A Round-Up Of Work From Home Scams

Every day, I receive emails informing me that I can make up to a $1,000 a day, working from home. I smirk knowingly and click Thunderbird’s ‘Spam’ button. No duh, I can. I’m a professional blogger. We’re millionaires, largely paid to sit in our kitchen table in our underpants all day, drinking beer and evacuating our flatulent thoughts upon the world at large.

Still, a lot of people fall for these ‘work from home’ email scams, and sadly, most of those people aren’t professional bloggers, but the poor, the sick and the elderly, who tend to fall for these scams because they desperately need the money and, for whatever reason, can’t work.

An excellent article over at CNN rounds up most of the big work from home scams and explains how they work. Everything from Nigerian Check Cashing to Envelope Stuffing to Medical Billing is covered. There’s also some good, common sense steps to avoid falling for such a scam: don’t ever give your financial information to random people who email you is the big one, and real job opportunities do not require you to wire money to your prospective employer before he gives you the thumbs up.

Too good to be true? [CNN]

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  1. ohnothimagain says:

    “2.Reshipping Reshipping scams often begin with an employment offer, usually via e-mail. As with the Nigerian scam, these “employers” offer bogus contracts and other documentation to make them appear legitimate. Once the victim’s trust has been obtained, packages are shipped to the victim’s residence with instructions to reship the packages to another address. Once the package has been reshipped, the victim is “guilty” of receiving and shipping stolen property. This often leads to a visit from police, as the return address or shipping receipts lead back to the victim.”

    This makes no sense at all. If the police can trace it back to you, they can then trace it back to them. What “stolen property” is fenced like this? any examples?

  2. mactbone says:

    It would help if job search sites would block this crap too. Well, it may just be insurance companies, but that’s largely a scam too. American Life Insurance is not opening 45 offices in Indianapolis – they want 45 schmoes to cold call people.

  3. jgkelley says:

    The way they describe it is misleading because it actually involves receiving packages from a legitimate source:

    By now, online merchants have become wary of shipping merchandise to addresses in West Africa because so many customers in the region use stolen credit card information to make their purchases. But criminals are always on the alert for ways to circumvent fraud-prevention measures. Many in Nigeria have come up with ingenious schemes to dupe Americans into unwittingly cooperating with their rip-offs. Those schemes are known as “reshipping”.

    So the idea is to buy something with fake/stolen credit card, and bypass the merchant’s fears by sending it to a Westerner who gets paid (or not, as is more likely) to ship it to the real purchaser.
    And ain’t nobody gonna get “traced back” in Nigeria. The authorities chalk it up to a lost cause…
    But it’s worth noting that in many of these Nigerian scam situations, police call the victim a victim and leave it at that. In my short stint at a check cashing company I’ve seen many situations where the victim actually profits–as in wire scams, the ‘victim’ does NOT wire back the money from the fake check, keeps it, claims they wired it back, and the authorities call them a victim. In these instances the check casher has to eat the loss.

  4. yalej says:

    I love infoscamercials, my favorite from yester year was the one with Don Lapre and his “making money from my one bedroom apartment by placing tiny classified ads all over the country”. Ahhh, good times.

    There’s a current scam that’s being advertised on TV right now, about making thousands of dollars from home (doing what, drilling for oil?). It’s never clear what you’re going to be doing, and when you visit the website on the commercial (typically http://www.27mycareer.com, the number varies) you have to pay some amount of money to get a “report” of some kind.

    I think the CNN article is a little too kind in the beginning. The people who fall for these scams are 1) greedy, 2) stupid.

  5. Jupiter Jones says:

    Rob Cockerham from cockeyed.com has been focusing on these work at home jerks for years. Check out his site – he’s got lots of articles exposing them. This is one of his most popular: http://www.cockeyed.com/workfromhome/workfromhome.html

  6. trixare4kids says:

    I find it amusing that the Cockeyed site comes up as “Access Denied: Adult Material and/or Pornography”
    at work.

  7. trixare4kids says:

    Confession time! Before I got on, I just want to say in my own defense that I was a freshman & sophomore in high school at the time and um.. yeah, I honestly thought it was SO COOL and didn’t think of it as a scam.. more like.. a chain letter. Ahem.

    So. #3, the envelope scams? Me and a friend (rest in peace, M.) totally did that in high school. We got a business license and a PO Box. We placed ads in papers around the country. Those who responded got a flyer back in the mail. We then found that about 10-20% of those people actually paid the $40.00 or whatever it was we charged. What did they get in return? 7 pieces of xeroxed paper explaining how to do exactly what we just did.

    This was back in the early 80′s and we made heaps of money (for 2 high school kids) which we spent on hookers and blow. Well, kidding about the blow — we bought Duran Duran albums and fedora hats along with the hookers.

    I throw myself at your mercy.

  8. trixare4kids says:

    I forgot to add: The ads in the papers said, “Make $1000′s stuffing envelopes!” or some such.

  9. VitriolAndBombast says:

    These scams are not limited to your email in-box. Drive around just about any shopping area, mall, or other frequently travelled thoroughfare and you will see signs tacked up on telephone polls, attached to parking signs, or planted in fields next to the road. They promise the same things as found in these emails. My favorite is one near the train station I commute from. It promises that you can “make CEO money working from home.” Which leaves me to wonder, if you can make that kind of money working from home, how come that can’t afford better signs?

    These things are meant to prey on the weak, the lazy, and the desperate. Anyone with a modicum of common sense and more than a few dollars in the bank isn’t going to be fooled.

  10. Metschick says:

    American Life Insurance is not opening 45 offices in Indianapolis – they want 45 schmoes to cold call people.

    Heh. I got a job interview through monster.com for ALI, and went to it. What tipped me off that they were less than kosher? The fact that about 30 people were being interviewed at the same time. I was asked to a second round of interviews, and blew them off.

  11. Trai_Dep says:

    Yeah, I notice Careerbuilder and Monster are infested w/ 20- or 30-odd job “opportunities”. Miscategorized. All from the same sweatshop – err – fine business establishment. All boasting of salaries “as high as $xxx,xxx.00!”

    I count companies spamming the job boards w/ purposely miscategorized cold-call sales positions as a scam, by the way.

    I realize that the Do Not Call list devestated the Swamp Land Sales offices nationwide. I comprehend that it’s hard to compete against those Nigerian scammers, comparitive wages being what they are. I acknowledge that these bent-for-Hell-fullspeed-ahead executives would shrivel up and die if they even once did a legitimate thing. I get it.

    But Monster, Careerbuilder and the like should have standards. They need to realize that employers (and the fees they generate) aren’t their sole audience. These sites shouldn’t enable scammers. These sites should be accountable for being accessories.

    If they were even half as conscientious in accepting listings as they should be, they’d create more good will (and greater wealth) then the pennies they get hosting job scammers.

  12. Trai_Dep says:

    Met -

    In my more innocent days, I showed up for two of these.

    One was a multilevel marketing scam, teaching schmos to target churches and non-profits (nice!!) since they were easy pickings.

    The other required employees and interviewees to pass through a security station (metal detectors, wands, empty pockets AND show ID) before they could enter the work site/cube farm.

    I laughed out loud at the spectacle and asked the tender, “Jesus – your employees hate you that MUCH?!” A girl with us laughed and added, “So your executives need armed escorts when they leave?”

    We all had a good chuckle and four of us left. The tender just stared at us with a forced smile.

  13. MonkeyMonk says:

    We all know that most of these work-at-home offers are scams but is there an official list out there of legitimate work-at-home professions (other than blogging) for those of us who must or choose to work out of our houses?

    I’m a stay-at-home dad and although I make good money as a freelance technical illustrator I’m always looking for other options with flexiblely scheduled chunks of time.