Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

THE HELP DESK The Help Desk: Top Tips

Work-at-home job scams

If the offer to work at home looks too good to be true, it just may be. And if you're asked for money upfront, be wary.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Gerri Willis, CNN

home_rich_cover.03.jpg
For more information on managing your largest investment, check out Gerri Willis' 'Home Rich,' now in bookstores.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- With the nation's unemployment rate at 7.6% and expectations for it to go even higher in this year, work-at-home Web sites which promise big money for little or no experience are extremely tempting in the best of times, but now more than ever, people are falling victims to work-at-home scams.

1. Get the lowdown

Work-at-home scams promise that you can make thousands of dollars right in your own home with little effort. These scams seem to offer you employment stuffing envelopes or working remotely for a medical billing center. In both cases you pay money upfront in exchange for the opportunity to work from home.

What really happens is that the scam artists take your money - and your ID -and leave you flat.

New work-at-home scams are on the rise according to the FBI, including "transfer funds or "reship product" job offers. In these schemes, you're being used as a tool to get cash from legitimate banks without your knowledge, or to send stolen goods to criminals.

Mystery Shopping scams are also becoming more prevalent. In this case, victims sign up to be a mystery shopper, and they receive fake checks and are told to cash the check and wire the funds to the company in order to get a portion of the money. But in reality, you're just cashing bad checks.

2. Beware of rebate processing

The Better Business Bureau is warning about a rebate processing scam. In this scam, victims paid hundreds of dollars in upfront fees so they could get a job processing rebates from well-known companies.

Instead of getting a starter kit on processing rebates, people who signed up, only received instructions on how to make money by sending e-mails and posting blogs on the Internet. Not only did people complain about losing out on the hundreds of dollars in upfront fees, but in addition, their credit cards were charged money each month.

3. Know the drill

First, know what kind of scams are circulating.

Go to the FBI Web site at FBI.gov and sign up for e-mail alerts by clicking on one of the red envelopes. You can also go to a Web site funded by the FBI at lookstoogoodtobetrue.com.

Never give away your personal information or send any money to a work from a home job site unless you've vetted the company thoroughly. That means minimally doing a search at the Better Business Bureau at BBB.org and googling the company name along with the word scam to see what comes up. To top of page

Gerri's Mailbox: Got questions about your money? We want to hear them! Send an e-mail,we'll answer questions on CNN, Headline News and CNNMoney.com.
Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
More Galleries
The best gadget gifts for 2017 A holiday gift guide for anyone who wants to spread some techie joy. More
14 awesome toys for the holiday wish list From a DIY Star Wars Droid to a new Hatchimals toy and interactive Fingerlings, these products are worthy of a coveted spot on holiday wish lists. More
11 tasty treats to bring back from a business trip Nothing is as crowd-pleasing or pragmatic as edible souvenirs. We've found foodie gifts that are both delicious and distinguished in 11 popular business destinations. More