It’s bad enough to be one of the growing number of jobless, but to be scammed by a con artist offering a work at home job can mean complete financial ruin.Â Most work at home scams fall into one of two categories:Â The Phishing/Money Laundering type or the Pay A Fee To Get Started type.
The first type can be a straight identity theft scheme where they ask you for personal information such as your bank account numbers, social security numbers, etc.Â Other times it is a ploy to lure you into illegal activities like money laundering.Â Â The “employer” tells you that they will send you a wire transfer and you get to keep a certain percentage of it and wire the rest to another person (usually overseas).Â This is illegal and you can be held legally and financially responsible.Â Take the case of one online job seeker who faced jail time after responding to a work at home ad.
I think we’re all familiar with the scams that claim that they will hire you to work from home, but you have to pay a fee to get started.Â As long as this one has been around, there are still people out there falling for this.Â Think of it this way:Â You go for a job interview and the interviewer introduces himself and then says, “Before we get started, I’m going to need 39 bucks from you.Â Just to make sure that you’re serious. “Â Wait, what?Â That would make no sense at all right, and you’d walk right out of there.Â An online or work at home job is no different.
The Better Business Bureau wrote recently that the jobless are the current target of would-be scammers.Â They also say that they target senior citizens, the disabled, stay-at-home moms, people with low incomes, and people who are looking to get rich quick.Â According to the BBB, work-at-home scheme promoters will:
- Never offer regular salaried employment.
- Promise huge profits and big part-time earnings.
- Use personal testimonials but never identify the person so that you could check with them.
- Require money for instructions or merchandise before explaining how the plan operates.
- Assure you of guaranteed markets and a huge demand for your handiwork.
- Overstate claims of product effectiveness.
- Make a high pressure sales pitch and state the offer is available for a limited time.
- Tell you that no experience is necessary.
Your BBB advises the following when looking for a work-at-home job:
- Visit your Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org to find a Reliability Report on the business offering the work opportunity.
- Check references, and where appropriate, check for business licensing.
- If you decide to use a business’ services to start working from home, know exactly what you are paying for and make sure it is in writing.
- Read contracts thoroughly. Make sure verbal promises are in the contract.
- Consider all possible costs (office supplies, software, etc.) and weigh them with the benefits (gas savings, convenience, etc.).
- If the advertisement is Internet based, do not enter any personal information into an e-mail or Web site unless you are positive the offer is not a scam.
- Feel free to ask questions. Legitimate work-at-home opportunities are happy to answer any questions with detailed answers about the company and job.
- Those who are scammed by a work-at-home scheme can contact: Your BBB at www.bbb.org, local state or consumer affairs agencies and the local state attorney general’s office.