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Abili-Staff gets an F rating for being work-at-home scam

June 26, 2010 at 1:26 a.m.


BBB has issued an F rating to San Antonio-based Abili-Staff Ltd., due to a pending Federal Trade Commission government action against the company as well as unanswered consumer disputes received by BBB. Abili-Staff offers work-at-home opportunities to consumers nationwide through an online database consumers pay membership fees to access. Yes, this is another one of those work-at-home scams. Disputes received by BBB claim Abili-Staff did not deliver legitimate job opportunities and failed to process promised refunds. Additionally, the FTC alleges Abili-Staff falsely claimed consumers could have unlimited access to more than 1,000 "scam free" job listings after paying fees ranging from $29.98 to $89.99. These scams are everywhere. But how do you protect yourself from such a work-at-home scam?

1. Beware of Unsolicited Offers. Be cautious of any unsolicited e-mail, telephone call or letter promising vast earnings to work from home. Do not share personal information such as credit card or social security numbers with anyone you do not know.

2. Watch Out for Upfront Fees. Avoid any opportunity that requires upfront payments to apply or start work. I believe this to be the number one indicator of this type of scam.

3. Don't Fall for the "Perfect Offer." Job listings offering short hours for substantial pay with limited experience should be carefully examined. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Check with your BBB if you are tempted but you will find that most such work-at-home promoters will not be listed for the simple reason that they close down after only a few weeks. Please note that there are a few legitimate work-at-home companies and they will have a listing with BBB.

n BBB is warning consumers that area furniture and bedding retailer, EB Enterprises, has been operating without a required competency license from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Additionally, respondents to franchise opportunities with the company could face scrutiny for selling bedding without proper licensing. EB Enterprises recruits home-based distributors to sell bedding from spinalcarebedding.com, offering "average 1st year dealer income well over $50,000," after an initial investment of $6,500. The owner previously operated another furniture business, Zimopoly Inc. which earned an F rating with BBB. This should serve as a good reminder to us that if you are considering investing in a business opportunity make sure all is on the up and up.

n Looking to buy a new puppy? Be careful where you buy it. The Humane Society of the United States says there are more than 10,000 puppy mills in the U.S. Puppy mills are commercial kennels where dogs are kept in cages 24/7. The dogs are mired in squalor, fed poorly, left unsocialized and get almost no veterinary care. How do puppy mill owners conduct business and conceal that they're operating a puppy mill? They often take advantage of the fact that people who buy their dogs don't see where the dogs live. A breeder will say: "Well, let me meet you halfway. You know, save you half the trip." And people will do that, thinking the breeder's being considerate when they just don't want buyers to see what their kennels look like. Of course, if you are buying online you really have to be careful.

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

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