Watch for 'work at home' red flags | Business
From the Better Business Bureau of Central East Texas:
Better Business Bureau Serving Central East Texas warns employment seekers to be cautious when submitting your resume to an unknown request. BBB has received numerous calls related to bogus help wanted ads.
“When money is tight, work-at-home opportunities can sound like just the thing to make ends meet, however, before exposing your desire to work along with identifiable information, it’s important that you verify the legitimacy of the company”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “If your personal information gets in the wrong hands, a scam-artist can do considerable damage.”
Once the victim answers the ad with their resume, they receive an email requesting even more personal information. Once received, the “employer” then informs the job seeker that they are hired and provides them with very specific instructions. In one example the victim received an overnight package containing a check which they were instructed to cash. They were then instructed to wire 90 percent of the funds to a new location, evaluate the efficiency of the wire transfer staff, and keep the remaining ten percent as payment for their services. In the cases reported to BBB, all correspondence was conducted via email along with a freight service company. No correspondence was conducted via phone or in person. The victims later discovered that the check bounced, leaving their bank accounts depleted.
But before you submit your resume, BBB offers the following tips:
- Exercise extreme caution when considering job offers which involve the transmission of money, especially to foreign countries. In addition to potentially significant financial loss, acting on these offers also puts you in danger of unwittingly violating local, state and even federal laws. Only forward money via wire when you know and have had personal contact with the individual.
- Whether it is in the form of a job, loan, grant, sweepstakes or lottery, do not fall victim to advance-fee scams. All these scams work the same way – the crooks send the victim a check, which is counterfeit or invalid, and ask the victim to deposit the check and then forward a portion of it to some person or company. The victim does not realize that the check is not good until long after the victim has sent the payment to the crooks.
- Although the funds from a deposited check may be available for use within 1-5 business days of deposit, it can take several weeks for the bank to determine that the check is counterfeit or otherwise invalid. Instructions to draw money on checks shortly after they have been deposited may be the work of unscrupulous companies attempting to take advantage of this technicality.
- Promises of financial relief, suspicious job offers, or prize winnings for contests you did not enter are ploys to trick you into wiring considerable sums of cash to random individuals in the United States or Canada. Once the scam artists have received your money, you will never hear from them again!
- Always check with the BBB before doing business with any company. For 100 years, BBB has provided information for consumers so that they can make educated decisions about businesses, brands, and charities they can trust.
To check on businesses anywhere in the United States, please visit www.bbb.org. To report a fraud or scam, call the BBB Hotline: (903) 581-8373.