Scam using Google name hits Hawaii resident


POSTED: Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Hawaii Better Business Bureau is warning of national scams that use the Google name to get access to people's credit card information.

The scams have victimized at least one Hawaii resident and has received more than 1,500 complaints nationally.

According to the BBB, dozens of Web sites are trading on the Google name to scam people who want to learn about making money from home.

The sites use the Google name and prominently display its logo, so consumers often assume they are getting a job with Google, BBB officials said.

Two Web sites, Google Treasure Chest and Google Money Tree, generated hundreds of complaints each before attracting the attention of the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general for misleading consumers, including at least one from Hawaii, the BBB said. The organization said it also has received complaints about many other work-at-home schemes using similar tactics, including Google Biz Kit, Google Cash, Google Money Profits and Google Success Kit.

Hawaii Better Business Bureau

According to the BBB's warning, a Laie resident bought a $1.95 CD that supposedly contained software to help earn money at home. It did not work and a few days later, Google Treasure Chest charged almost $100 in unauthorized payments to the victim's credit card, officials said.

The BBB offers this advice to avoid being scammed:

» Check the business' BBB Reliability Report for complaints or other business practice concerns.

» Beware of work-at-home offers that use logos from Google, Twitter or other prominent Web sites.

» Question any offer that guarantees a lot of money for little effort and no experience.

» Research the Web site with Whois.net or a similar site that verifies domain name ownership. Beware of sites registered by an individual or anonymously.

» Thoroughly read the Web site's terms and conditions, keeping in mind that a low-cost item or free trial could cost you in the end.