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Telework Movement Hobbled by Scammers
By Christine Durst & Michael Haaren
Feb. 9, 2012
If a plague of bank robberies swept the nation – and lasted, say,
10 years – politicians would be sacked en masse. The media would
blaze with outrage, accusation and tales of tragedy. Law enforcement
would get a blank check for manpower, the latest forensic tools and
sophisticated expertise to cure the epidemic.
The sad truth is, the robbery side of things has been the state of the
online job world for more than 10 years, and little has been done. The
ratio of scams to legitimate home-based jobs is now 60 to 1, its
highest since we began tracking it in 2005. On sites like Craigslist
the ratio exceeds 100 to 1.
The scammers – more effective and numerous than bank robbers ever
were – steal at will across the Internet, their bogus job leads
swarming. Only a tiny fraction of con artists are caught, and fewer
still prosecuted. Almost no one goes to jail. Fines, when levied at
all, are frequently just a small share of the haul.
In short, while homes are foreclosed, unemployment persists and the
middle class continues to fray, Internet job crime is thriving.
THE HIGH HIDDEN COSTS OF JOB SCAMS
Job scams carry high hidden costs. Legitimate home-based jobs go
unfilled longer than they should, slowing employment, corporate growth
and the environmental benefits of reduced commuting. Job seekers who
could be earning and spending – not to mention enjoying working
from home – remain unemployed.
How does this happen? When most job seekers hear the phrase “work
at home,” they understandably think of scams. Yet hundreds of
legitimate companies recruit home-based workers. But the job seekers
are unaware of the jobs.
IBM, American Express, UnitedHealth Group and JPMorgan Chase are just a
few of the Fortune 500s who hire home-based workers. Smaller companies
like Alpine Access, Arise, Support.com and over 70 others employ tens of thousands of home-based customer service agents in the trend known as homeshoring.
We ourselves have posted over 16,000 legitimate home-based job leads
and freelance projects to our website, RatRaceRebellion.com. These
leads represent well over 100,000 openings. Some fill quickly, yet many
do not. The economic, psychological and environmental cost of this
artificial “lag time” is monumental. The entire telework
movement suffers unnecessarily at the hands of a relatively small band
NOT “BIG GOVERNMENT,” BUT CATCHING UP
As entrepreneurs, we’re not generally enamored of “big
government.” But we are enamored of reducing rampant theft and
seeing the Earps visit Tombstone now and then. As it stands, the white
hats are still en route, and the outlaws terrorize the citizens at
The solution is simple. The FBI, the FTC, state consumer protection
agencies and attorneys general need the budgets and the mandate to ramp
up and root out the scammers, many of whom are right here in the US.
Like other experts, we volunteer time each year to help the
“watchdogs” investigate and unmask the bad guys. But staff
training and new hires are needed in the ranks, and the talent
doesn’t come cheap.
Telework, not to mention innocent job seekers, has obstacles enough
already. Given our environmental problems alone, we mustn’t let
con artists build on the barricades, too. It’s past time to
reorder allocations and let the Earps do their job.
Christine Durst and Michael Haaren are leaders in the work-at-home
movement and advocates of de-rat-raced living. Their latest book
is Work at Home Now,
a guide to finding home-based jobs. They offer additional guidance on
finding home-based work at www.RatRaceRebellion.com. To read features
by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators
Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2012 BY STAFFCENTRIX, DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM