The FTC filed a lawsuit against Moda Latina BZ alleging they targeted Latinas and scammed them out of millions.
If a fun and easy job opportunity came by, would you take it? With so many Latinas out of work, especially during the pandemic, any available work would seem desirable, even more so if it involved fashion. A lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission against the so-called company Moda Latina BZ, based in Los Angeles, claims that they recruited Latinas, but it turned out it was all a scam.
According to the lawsuit filed on Nov. 30, Moda Latina BZ said Latinas could make up to $500 a week “selling perfume, makeup, and other merchandise without leaving home.”
The lawsuit against Chief Executive Officer Esther Virginia Fernández Aguirre and its general manager, Marco César Zarate Quíroz, alleges that they made $7 million off of their victims who believed they would be able to make money while working from home. The lawsuit also shows that they had been targeting Latinas since 2017 and through the pandemic.
Furthermore, a report from The New York Times shows that Moda Latina BZ “made $2.6 million from consumers who paid with money orders from July 2018 to August 2020.”
“Seizing on economic insecurity in the community, Defendants lure consumers into purchasing work-at-home business opportunities with the false promise that consumers will earn hundreds of dollars per week re-selling brand-name perfumes, makeup, jewelry, designer clothing, fashion accessories, and other luxury products,” the complaint said.
According to the report, Latinas would pay an enrollment fee of up to $299, which came with a start-up kit and products. However, they ended up getting stuck with “unsellable merchandise.”
Throughout the pandemic, Latinas have been enduring job loss. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Latina workers experienced a massive increase in unemployment between February and April, climbing 15.3 percentage points.
One in five—20.2%— of Latina workers were unemployed in April. By June, the Latina unemployment rate had significantly recovered but remained 10.4 percentage points over its February level. The Department of Labor also reported that the unemployment rate for Latinos was 8.4% nationally compared to 5.9% for white workers.
Here’s how the FTC says you can eliminate your risk against unauthorized companies:
- Research any company before agreeing to do business with them.
- Be skeptical when you get cold-call offers.
- Avoid cash on delivery or money order requests for payment.
- Report companies that ask you to pay for their mistake.
- Be skeptical of ads you hear on radio or see on TV.
- Be skeptical if someone wants you to buy into a business based on you selling high-quality brand-name products for less than retail price from your home.