Today the Federal Trade Commission announced that U.S. and Canadian consumers lost more than $7 million due to eighteen elusive marketers selling work-at-home opportunities. The FTC banned those marketers from selling business or work-at-home opportunities under court orders.

According to the article, these orders, along with court orders against fourteen other people and companies named in the FTC lawsuit, resolve charges that the defendants conned consumers into thinking they could make money by referring merchants in their area to a non-existent money-lending service. Many victims affected by this scam were seniors with limited income and savings.

Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection was quoted as saying “The defendants tricked people into purchasing worthless ‘business opportunities’, and manipulated credit card system to hide their tracks. We’re pleased the court stopped this deception, which harmed many older people just trying to make a living.”

The defendants falsely claimed consumers would earn up to $3,000 per month by referring small businesses to the defendants to obtain loans. After consumers paid up to $499 to buy the business opportunity, the defendants told them that, to succeed, they had to buy sales leads that cost tens of thousands of dollars but turned out to be worthless.

To read the FTC news release go to ftc.govĀ