Recently a friend called me about an employment ad on craigslist. She is retired and needs to supplement her income and fill some time with a part-time job. Not an unlikely scenario these days with the challenging economy and cost of living.
It’s also not unusual for some of these “employment opportunities” to be scams. My friend was calling about a work at home job where you send money to stuff envelopes for a company — and get paid. The reality is that it costs more money than you are being paid to accomplish the job. Here’s the real kicker, many times the mailings you are preparing are scams that are being mailed to potential victims!
Protect yourself and research the company with your BBB before engaging with the company. Any ethical company will provide information when requested. A company that will not answer basic questions or refuses to communicate any way other than email, may have something to hide.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) recently sent out information on another online employment scam. Here is what they sent out:
“The IC3 has recently received over 250 complaints reporting a new twist to the online employment scam. The scam involves individuals who responded to online ads or were contacted via e-mail as a result of their resume being posted on websites. The perpetrator posed as a research company and requested participants to complete a paid survey regarding services provided at wire transfer locations to improve the effectiveness of the company’s money-transfer services.”
Complainants were hired and then mailed a cashier’s check or money order. They were asked to cash a check/money order, keep a portion and wire the remaining amount via wire transfer. Victims are asked to send more information such as transfer number and amount wired, followed up by a questionnaire regarding the wire transfer. If not done, the victims receive threatening emails stating to respond in 24 hours or their information will be sent to FBI and they could face 25 years in jail.
Of course, after all this, the victims learn the checks are counterfeit and most victims now owe the bank more than $2,500.
If you need a job, make sure you are going to make money, not lose it. Paying an upfront fee is a huge red flag.
Do you have other tips?