The Federal Trade Commission has busted a group of companies and individuals who used radio, television and newspaper advertising to attract victims with promises of a career as a mystery shopper. Instead, all the respondents got was a lighter wallet. According to the FTC, the scammers’ advertising directed people to a telemarketer, who promised full or steady part-time employment as a mystery shopper – provided they kicked in $99 up front. That got them a worthless certificate and links to mystery shopper jobs offered by other, completely unrelated companies.
“Consumers had to apply for these mostly low-paying jobs, and had no advantage over anyone else who found the postings elsewhere on the Internet for free,” said FTC. “Most consumers got no jobs and earned no money.”
Charges were brought against Mystery Shop Link, LLC; Tangent Group, LLC; Harp Marketing Services, Inc.; and five individuals back in March 2007. They have agreed to pay settlements of $850K and $750K, and have suspended judgments against them amounting to $17.8M and $6.8M. The companies were also charged with contempt for proceeding after being charged in earlier fraud cases. They are all barred from repeating this business model in the future.
RBR/TVBR observation: These are repeat offenders, and all we get is “don’t do it again?” Are there no minimum security prisons left? Please, broadcasters, do us all a favor and keep imbeciles like these off of our airwaves.