Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How to Avoid Work-from-Home Scams

Working part-time from the home offers an excellent way to earn some extra cash, and thanks to the Internet, there’s been a boom in legitimate telecommuting and virtual jobs. Unfortunately, that boom has come at a cost; scammers were quick to take advantage of people looking for part-time work.
How bad is it? The Federal Trade Commission estimates only 1 in 55 work-from-home opportunities are legitimate. The rest are trying to con you out of your money, trick you into breaking the law, or both. Once again, scammers indicate the need for some type of virtual rat control.

Signs of a Scam
While individual work-at-home scams take many forms, they tend to have some things in common. Many online swindles are operated from third-world countries where English is not the spoken language. As a result, many “job opportunities” contain multiple spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and oddly-worded phrases.
The promise of unrealistic amounts of money for little work is common. It’s not unusual for a con to offer thousands of dollars for a mindless activity such as envelope stuffing.
Many scams also require a “registration fee” to sign up for opportunities. Be very suspicious of any job offer asking you to spend cash before you can start earning money. Chances are the crook will disappear with your fee . . . and your credit card number.

Medical Billing Scams
A medical billing scam claims doctors need help processing thousands of insurance claims. For a registration fee (told you so) you supposedly get access to these jobs. What you actually get are some useless training materials and a list of local doctors, none of whom want billing services.

Mystery Shopping
A professional-sounding company offers mystery shopper positions, where you secretly rate the quality of service and prices in major retail stores. Of course, there’s the small matter of a registration fee to access the assignment database, which offers no real opportunities.

Criminal Acts and Online Scams
You’re out of pocket if you fall for scams similar to those described above, but things could be worse. Some scams trick employees into breaking the law. For instance, some scammers claim Western retailers won’t ship to certain countries. To get around this problem they ask you to take receipt of packages they buy from online stores, and then resend the packages to their clients. You get paid per package.
Sounds reasonable, except the goods are purchased with stolen credit cards. By sending stolen goods through the mail, you’re guilty of mail fraud. Your employer, meanwhile, disappears when the authorities show up on your doorstep.

Real Work-at-Home Opportunities
You can find real work opportunities online, but you have to examine each offer very carefully. Run Internet searches on the company and check their Better Business Bureau ratings. Most importantly, remember if an opportunity looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Carly is a freelance writer who loves animals, spending time outdoors, and traveling. She loves how blogging allows her to share her writing with a large audience on the internet.

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