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Work at home scams

Online Job Scams: what to look out for

Work at home scams
Are you looking for a new job? Whether you want to change career paths or were the victim of a layoff, Craigslist.org is a valuable research tool. This online classified website has thousands of jobs listings, many of which you may be the perfect candidate for. Unfortunately, with the internet comes online job scams. You can find some of these scams on Craigslist and other online job boards but there are steps you can take to avoid them.

Know what type of job scams to be on the lookout for. In terms of jobs, most of the scams focus on acquiring your personal information or obtaining money from you. This money often comes in the form of a "required," upfront fee. Always remember that you should be paid to work, not the other way around. If a background check or training material is required for employment, the employer should be responsible for all necessary fees, not you. As for your personal information, never divulge your bank account information or social security number until you have had a job interview and are hired.

Always use your best judgment. If looking for a local job, scams will be easy to spot. You are familiar with local companies. If looking to relocate for a new job or if searching for a work-at-home job, use your best judgment. An opportunity that sounds too good to be true, likely is. Say you worked as a full-time secretary and earned $35,000 a year. Be cautious of job listings that claim you can work in the same position, performing the same tasks, but make $100,000 a year. Something doesn't sound right and you may later find yourself right in the middle of a job scam. Before handing over personal information, always research.

Search other cities to look for the same job listings. Be cautious with this approach. It is okay to see a job listing for a full-time secretary in California appear in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The company is likely targeting all qualified California residents. However, be cautious of the same job listing if it appears in St. Louis or Texas at the same time as the job appears in California. Unless the listing specifically states the job requires relocation, you may be looking at a job scam.

Work at Home scams

Legitimate work-at-home program sponsors should tell you - in writing - what's involved in the program they are selling. Here are some questions you might ask a promoter:

What tasks will I have to perform? (Ask the program sponsor to list every step of the job.)

Will I be paid a salary or will my pay be based on commission?

Who will pay me?

When will I get my first paycheck?

What is the total cost of the work-at-home program, including supplies, equipment and membership fees? What will I get for my money?

The answers to these questions may help you determine whether a work-at-home program is appropriate for your circumstances, and whether it is legitimate.

You also might want to check out the company with your local consumer protection agency, state Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau, not only where the company is located, but also where you live. These organizations can tell you whether they have received complaints about the work-at-home program that interests you. But be wary: the absence of complaints doesn't necessarily mean the company is legitimate. Unscrupulous companies may settle complaints, change their names or move to avoid detection.

Job scams appear all over internet. They are even on the popular Craigslist.org website. Luckily, you can use the above mentioned steps to avoid these scams and find a legitimate, good paying job.

Where to Complain

If you have spent money and time on a work-at-home program and now believe the program may not be legitimate, contact the company and ask for a refund. Let company representatives know that you plan to notify officials about your experience. If you can't resolve the dispute with the company, file a complaint with these organizations:

*       The Federal Trade Commission works for the consumer to prevent fraud and deception. Call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or log on to www.ftc.gov.

*       The Attorney General's office in your state or the state where the company is located. The office will be able to tell you whether you're protected by any state law that may regulate work-at-home programs.

*       Your local consumer protection offices.

*       Your local Better Business Bureau.

*       Your local postmaster. The U.S. Postal Service investigates fraudulent mail practices.

*       The advertising manager of the publication that ran the ad. The manager may be interested to learn about the problems you've had with the company.

For More Information

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. 


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