By Greg Wright
MBA, CFE, CFP®, CLU, ChFC
Certified Fraud Examiner & Certified Financial Planner
The Federal Trade Commission is charging one company with lying to consumers to convince them to attend the company’s supposedly free real estate seminars.
The company promised to give away the secrets to making money flipping houses at the event, but actually, they charged thousands of dollars for the “secrets.”
The “free” real estate claims that attendees can learn how to flip houses to make money. However, the FTC claim is that this Utah operation is a scam, with the company allegedly using “deceptive promises of big profits to lure consumers into real estate seminars costing thousands of dollars.”
The FTC claims that one company uses celebrities in its advertisements to lend credibility to the seminars, including endorsements from HGTV’s “Flip or Flop,” and Dave Seymour from A&E’s “Flipping Boston.” The three-day workshop that they are likely to earn thousands of dollars in profit, often with little risk, time or effort, regardless of their credit history. Sign me up!
According to the FTC, the ads convinced consumers to attend free events that would teach consumers how to make large profits by flipping “using other people’s money.” However, the FTC claims that the “free” seminar is actually a sales presentation for a three-day workshop that cost as much as $2,000.
One firm, according to the FTC, says “It backs up these representations with a money-back guarantee – consumers who do not make ‘a minimum of three times’ the price of the three-day workshop within six months will receive their money back.” The seminar will “teach them everything they need to know to make substantial income from real estate.”
However, in the FTC complaint, the three-day workshop doesn’t stop the fraudsters from separating even more money from the shill. The three-day workshop is “merely a beginner course,” then the fraudsters upsell gullible consumers additional products and services that can cost as much as $41,297.