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Scam Watch

September 02, 2007|DAVID COLKER

The pitch: "Make thousands of dollars" a week with a "turn-key, risk-free" home business.

The scam: The pop-up ads placed by Results Group made it seem like a dream business. All you had to do was host a website that would be "affiliated" with prominent e-commerce outfits such as Amazon.com. Every time someone made a purchase through your site, you'd get a commission. The upfront fee was as low as $99.

The reality: The business was hardly turn-key or profitable, according to a complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission in federal court in Arizona. After the initial fee was paid, representatives of the company would pressure the site host to buy advertising packages for as much as $9,900 to help increase customer traffic, the agency charged. But regardless of the investment, most people roped into the scheme didn't earn a dime, the suit said.

The settlement: A settlement approved last month included a$19.5-million judgment against Results Group. But based on the owners' current financial worth, they have to pay only about $435,000 in consumer redress (if it's later found that the owners lied about their worth, they might be liable for the full judgment amount). The owners, who did not admit any guilt, were also banned from engaging in telemarketing.

--DAVID COLKER

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