Scammers recruit unsuspecting job seekers with fake employment ads. After responding to the ad, the victims are often instructed to accept payments from clients, keep a portion as their salary, and transfer the remainder to an account established by the company. The scammers are often organized crime groups, and the money involved has actually been stolen by phishing and identity theft. The victims are called “mules” because they unwittingly transfer illegal funds. Involvement in work-at-home scams like these could leave you in serious legal trouble.
- Check Processor: The “business”, located outside of the United States, needs someone to process checks from their United States customers. The job applicant is to deposit the checks into their account and wire 90% to the “employer” keeping the remaining 10%. The wires may go to various foreign countries. The check turns out to be counterfeit and the “employee” is responsible to their bank for the entire amount. Ask yourself: Why does an international business need me to process checks?
- Shipper: The “business” needs goods available in the United States. The applicant is asked to ship them to an address overseas at their own expense. The shipping fee will be reimbursed (with a counterfeit check). The items to be shipped are usually stolen or purchased with a stolen credit card.
Protect Yourself – Learn how to recognize work-at-home scams. Their employment ads offer bold statements like “Earn thousands of dollars a month from your home!” Research the company. Use caution when dealing with employers you are not familiar with. A legitimate work-at-home employer should describe—in writing—what’s involved in their work.