Word of the Week: Scam

Word of the Week: Scam
Other words for Scam: Swindle, Con, Fraud, Bunco, Diddle, FlimFlam, Gyp, Racket, Sting, Hustle

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Research Assistant RA Scams

Those looking to find an online work at home employment opportunity are often targets of scams, which seem to come in a large variety. From the work at home scam variety pack I picked a great example to learn by, which is for a research assistant, aka an RA. To some the package at first appears legit because they have so much fluff in their document filled with lengthy verbiage.

However, looking at the research assistant or RA position closely it reveals its deception. The so-called research assistant or RA position professes to offer the ability to send you the merchandise for free in order for you to do a written review of the products, and then instructs you to sell them on Ebay or Amazon. It smells much like the re-packaging schemes going around in order to achieve money laundering or marketing of stolen goods.

Let's take a closer look at why this is a scam, and not an opportunity plus by all means it's far from being a job. Quoting from some of the information we'll take a look at the flaws and the gotcha's one-by-one to review the red flags.

They first lure the person in by promising them some great items, all of which they can then keep to sell on Ebay. But, the first red flag is they will take 30% of the profits for their "management fees". Their description of the opportunity is as follows:

You write a brief product description to go along with a small image. You keep all products we send you and sell them on Amazon or Ebay. You keep 70% of the profits. (30% of the profits paid to the company as management fees.)

Next red flag is the fact that they want you to buy a monthly program to commit to a website and of course pay some entity a monthly fee for it, which is probably tied in with their organization somehow:

The only money you have to spend as a new RA is the $7.95 per month for your (name changed) web page.

Moving onto the next red flag, in this example of their research assistant or RA program they encourage the person to select merchandise close to $500.00:

You should look for products costing between $100 - $500. Why this price range you ask? We have found through experience that this is the price range where you receive the most products to review.

As you know, a legitimate work at home opportunity or job is not going to ask you to pay them money. This is an obvious red flag:

This is what you pay us to be part of our review organization. We send you a paypal invoice once a week for your management fee on all books and products that were recently shipped to you.

You pay us a management fee of 30% on all products you receive from us and sell on Amazon or Ebay.

Their "management fee" is a red flag that they are potentially either marketing stolen merchandise, which you would be selling for them, or merchandise they purchased in order to work a money laundering ring. This has the same characteristics of the repackaging and money laundering scams where they have the participant take care of the marketing of their merchandise and take care of the handling of the funds received for the merchandise. Either way, it's a work at home scam you won't want to go near, unless you are hoping to have an FBI agent knocking on your front door.

Yet another twist to the research assistant program is the fact that they generally have a minimum production level in which they hold the participants to. The minimum production level in one research assistant or RA program I read about was 300 reviews a month. This is where the basic math of the entire equation then begins to reveal the fact that all they are attempting to do is to package a program to sell you merchandise. Then the person gets stuck being unable to market the goods on Ebay, yet the program will still bill them for the 30% management fees regardless.

Fair warning -- stay away from the research assistant or RA scams! Although this example discussed above may not be the same type of operation, it's very similar if not the same as a re-packaging money laundering scam. Last year the FBI caught up to one of those rings. From their website they stated; "This sentence is the result of an extensive investigation into a money laundering and conspiracy ring that involved stealing merchandise, re-labeling and reselling it, and then laundering the profits through various financial institutions."

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