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Released: May 27, 2011
Help Desk FAQ
Education and Employment
Are work-at-home offers legitimate?
Usually not. When money is tight, an ad promising good income for doing simple tasks at home can be enticing. Unfortunately, work-at-home schemes will actually cost you money.
In many cases, these “employers” ask you to pay in advance for useless supplies or “training materials.” Don’t believe anyone who promises you good money for working at home and then asks you for an upfront payment to get started.
Another enticing offer is for “mystery shoppers”—people who get paid to evaluate businesses. In one mystery shopping scam, the crook sends you a bogus check telling you to use some of to complete your mystery shopper assignment (making purchases and sending the remainder back, or sending money via a particular transfer service, for example). What ultimately happens is the check bounces and you are held responsible for the real dollars you spent or transferred to the scammer. Mystery shopping is legitimate, though it’s generally not high paying, and it doesn’t require shoppers to spend or send large amounts of money.
Protect yourself from work-at-home scams by:
- not responding to any “opportunity” that sounds too good to be true.
- never sending money to anyone you don’t know.
- never using funds from a deposited check until it has cleared or it is from a trusted source.
- not submitting a job application that asks for personal information, such as your Social Security number, unless you are confident that the employer is legitimate. (Check out the company with the local Better Business Bureau at http://www.bbb.org.)
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