The economic downturn appears to be bringing out the worst in some people.
The Federal Trade Commission has announced a major crackdown on those trying to take advantage of people worried about the tough economy by promising jobs that don't exist, get-rich-quick schemes and other phony services.
One of the 15 cases announced by the FTC - as part of "Operation Short Change" - involved a company that marketed infomercials for "John Beck's Free & Clear Real Estate System" and other alleged get-rich schemes. The FTC said the defendants made bogus claims about the ability to raise cash fast.
The agency said that more than 600,000 people were duped out of about $300 million. The sweep also included dozens of additional cases filed by the Justice Department and at least 13 states.