At least two seniors from Northern Michigan area appear to be victims of a widespread investment scheme that may have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from consumers across the nation, Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns.
Among them is a Traverse City man who lost $1,500 to pay for three websites that were promised to earn him money each month. Another victim is a woman who cares for her 91 year old father who reports she was promised a percentage of profits and nice monthly income for her $995 investment. Victims across the country have been unable to reach anyone with the business for months.
According to a BBB investigation, losses range from a few hundred dollars to more than $20,000. BBB advises consumers to exercise extreme caution if contacted by persons claiming to represent any of several Internet investment businesses operating out of New Mexico, Arizona or Nevada. The operation appears to be centered in the Phoenix area.
BBB in St. Louis in cooperation with other BBB’s developed this investigation. Nationally, consumers have filed more than 140 complaints against the businesses since 2010, including several in recent months. Most of the victims appear to be either senior citizens or disabled.
Most consumers say in their complaints that the businesses initially contacted them by phone and convinced them to invest in Internet marketing opportunities. The complainants said company representatives told them their money would be used to set up websites, and the business would then market the sites to potential customers of Amazon and other well-known companies. The callers promised the investors would receive payments based on website “hits,” and would recoup all of their money within a few months and then receive a regular commission every three months.
But no money ever arrived and, eventually, the complainants said the businesses stopped responding to their phone calls and letters.
BBB offers this advice to anyone contacted by businesses offering investment or work-from-home opportunities:
Business and Internet domain names related to this investigation include:
Advertising Solutions, Network Systems, Net Systems, NetSystems, Network Professionals, Building Money, BuildingMoney.cash, BuildingShoppers.cash and BuildingMerchant.cash, all using addresses in Albuquerque, N.M.
Also included are PrimeCash.net, Prime Cash, ADV Solutions, Advertising Solutions, PrimeMerchant.net, PrimeShoppers.net and PremierShoppers.net, which use addresses in Las Vegas, Nev.
A third group of businesses or websites that appears to be related to the Albuquerque and Las Vegas companies include WyzeMoney LLC, WyzeMoney.com, Internet Solutions, WiseMerchant.com, WiseShopping.com, WiseMoneyBusiness.com, Network Systems, Network Advertising Systems and NetworkAdvSystems.com. Those businesses or sites have reported addresses in the Phoenix, Ariz., area.
The Albuquerque, Las Vegas and Phoenix businesses all have described similar investment programs and either use, or have used, nearly identical websites.
If you ever encounter something that feels like a scam or raises a red flag for you, make sure to report it to BBB via our ScamTracker.