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Better Business Bureau: Your Photos scam

By By Alan Bligh
March 30, 2013 at midnight
Updated March 29, 2013 at 10:30 p.m.


The Federal Trade Commission has announced that the victims of several work-at-home scams the agency took action against in 2010 will finally receive their portion of a $685,000 settlement.

One of the companies named in the action was Abili-Staff Ltd., based out of San Antonio. According to the FTC: Billing itself as a "scam free" and "legitimate" job search service, Abili-Staff sold supposedly prescreened lists of jobs, telling consumers they could access the lists after paying a fee ranging from $29.98 to $89.99.

Your Better Business Bureau worked with the FTC to help stop this company's poor practices and continues to monitor the marketplace for similar scams. Be very careful before signing up for any work-at-home opportunity. Better Business Bureau advises job hunters to:

Check the company's Better Business Bureau Business Review at bbb.org to see its letter grade, history of complaints and government actions.

Beware of any offer that guarantees a lot of money for little effort and no experience.

Thoroughly read the website's terms and conditions, keeping in mind that a free trial could cost you in the end.

Be wary of work-at-home offers that use logos from Google, Twitter or other prominent online businesses. Just because Google is in the name doesn't mean the business is affiliated with Google.

Research the website with whois.net or a similar site for determining domain name ownership. Be cautious if the site is anonymous or individually registered.

An email has been circulating for months now with the title "Re: Your Photos." It comes from various senders, and the body simply has a short message, such as "Hello, as promised your photos," and a link. Better Business Bureau warns consumers not to click the link. It contains malware that will infect your computer.

If you receive this email, simply delete it without clicking any links. If you have already clicked a link in a similar email, run an antivirus software program to find and delete the malware.

Don't fall prey to these car burglary problems. First, your vehicle is broken into at an airport long-term parking lot. The thieves remove the registration from the glove box and the garage door opener. They go to your house, use the garage door opener to gain access and steal everything.

The fix: When leaving a car at the airport, do not leave the registration, garage door opener or keys in the vehicle.

Another problem is when your vehicle is broken into at the parking lot of a football stadium during a game.

The thieves are after your portable GPS. They use it to plot a course to your "home" location. They know how long the game will last, so they know how much time they have. The fix: Do not use your actual address as your GPS home.

Talent and modeling agencies that specialize in children are continuing to attract the interest of parents. Some of this attention is likely fueled by reality TV programs that highlight kids. The Better Business Bureau warns parents that some of these agencies take advantage of parents' pride and use emotions rather than practical expectations to gain clients and obtain payments for their services. For individuals who are approached by talent or modeling agencies the Better Business Bureau recommends:

Do your research

Beware of big promises and high-pressure sales pitches.

Consider it a red flag if the sales pitch promises many jobs.

Read the fine print in the contract and get everything in writing.

Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him by email at abligh@corpuschristi.bbb.org.

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