For those who are recently laid off or retired, working at home might seem like the answer to your financial problems. However, the Federal Trade Commission reported in 2007 that about 2.5 million Americans fall for work-at-home scams every year. Here are some of the most common types of scams:
- Mentoring programs – You’re offered the chance to purchase a
start up kit for running your own business which will give you access
to the guidance of a mentor; however, the kit you receive for a few
dollars will tell you that you have to spend a lot more money to
receive personal mentoring over the phone. These programs usually offer you a dozen or so types of business to choose from, and are often targeted to seniors.
- Rebate processing – You answer an ad for a job processing
rebate forms for recognized companies; instead, you are offered a job
placing advertisements and selling products on the internet. You have
to pay an up-front fee to do this, and the promise that you’ll get your
money back if not satisfied is never fulfilled.
- Bait and switch – You’re invited to pay up-front for supplies, client leads or instructions and either don’t receive what’s promised OR only receive a portion of it and have to keep making payments to get the rest. The money you pay always exceeds the value of what you receive. Leads are often just names pulled from the phone book. Classic examples: stuffing envelopes, assembling crafts, entering data into the computer.
- Check forwarding – You receive a check for something you promise to do…with a request to wire back a portion of it to the sender. The check is counterfeit, and you’re left holding the bag (and possibly facing fraud charges). Classic examples: online job sites listing opportunities with US agents for phony overseas companies, requests to reship merchandise (usually purchased with stolen credit cards) overseas.