Consumer Alert: Watching for ‘work from home’ scams

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Con artists are taking advantage of the nation’s high unemployment rate by cashing in on “work from home job” scams. However, there are some legitimate options, but it’s important to be skeptical as you consider what look like opportunities.

Making thousands of dollars a week working at home simply by mailing postcards sounds like a good deal.

“Consumers were told they would earn $1 for each postcard they processed,” said Daniel Forrester, U.S. Postal inspector. “All they had to do was place a pre-addressed label, which promoted a mortgage assistance project, and send it back to the company.”

How to start: Fill out a form and pay an upfront fee.  Then, applicants receive a starter package.

“Usually they are enticed in the package by what they are applying for—a promised wage—and a certain enrollment fee they are responsible for,” said Forrester.

Postal inspectors got involved after hundreds of complaints from employees.

“They were never paid the wage promised,” said Forrester. “For the first time, they were told someone would have to actually buy the mortgage product to be paid.”

Employees were out the upfront fee with no prospect of future money.

“Consumers should be aware of any work at home scheme that asks you to pay a fee upfront,” said Forrester.

Inspectors advice: use common sense.

“A company claiming to pay you thousands of dollars for a job that could cost pennies; just apply logic,” said Forrester.