Scammers post fake job ads and take money from unsuspecting applicants looking to make a quick buck, the Federal Trade Commission has been told Attention recently.
While these types of bogus opportunities aren’t new, bad actors have become more creative and deceptive over time. They even benefit from the changing nature of work. As more Americans feel comfortable working from their living roomsscammers offer more opportunities to make a quick buck from home.
“With companies now asking individuals to return to work, it’s a different angle that scammers are using to get noticed.so it’s another way to hook someone, by advertising a work-from-home job,” said John Dooney, adviser to the Society for Human Resource Management. “It’s definitely an incentive.
Fake job and money-making opportunities run the gamut from offers to sell luxury goods from home to scams to fake checks to government careers.
“If you’re in the job market or looking for a business opportunity, scammers are looking for you,” the FTC warned in a recent statement. “They want your money and your personal information.”
Door-to-door sales promises
A community, butclaims to allow people to sell luxury goods from home and make a quick buck.
In a sweeping revenue scam campaign in 2020, the FTC determined that consumers lost more than $610 million in four years.
The FTC has identified a company called Moda Latina which it accused of targeting Spanish-speaking consumers with false promises of making “big profits” from their homes by reselling products like branded perfumes.
“It turned out to be a lie. People who indulged in it couldn’t make any money at all. If people received goods, they weren’t real luxuries and if they were trying to make money reselling them, they couldn’t,” an FTC spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch.
Get paid to shop? Not so fast.
Some scammers advertise jobs for “mystery shoppers” – secret shoppers hired to patronize a business, such as a restaurant or retail store. For these potential jobs, shoppers are asked to spend their own money and are told that they will be reimbursed for anything they buy and will receive additional money for their time and labor.
Although legitimate companies sometimes hire workers to provide feedback on the goods or services they sell, these companies never require workers to pay an upfront fee. Being asked to pay anything is a clue that a job offer is a scam, according to the FTC.
“Don’t pay to work – that’s a huge red flag,” said Kati Daffan, deputy director of marketing practices at the FTC. “If someone somehow charges you to work for them, even if they say the money is for certification or training or securing you a job, don’t do it. .”
Fake job postings are sometimes found on job boards like Indeed.com. Indeed also warns job seekers not to provide any form of payment to a potential employer they find on the site.
“Not only is charging a fee a violation of Indeed’s rules for businesses, it is often a type of scam,” the company said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch. Also, never pay for training.
Fake check scams
Another common trick is what the FTC calls a “fake check scam,” in which a scammer will tell a respondent that they have been hired and that their first task is to receive a check and use it to purchase a gift card or send money somewhere.
Initially the funds will look legitimate and show up in your account, but eventually the banks will determine the check was fraudulent and you will be caught off guard.
“Banks are required to reflect a deposit within a certain time frame in your account, but it takes longer for them to figure out it’s a fake check,” the FTC’s Daffan said.
How to avoid being a victim
- Do a quick search. Whenever you come across an attractive opportunity, do a simple online search for the company or person advertising the job and include the words “scam”, “review” or “complaint”. If the entity is not legitimate, other victims may have already complained about it publicly.
- Never pay to work. No legitimate employer will require a deposit, or any type of payment or purchase to complete work. They pay you, not the other way around. Also, never transfer money on a mystery shopping mission.
- Don’t be forced to accept an offer. Beware of people who push you to immediately accept a job offer. Take the time to review the job posting, research the company or person behind it, and consult with trusted friends and family members first.
- Watch out for spelling mistakes. Look for typos and grammatical errors in job postings – these can indicate that a job posting is a made-up scam.
- Finally, report scams to the FTC when you see them on reportfraud.ftc.gov.