It goes without saying that the Internet is full of schemes, frauds and all forms of rip-offs designed to steal money from the unsuspecting. Genuine online job opportunities are relatively rare and are usually confined to legitimate outsourcing companies. When an economy experiences a downturn, jobs will be lost. This can lead to desperation on the part of job seekers and an increase in attempts to prey upon those individuals. Even when people are aware of the proliferation of work-at-home scams, they still fall victim to these bogus offers. How can this be possible?
The first thing to consider is that a scam artist can be extremely good at their craft. This means understanding how human emotions work. In this manner, they will point out how others are providing the things that their spouses and children need and want. This is a ploy to make the victim feel ashamed that they are unable to do the same thing. Another psychological trick is to frighten an individual with threats of tougher times to come. They may also play upon a desire to have the better things in life while escaping the drudgery of a low-paying, thankless job. The victim is then told that all of these things can be fixed with the “opportunity” that is being offered by the scam artist.
The next step is to present the “opportunity” in such a manner that it seems very simple to accomplish the level of success promised. There are photos of a nice house or a nice car and these are the things that are promised by following along with the offered program. However, the reality of the situation is that there are really only two ways that success came to these sellers of false dreams. One, they made their money by SELLING the program – not USING it. Or, worse still, they use this pitch as a means to obtain personal information for purposes of identity theft.
Of course, all of these scams will offer that same old 100% Satisfaction Guarantee (or your money back). This, of course, is designed to make the victims feel safer about responding to this pitch. I’m sure you won’t be surprised that the “guarantee” is useless, as well.
There are a number of work-from-home scams that can lead to identity theft. One of the more common schemes involves a position as a payments processor or rebate processor. This offer may come in the form of an unsolicited email or it may appear on a website. Once contacted, the scammers will want what appears to be a legitimate request for the victim’s bank account information. This is to provide the setup of a new account utilizing info provided by the new employer.
Money is then deposited in the account and the “employee” is instructed to then wire funds to a different account. That account is usually an international one. A percentage is provided to the employee in the form of a commission. However, instead of processing rebates, the employee is actually wiring stolen money in a money laundering activity, through his or her own bank account. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission worked with law enforcement officials, in February 2010, to crack down on this type scheme involving work-from-home scams.
Another type of work-from-home scam starts off in much the same way. The prospective employer will request personal information that can include date of birth and Social Security number. Be aware that you should never divulge this information unless you know who you are dealing with. This can be checked through the State Attorney General, Federal Trade Commission and various consumer protection agencies.
After being hired, the victims are then sent packages to be repackaged and then mailed internationally. The packages, however, will contain items that were bought with stolen credit information. The employees will then be sent a 3rd party cashier’s check for payment. But the check will be for an amount that is way too much. The company will contact the employee and request that they cash the check and immediately send the over-paid amount to a specified bank account. Soon, the victim’s bank will inform then that the cashier’s check was fraudulent and that the victim is now responsible for the total amount.
The end total of this experience is devastating on several levels. Here we have a person who was seeking a work-from-home job. After becoming involved with a criminal setup, they have now participated in the crime of transferring stolen goods internationally. In addition, they have not received any pay while actually being conned out of their own money. Finally, the identity theft criminals now have their personal data for later use.
The best way to avoid these scams is to understand how they work. Be aware that a downturn in the economy will bring the work-from-home scams to the foreground. Never sign up for anything unless you first check the legitimacy of the company that you are contemplating working for.