Police Warn Of Work-At-Home Scams
Working from home in your pj’s might seem like an attractive deal. But, before you click “send” to sign, you should consider new a scam warning and tips out from state police.
“A number of them can be scams, where the individual applying for a job can end up getting not only their money or identity stolen, but they could also face some criminal charges themselves,” said Detective Shawn Furlong with the Michigan State Police in Brighton.
Police warn that work-from-home scam victims are often recruited by organized cyber criminals through newspaper ads, online employment services, unsolicited emails or “spam”, and social networking sites advertising work-from-home opportunities. Once recruited, however, rather than becoming an employee of a legitimate business, the consumer is actually a “mule” for cyber criminals who use the consumer’s or other victim’s accounts to steal and launder money.
Furlong told WWJ they’re working with the FBI to crack down on Internet scams that bilk consumers out of their money.
“So, if you are a victim of a scam, or you feel you’re a victim of a scam, you should immediately notify your financial institution. And, the federal government does have an Intenet crime complaint center,” he said.
Furlong advised the public to be always be suspicious of companies that require money up front, or asks for personal information.
How to Protect Yourself:
- Be wary. Research the legitimacy of the company through the Better Business Bureau (for US-based companies) or WHOIS/Domain Tools (for international companies) before providing personal or account information and/or agreeing to work for them. In addition, TrustedSource.org can help you identify companies that may be maliciously sending spam based on the volume of email sent from their Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.
- Be cautious about any opportunities offering the chance to work from home with very little work or prior experience. Remember: if it looks too good to be true, it usually is.
- Never pay for the privilege of working for an employer. Be suspicious of opportunities that require you to pay for things up front, such as supplies and other materials.
- Never give your bank account details to anyone unless you know and trust them.
- If you think you may be a victim of one of these scams, contact your financial institution immediately.
- Report any suspicious work-from-home offers or activities to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.
Example of a Work-From-Home Scheme (provided by State Police):
- An individual applies for a position as a rebate or payments processor through an online job site or through an unsolicited email.
- As a new employee, the individual is asked to provide his/her bank account information to his/her employer or to establish a new account using information provided by the employer.
- Funds are deposited into the account that the employee is instructed to wire to a third (often international) account.
- The employee is instructed to deduct a percentage of the wired amount as their commission. However, rather than processing rebates or processing payments, the individual is actually participating in a criminal activity by laundering stolen funds through his/her own account or a newly established account.
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