RIP-OFF ALERT: Work at home scams are always in season, with scammers looking to empty your wallet at a time when it’s already light because of unemployment or reduced hours at work. The recent types of complaints I’ve become aware of fall into 2 broad categories:
- Phony job listings on legit job-hunting websites. One fraudulent group was listing fake jobs on CareerBuilder, which is an otherwise respectable site. The group was charging a big fee for a background check before consideration of any applicants. Federal, state and local authorities received more than 17,000 complaints filed by people who were ripped off by this particular group. And that’s just the number of people who found their way to complain. Who knows how many others were taken?
- Pitches to be your own boss. I’m hearing from a lot of callers who go to help wanted sites, find an opportunity that looks good and then contact the supposed employer. It turns out to be a pitch for owning your own business, with promises of huge money. But the only ones making money are the people pushing startup kits and related costs.
Whenever you’re looking for work, you’ve got to be wary and careful about giving money when the whole goal is to get somebody to pay you for an honest day’s work!
Here’s my simple rule: Anytime you apply for a job and the next step involves you paying money, that’s when you should be skeptical.
Some of the companies on my work at home guide do charge small fees for verification and background check, but they’re minor in comparison to what the phony baloneys want from you.
Finally, be cautious of listings you see out there where you are asked to divulge your Social Security number and birthday without having ever had a formal interview or met the employer face-to-face. They’ll take that info and steal your identity.