Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Complaints about work-at-home scams up 275 percent

In an economy where everything seems to be going downhill, one statistic has soared: complaints against work-at-home scams.

The complaints have jumped 275 percent – from 226 to 848 – from the first quarter of 2008, according to Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.

They have also moved from the No. 3 to the No. 1 position on the Attorney General’s Office’s top 10 list of complaints.

“Scam artists can make risky business opportunities seem like an attractive option for hardworking consumers,” Goddard said.

“During hard economic times, more consumers are worried about making financial ends meet and more scams prey on that need.”

The complaints have soared as the state jobless rate rose to 7.8 percent from 6.9 percent in December 2007.

Work-at-home schemes generally fall into two categories. Work-at-home opportunities offer people the chance to set up their own business at home while work-at-home companies hire people to work from home for the benefit of a parent company.

The majority of the complaints involve Internet-based opportunities, Goddard’s office reports.

Many of them also involve paying an initial fee of $500 to $1,000, according to a news release from Goddard’s office.

When the business isn’t panning out, the promoter then tries to wheedle even more money out of the consumer to pay for advertising and marketing.

After the promoter collects the cash, consumers often find the business either fails altogether or doesn’t make enough to offset what they have already paid to start it, the news release said.

The Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona has been inundated with inquiries about work-at-home companies.

Over the past three years, these inquiries have tripled with the BBB, topping off at 3,275 in 2008. This was up from 791 in 2006 and 1,873 in 2007.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

Search site | Terms of service