Before acting on claims about potential earnings:

  • Do your research. For example, before starting a new “gig,” search for information about the company online, like how it pays its workers and any other conditions of the offer.
  • Question claims about future riches. Promises that you’ll be able to quit your job, work from home, and live lavishly often are false.
  • Steer clear of companies that use high-pressure sales tactics. Any company that says you must act immediately or discourages you from taking time to study the company is one to avoid.

For more information, check out When a Business Offer or Coaching Program Is a Scam and Multi-Level Marketing Businesses and Pyramid Schemes. If you spot an income scam, please tell us at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

13 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 won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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.

Darlene White …
October 26, 2021
Where can the list of companies be found?
FTC Staff
October 26, 2021

In reply to by Darlene White …

Click on the blue highlighted words in the blog saying the "agency sent notices." That connects to our press release, which has more information about the notices to more than 1,100 multi-level marketing companies, business opportunities, franchises, investment coaching companies, and “gig” companies. A recipient’s presence on the list does not in any way suggest that it has engaged in deceptive or unfair conduct.

L Shosh
October 26, 2021
Thank you very much, for your informative in need protection educations... These SCAMS! are too far out of control, and overbearing. We the people, will always need to informed and educated as to being wise forever... Thank you very much, FTC
Don't ucarroll…
October 26, 2021
what about TV preachers?
ervwa1727
October 26, 2021
Thank you for all the information you have provided. I have a very stubborn friend who keeps falling for the lies on the internet and keeps getting ripped off. I send your warning to my friend every time I get one in my email. Thank you!
jan
October 26, 2021
Thank you all very much for keeping me informed and all others for the scams etc.
junie buggs
October 27, 2021
I am so glad to hear that some of the tele-marketer's will cease to harass!
TEETOTALER8
October 27, 2021
I get about 10 phone calls a day from telemarketers offering me pie in the sky if I send them money. Most want it in gift cards which cannot be traced. When will there be a clamp down on such fraud?
FTC Staff
October 27, 2021

In reply to by TEETOTALER8

You can help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies by reporting income scams to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. The information you provide goes into a secure database that is used by law enforcement agencies across the country for investigations and to bring cases.

mkl314
October 28, 2021
This was rampant in the vacation condo industry a few years back. We were talked into renting out our condo for points. It cost us $10,000. It was a high-pressure sale and we were all but promised that we would make money. But a few years later we got a $600 check and a letter explaining the program hadn't worked out.
Melissacaves71
November 02, 2021
This is a disgrace to read!! Dishonest and very disturbing to prey on the 'already anxious American people'! Companies as this should be Shut down!!
FTC Staff
November 02, 2021

In reply to by Melissacaves71

The FTC sent notices to more than 1,100 multi-level marketing companies, business opportunities, franchises, investment coaching companies, and “gig” companies. This press release tells you more about the list of companies that got the notices. If a business is on the list, it does not  suggest that the business has engaged in deceptive or unfair conduct.

Melissacaves71
November 02, 2021
This is interesting, what's the said companies name?