Beware of “jobs” or “business opportunities” that seem to offer high pay for work you can do at home. Often these programs are bogus.
Common scams involve package forwarding, Internet searches or advertising, envelope stuffing, medical billing, discount or coupon programs, rebate processing, distributorships, sales, or the purchase of special equipment or software to start businesses.
Many people lose large sums of money through work at home scams. Some versions of these scams – like package forwarding – might also involve the victim in crimes such as identity theft and handling of stolen merchandise.
Here are 10 tip-offs that the “opportunity” could be a scam:
Big bucks for simple tasks. Watch out if they promise to pay you a lot of money for jobs that don’t seem to require much effort or skill. Sound too good to be true? It might be a scam.
Job offers out of nowhere from strangers. If they offer you a job without getting an application from you first, meeting you, or doing an interview, it’s probably a scam. Don’t hand your personal employment information to such folk (especially your Social Security number!). That could lead to identity theft.
Requests for up-front payments. If someone wants you to make an advance payment to “get in” on the ground floor of a new business opportunity – especially if it’s a big investment, or you don’t have much information about the deal – this is a big red flag. Don’t do it. “Advance fee scams” are very common and they come in many varieties.
They ask you to wire the money. If you wire a payment to somebody, it’s gone forever. Wire transfers of money are a convenient and perfectly legitimate service. But scam artists often ask you to wire payments that they are requesting (especially to destinations in other countries!) because they know you won’t be able to get your money back.
High pressure to do it now. Don’t be in a hurry to accept an unsolicited offer of work, or to make a business investment, particularly if the other party is asking you to spend your money on the deal.
Take your time. If somebody tries to convince you that this is a “limited time” offer and you have to act now, just tell them to forget it. Ignore anybody who pushes you to agree. High pressure is a big sign that something’s wrong.