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FTC Refunding Victims Of Fake Work-from-home Scheme

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The Federal Trade Commission said it is issuing full refunds totalling more than $284,000 to people who lost money to a fake work-from-home scheme operated by Nevada-based Effen Ads, LLC and its owners.

According to the agency, the work-from-home scheme used spam emails, fake news stories and false celebrity endorsements to persuade consumers into buying work-from-home services.

The FTC alleged that Effen Ads and its owners, Jason Brailow and Brandon Harshbarger, worked with an affiliate marketing network called W4 LLC to promote the scheme by sending bulk unsolicited email, or spam, to consumers.

The emails included false "from" lines claiming they were coming from news organizations like CNN or Fox News. The emails also included "subject" lines that falsely suggested endorsements by celebrities such as Warren Buffett and personal finance expert Suze Orman.

According to the complaint, the emails linked to websites that displayed fake news stories and false celebrity endorsements. Consumers who clicked on these links were routed to websites pitching the Effen Ads' work-from-home schemes.

The work-from-home schemes operated under more than a dozen brand names, including names such as Secure Home Profits, Paydays At Home, Home Cashflow Club, Home Cash Code, and Home Payday Center. The schemes generated more than 50,000 sales of the Effen Ads program.

The FTC said that the owners of Effen Ads and W4 agreed to pay more than $1.4 million towards settlement.

The FTC is sending $97 each to 2,931 people who lost money to the Effen Ads scheme.

It will use the remaining funds to refund people whose personal information was sold by Effen Ads to Vision Solution Marketing, a telemarketing firm that tried to sell bogus business opportunities to the consumers. Vision Solution has agreed to a separate settlement with the FTC.

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