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Note: This site contains advertisements as well as screened job leads. Please visit our FAQ page for more.


Note: This site contains advertisements as well as screened job leads. Please visit our FAQ page for more.

SCAMS, RIPOFFS & RED FLAGS 
A big part of rat race stress comes from people trying to take your money, or to put you or yours in danger. 
 
Here are some good ways to protect yourself and those you love.
 
Scams and other nasty stuff change almost daily, so check back often for updates!


How to Spot Work-at-Home Scams (Some Tips from Chris & Mike)
  • "Work at Home" appears in the ad header: "Work from home" is not a job title. If it appears in the ad header there's a good chance it's a come on - scammers can rarely resist including it in the header – it’s the bait of their “hook” as they fish for desperate people to reel in.
  • Claims that no experience is necessary and no resume is requested: In the “real world” all jobs require you do something so it stands to reason that a legitimate ad will tell you what it is you need to be able to do. In the world of scams, a person’s gullibility is far more important than their experience or skills.
  • You’re required to pay a fee for additional information: Legitimate jobs do not charge you for an inquiry about the position.
  • Unbelievable pay!: "Make $5,000 a week working part time!" Exaggerated claims of income are a sure sign of a scam!
  • The ad arrives as spam in your email: As if by a miracle, an ad for home-based work just landed in your email inbox. How could this man from Romania have known you were looking for home-based work? Miracles do happen, but not via SPAM. If you receive unsolicited job offers in your email it’s probably the result of a scammer having “harvested” your email address from another location frequented by people who are seeking work. Move it to your trash file without using the “remove me from this list” link you’re likely to find at the bottom of the page. These links are often used to confirm that your email address is active and using them can result in even more SPAM.
  • No Job Description: What exactly is the ad for? Most scams will give little or no description of the type of work you are supposed to be performing – not even an allusion to such. Real job listings will always tell you what they expect you to do for them.
  • Palm Trees, Mansions, Beaches & Bikinis:  If the ad you’re looking at features palm trees, a mansion, and a Ferrari, it’s probably a scam. Successful scammers often bag their prey by dangling enticing things in front of them – much like kidnappers do. “If you get into my car I’ll give you this candy bar.”

The "Classic" Scams Still Reeling in Unsuspecting Job Seekers

Stuffing Envelopes
:
The bottom line is this – there are machines that stuff envelopes and no legitimate company is going to pay a human being to do something a machine can do in a fraction of the time.

What usually happens with the stuffing scam is, a person reads the ad, sends some $ to get started, and receives in return, a letter instructing them to place the same ad they replied to so they can scam others as they have been scammed.

Typing and Data Entry:
While there is legitimate data entry work out there, you'll have to wade through cyber-acres of scams to find it.

Scam ads typically claim you'll earn a certain amount for every "application" you process.

As with the envelope stuffing scam, you pay a fee and are instructed to place the same ad you responded to and collect checks from those you scam. The "applications" you process come with a check and - if you decide to join the ranks of scammers - you keep the check. Hence, a payment for "processing" the application.

Another common "data entry" scam involves having the applicant pay a fee for software they will "need" to complete data entry jobs. Once you purchase the software, it becomes clear that you will be fully responsible for finding the data entry jobs yourself - work will not come from the company.

Craft Assembly:
"Send money for a start-up kit with all the materials you'll need, and earn money for every item you complete to our satisfaction."

Sounds great for those who are crafty but, with very few exceptions, these arrangements result in the individual receiving the kit, doing the work, and having it rejected time after time. Nothing they do to improve the "quality" of their work will make a difference because the scammer does not want the finished product back, they want the money for the kits... period.

(See our Crafting & Handiwork page for more.)


Postal Forwarding:
Postal forwarding has become a huge problem - we've met several people who have not only lost their savings, but have also had brushes with the law after falling for this type of scam. In some cases, the scam involves the transport of stolen goods, in other cases, it has to do with cashing checks and forwarding money in exchange for a commission.

As an example of the first type of scam, we met a men who was looking for home-based work because he had a physical disability that made it difficult to manage a "traditional" job. He saw an ad for a job that required him to receive packages of electronics (MP3 players, video recorders, DVD players, etc.), repackage them, and ship them to a designated destination in Romania. In exchange, the "hiring company" would reimburse him for shipping expenses and pay him a fee for his services.

It sounded perfect to him and he figured that since there was no fee required up front, he thought it was a safe bet.

Once on board, he received packages in a rush! He repacked them according to the instructions he'd received and forwarded them to the address provided with an invoice for his expenses.

He received a check drawn on a non-US bank and deposited it in his account - proof that he was onto a good thing he thought.

Several weeks later, he learned from his bank that the checks were drawn on a non-existent account and had no value whatsoever. Further, when he reported the culprits to the authorities, he learned that he had unwittingly been instrumental in aiding thieves in their illegal transactions.

As it turned out, the "customer" had purchased the electronics with a stolen credit card and "laundered" them through this man. To add insult to injury, the instructions for shipping involved having him unwittingly lie to the US Customs Service by entering false information on their shipping forms.

Fortunately, this man had a good lawyer who was able to get him off the hook, but by then he had lost a large chunk of his savings and most of his dignity.

Check and Funds Processing:
In this scam, the individual agrees to process funds for someone who claims to live in a country where the government makes it nearly impossible for them to do so themselves. They agree to send you a check or checks, you deposit them into your bank account, and send them a personal check for 80% of the amount - keeping 20% as a commission.

The problem - once you've cashed the check and sent a personal check back, you're notified that the checks were forged, stolen, or counterfeit. Your bank will hold you personally responsible for any money they have lost as a result of the scam. This means that individual now owes the bank the amount that they have wired to Nigeria (or Senegal, or any number of places from which these scams originate) - usually thousands of dollars.

Some banks have been known to prosecute the US-based account holder for fraud, others have had their computers confiscated by federal agencies.

If You've Been Scammed... (Don't be too embarrassed to report it -- It happens to all of us!)
  • If you used a credit card, call the credit card company immediately and state what happened and ask for a chargeback. Be sure to state that you
    refuse to accept any ongoing charges from the vendor. (Many scammers hide ongoing charges in small print.)
  • Monitor future credit card statements closely for continuing charges. (Some people have to cancel their credit cards and obtain new cards to avoid this problem.)
  • If you used a check and it isn't too late, stop payment on the check.
  • For a debit card, if the money hasn't yet been withdrawn, call your bank and ask for assistance blocking the funds transfer.
Reporting a Scam to Federal Authorities:
 
Reporting a Scam to State & Local Authorities:
 
Additional Sites & Sources
Rip-OffReport.com 
Self-Description: "Victim of a consumer Rip-off? Want justice? Rip-off Report™ is a worldwide consumer reporting Website & Publication, by consumers, for consumers, to file & document complaints about companies or individuals who ripoff consumers.
 
Unlike the Better Business Bureau, badbusinessbureau.com / Rip-off Report™ does not hide reports of 'satisfied' complaints. ALL complaints remain public in order to create a working history on the company or individual in question; unedited."
 
Scam Busters 
Self-Description: "Welcome to the #1 website dedicated to helping you protect yourself from clever scams  -- online and offline! You'll find lots of great resources on how to avoid the most popular scams, viruses  and urban legends  making the rounds."
 
WebAssured.com 
Self-Description: "WebAssured is uniquely applying Internet technology to solve this dilemma. Our Seal of Assurance allows ALL trustworthy web sites to compete on a level playing field, regardless of whether they have a widely recognized brand name. The Seal at the same time protects on-line buyers, and enables trustworthy on-line sellers. We have established the Universal Standard of Ethics by which the global Internet community expects on-line businesses to operate, and we allow the community to directly monitor and enforce adherence to those standards through the application of what we call "pressure through publicity"."
 
Scam.com 
Click on their "Work From Home" category to see what others have to say about various home-based work opportunities.
 
Check out the various forums on work-at-home jobs, where scams and scammers are often "outed."
 
Another good site for scam discussions. 

OUR SCAM ALERT VIDEO BLOGS

Hidden text scam tip - 3/19/10

Facebook "password update" scam - 3/19/10


Scam Alerts from the FBI, FTC, IC3, BBB and Other Sources
 
Better Business Bureau (BBB) Resources
 
Getting the Word Out: Chris & Mike's Media Appearances on Scams & Related Issues (a Sampling)



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