15 Scams to watch out for – Work at home

Work at home —  Consumers have complained of phony job offers which involve overpayment scams. They receive counterfeit checks, are told to deposit them in the bank and send back a portion of the “overpayment” by an untraceable method such as a direct wire transfer, cashier’s check or gift card. Even though the checks may be initially accepted by bank tellers, it a matter of days or weeks they will be flagged as counterfeit, and the victims lose any money they deposited or sent to the criminal operation, in addition to related bank fees.The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says beware of “…any offers that promise easy money for minimal effort.”In the early 2000’s, DCP received nearly 60 complaints about work from home scams originating from a New Britain post box.

DCP said a similar scam is surfacing from the same post box that asks consumers to pay $32 via mail to receive information about how to make up to $1,000 per week stuffing envelopes at home. DCP has received a small handful of complaints regarding this scammer in the past year.After consumers reply to the advertisement and send the money, they receive a handbook with details about how to stuff envelopes at home and advertise their own mail services. Consumers also receive a flier that asks for more money in exchange for information about how to make money as a HUD tracer.  HUD tracers, however, provide a service that a homeowner can do on their own without paying anyone.What prospective workers don’t receive is a job offer, any job leads, or any money. Job seekers should never pay to apply for a job.“Job seekers have a lot of work to do. Editing resumes, preparing application materials, and practicing for interviews takes a lot of time, and that time is valuable,” said Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris, “The last thing hard-working job seekers need is to fall victim to a scam when they may already be working on a tight budget.”When looking for a job, or extra work from home, consumers should consider the following guidelines:

  • Never pay money to apply for a job, or for additional information regarding a job offer. Companies and individuals who need employees want to talk to you; they won’t charge you to provide information.
  • Don’t offer your credit card or bank information, especially over the phone. Sometimes, companies will conduct background checks after or during the interview process, but they should never ask for your financial information. If someone acquires your bank or credit card information, they can use it to take your money.
  • Be wary of ads for “previously undisclosed” federal jobs. Information regarding government jobs is free, and you should neither pay nor offer your personal information in exchange for a job posting.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Working from home often requires a serious amount of time and effort to be successful.  Don’t fall for work from home offers that promise a lot of money upfront.

DCP is working with other appropriate government agencies to ensure consumers have information regarding this case.

The flier sent to consumers can be found here, and the booklet mailed to consumers after payment can be found here along with the flier regarding HUD tracing services. The mailing address is based in New Britain, and fliers may have been mailed to multiple states.

Consumers who wish to file a complaint may email DCP at dcp.frauds@ct.gov.

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