Is That Work-From-Home Gig Legit? Check It Out First!
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed working from home into the spotlight. Thanks to technology, instead of a long, costly commute to the workplace, more Americans are simply walking to a computer workstation in their own home and logging on to earn that paycheck. However, just as how we work is evolving, so are scammers and the scams they use to take your hard-earned money.
Have you been offered a job where you can work from home or be your own boss? You might be the target of a work-from-home scam. Some scammers post work-from-home jobs on online career websites asking job seekers to receive packages and mail them to another address, sometimes even to another country. These packages often contain merchandise bought with stolen credit cards or counterfeit money orders.
Other scammers might have you stuff envelopes, which could make you a part of their latest scam. Remember: modern mailing techniques and equipment have virtually eliminated the need for homeworkers to perform legitimate envelope stuffing, addressing, and mailing services. Plus, your paycheck from one of these scams could be counterfeit, too.
The best defense against work-from home or other scams is education. Be aware of these common red-flags which could indicate a scam:
• High-paying positions that don’t require special training. Big bucks? Little work? Don’t believe it!
• On-the-spot job offers. While a job offer on the spot without even an interview sounds too good to be true, think about it…would you hire someone without interviewing them?
What you can do to protect yourself from failing victim to a scam when seeking work-from-home opportunities:
• Get any Job Offer in Writing. If the person/company offering you a job is legitimate, they should be able to provide you with all the details in writing.
• Check out Who is Offering the Job. Check out any individual or company offering to help you find a job with the Better Business Bureau, your state’s attorney general’s office and your state’s consumer affairs office before you agree to let them help you.
• Verify any Unexpected Compensation. Postal Money Orders can be verified using the Money Order Verification System at 1-866-459-7822 to determine if a money order is valid (48 hours to 90 days after the issue date). Business or cashier’s checks may be validated by contacting the issuing bank.
• Report it as soon as possible. The sooner you contact the authorities, the sooner they may be able to help you – and others. Report scams immediately to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service by calling 877-875-2455 or at www.uspis.gov/report.