If you live in California and you are having financial problems because you lost your job or have medical expenses, the internet is full of ads to solve credit and financial problems through debt consolidation and government programs to reduce debt. While some of the organizations offer legitimate services, there are some that are scams that take the remainder of consumer's funds placing them in a worse financial situation than when they started.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in December 2010 filed a complaint in federal court alleging that I Works a vast internet enterprise lured consumers into trial memberships for various schemes, and then repeatedly charged monthly fees for these and other memberships that the consumers never ordered. The enterprise allegedly made more than $275 million.
According to the FTC's complaint, the operation used Web sites that pitched various money-making programs or touted the availability of government grants to pay personal expenses. The sites offer "free information at no risk" and ask consumers to provide their credit or debit card numbers to pay a shipping and handling fee such as $1.99. But when consumers provide their billing information, I Works charged them a one-time fee of up to $129.95 and monthly recurring fees of up to $59.95 for the advertised programs, and other monthly fees for unrelated programs. The court froze the assets of 61 corporations (collectively known as "I Works").
According to the FTC, the defendants, violated the FTC Act by misrepresenting that government grants are available for paying personal expenses, that consumers are likely to obtain grants by using the defendants' program, that users of their money-making products will earn substantial income and that their offers are free or risk-free.
The FTC complaint names I Works Inc., Anthon Holdings Corp., Cloud Nine Marketing Inc., CPA Upsell Inc., Elite Debit Inc., Employee Plus Inc., Internet Economy Inc., Market Funding Solutions Inc., Network Agenda LLC and Success Marketing Inc.The 51 shell companies named in the complaint are Big Bucks Pro Inc., Blue Net Progress Inc., Blue Streak Processing Inc., Bolt Marketing Inc., Bottom Dollar Inc., doing business as BadCustomer.com, Bumble Marketing Inc., Business First Inc., Business Loan Success Inc., Cold Bay Media Inc., Costnet Discounts Inc., CS Processing Inc., Cutting Edge Processing Inc., Diamond J. Media Inc., Ebusiness First Inc., Ebusiness Success Inc., Ecom Success Inc., Excess Net Success Inc., Fiscal Fidelity Inc., Fitness Processing Inc., Funding Search Success Inc., Funding Success Inc., GG Processing Inc., GGL Rewards Inc., Highlight Marketing Inc., Hooper Processing Inc., Internet Business Source Inc., Internet Fitness Inc., Jet Processing Inc., JRB Media Inc., Lifestyles For Fitness Inc., Mist Marketing Inc., Money Harvest Inc., Monroe Processing Inc., Net Business Success Inc., Net Commerce Inc., Net Discounts Inc., Net Fit Trends Inc., Optimum Assistance Inc., Power Processing Inc., Premier Performance Inc., Pro Internet Services Inc., Razor Processing Inc., Rebate Deals Inc., Revive Marketing Inc., Simcor Marketing Inc., Summit Processing Inc., The Net Success Inc., Tranfirst Inc., Tran Voyage Inc., Unlimited Processing Inc. and Xcel Processing Inc.
The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues, you can visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. You can also Watch a video How to File a Complaint to learn more. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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