Long before the internet came along, people have been trying to swindle, scam and deceive unsuspecting individuals into parting with their hard-earned money. While a pickpocket can reach in and steal the contents of your wallet, a tech-savvy scammer can reach into your bank account and really cause some damage!
The Coronavirus has left millions of workers without jobs, many searching for remote opportunities to provide a source of income without having to leave their homes. Unfortunately, this also means that scammers are on the prowl for vulnerable individuals looking for work.
Let’s take a look at the most common scams happening now, how to distinguish a scam from a legitimate opportunity and what to do if you encounter one.
To confirm which jobs are legitimate, the Federal Trade Commission suggests asking the following questions of the employer to decide whether or not to proceed:
Where is your business located, and how long have you been in operation?
How will I be paid, and when will I receive my paycheck?
Do I need to spend my own money on supplies or postage?
Search the company name and the word “scam” to see what comes up. Chances are if others have been scammed, they will have documented it. Also, search on Glassdoor.com and read company reviews.
Confirm if the company has a legitimate website as well as a physical address. Most businesses will have both.
When in doubt, continue your search, and trust your instincts. If something feels off, don’t take the chance. A scam could set back more than you bargained for, and times are hard enough.
These work from home scams promise to offer terrific pay, anywhere from $550 to $3,000 a week. Some will even claim to pay you money per envelope, giving you false hope of enormous money-making potential. They will charge you to sign up for the opportunity and leave you without a paycheck.
The scammer will advertise a work from home job, typically a personal assistant or a package handler position. Sometimes they will pose as a busy executive who is constantly receiving and sending packages. Other times they will pretend to be a merchandise reseller who wants to outsource labor. Packages come to your house and you are asked to take the items out of their original boxes, repackage them and send them on to other addresses. Ultimately, what you’re doing is laundering stolen goods for the scammer.
You may see a job post offering “quick cash” typically in the telemarketing, sales or customer service field. The employer will offer to send you a check to buy supplies to do the job, but when you try to deposit the check, though it MAY clear, the bank will discover the check was fraudulent. Your bank account will be negative, and you are now responsible for any overdraft and associated fees. Never use money from a check to wire funds, send gift cards or money orders to strangers!
The “employer” will offer to send you a hefty check and once you receive it, you’ll be asked to deposit the money into your personal bank account or evaluate a money transfer service (such as Western Union or MoneyGram). You will be told that this “money” should be used to shop. They will ask you to wire some of this money back, but the reality is that the “check” was counterfeit and you are now responsible for the negative balance. To check if a mystery shopping offer is legitimate, visit this site to be sure.
Federal and state governments are working on relief packages to assist workers during this tough time. it’s critical to be aware of which programs are legitimate and which are scams. Avoid giving out personal information over the phone or clicking any links in emails as well as texts that look suspicious. For real information pertaining to your economic impact payment visit.
Most scams try to hook you with a vague offer or suggestion that they have a job for you. This is not how most recruiters or hiring managers operate. A legitimate hiring manager or recruiter will usually withhold some details but will want to give you enough information in their initial listing so you can decide whether or not you’re interested and qualified.
Scammers will use their personal email accounts and phone numbers instead of company based contact info. Even if someone contacts you about a listing for a well-known company, if they are not using that company’s email domain, you can be sure that they are not a legitimate contact.
Most company emails are formatted like this: email@example.com. Anything that deviates from that formula should instantly raise alarm bells for you. Even if the scammer is using a Gmail, Yahoo, or other account from recognizable email providers, this does not mean it is legitimate.
Scammers may offer you a job without hearing much about your skills or even seeing your resume. If someone contacts you and is eager to provide you with a job without discussing your qualifications, you should consider that to be a major red flag.
The old saying holds up. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Watch out for jobs that seem unrealistic or offer you money upfront or in any capacity before you’ve had an interview or begun the job.
Stay safe out there!
For real work from home opportunities and support make sure to join in on the discussion here.