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Economic Woes Fuel Get-Rich-Quick Scams

Complaints to the North Carolina Consumer Protection Division about work-at-home schemes and other employment scams were up 11 percent last year. Attorney General Roy Cooper says the fraudsters are capitalizing on the economy. The North Carolina Attorney General's office got 197 complaints last year from people who'd been fooled by one of those "Make thousands a week working from home!" scams. Attorney General Roy Cooper announced this week he's joining counterparts in other states for a nationwide sweep on business opportunity scams, "that prey on people's hopes and dreams, and sometimes their desperation."' Cooper's office has already taken action against four companies that have been scamming in North Carolina, including a pyramid scheme called Fortune Hi Tech Marketing. People pay money to sign up and only make money if they recruit other people to join the business. "You should be extra skeptical of high earnings claims that sound too good to be true," says Cooper. "If they're trying to get money up front from you, often times that very fact is illegal. Don't let your guard down just because the person making the pitch is a friend or a family member. Somebody may be taking advantage of them through a pyramid scheme to get to you." Later this month, Cooper's office will launch a tool kit to educate people on fake business opportunities. To report a scam to the NC Consumer Protection Division, call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.