The Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). today issued a warning about work at home scams:
Consumers need to be vigilant when seeking employment on-line. The IC3 continues to receive numerous complaints from individuals who have fallen victim to work-at-home scams.
Victims are often hired to “process payments”, “transfer funds” or “reship products.” These job scams involve the victims receiving and cashing fraudulent checks, transferring illegally obtained funds for the criminals, or receiving stolen merchandise and shipping it to the criminals.
Other victims sign up to be a “mystery shopper”, receiving fraudulent checks with instructions to cash the checks and wire the funds to “test” a company’s services. Victims are told they will be compensated with a portion of the merchandise or funds.
Work-at-home schemes attract otherwise innocent individuals, causing them to become part of criminal schemes without realizing they are engaging in illegal behavior.
Job scams often provide criminals the opportunity to commit identity theft when victims provide their personal information, sometimes even bank account information to their potential “employer.” The criminal/employer can then use the victim’s information to open credit cards, post on-line auctions, register Web sites, etc., in the victim’s name to commit additional crimes.
Also today, the Consumer Affairs website posted an article about rebate-processing scams.
While the job offer may claim that people can earn up to a thousand dollars a day without leaving the comfort of their home, BBB has received hundreds of complaints from victims nationwide who never earned a dime and were, in fact, ripped off for hundreds of dollars in upfront fees.
In these tough economic times, it becomes even easier for scammers to take advantage of people who may be in a desperate financial situation.
â€œWith the nationâ€™s unemployment rate hitting double digits in some states, more families are desperately searching for ways to bring in income and these rebate processing scams lure them in with promises of big money for little work or no experience,â€ said Steve Cox, BBB spokesperson. â€œNo one ever wants to lose money, but in these hard times, job hunters are getting scammed when they can least afford it.â€
This once again illustrates the need to remember good old common sense when evaluating work at home offers:
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Always check out a company before making any decisions.
- Beware of outrageous income claims.
If you have been a victim of Internet crime, please file a complaint at www.IC3.gov.