Local College Student Victim of Work From Home Scheme | Crime
A Local college student was recently the victim of a "work from home" scheme when the company, Acuity Brands, hired him then paid him with a bad check.
The student applied for the job after seeing it in a listing on a legitimate school job board. He applied and after several email correspondences he was hired to work from home. His first paycheck was vastly over the amount he was to be paid. The instructions were to deposit the check, keep the amount he was to be paid, then return a money order for the difference.
To his surprise, when he went in to deposit the check, it was a fake.
He would've easily been out of close to $2,500 if it weren't for the fast action of the bank manager. This is a typical "fake check" scam and it's being used often in work from home schemes.
With the rise of the Internet and e-mail, getting a phony ad or message out to a vast audience is cheap and easy. Even though the old work-at-home scams have taken on a modern twist; the typical profile of victims who are most susceptible to these scams has changed very little. Work-at-home con artists have always preyed most heavily upon senior citizens, the disabled; mothers who want to stay at home with their children, people with low income and few job skills, and people who just want to get rich quick.
Cyberspace is simply the newest arena that scam artists have entered to widen their hunt for more people to dupe. To avoid falling for work-at-home scams, both on- and off-line, look for the following warning signs:
- Overstated claims of product effectiveness;
- Exaggerated claims of potential earnings, profits, or part-time earnings;
- Claims of "inside" information;
- Requirements of money for instructions or products before telling you how the plan works;
- Claims of "no experience necessary."
- Never offer you regular salaried employment.
- Promise you huge profits and big part-time earnings.
- Use personal testimonials but never identify the person so that you could check with them.
- Require money for instructions or merchandise before telling you how the plan operates.
- Assure you of guaranteed markets and a huge demand for your handiwork.
- Tell you that no experience is necessary.
- Take your money and give you little or nothing in return except heartbreak and grief.
Job sites try to police the listings, but, it's hard to catch all the bad listings in a timely manner. Be careful when reviewing postings to make sure that you're not taken advantage of by unscrupulous job posters.
Evaluating Job Listings
Check Out the Job Listings
If it isn't listed in the job posting, find out if there's a salary or if you're paid on commission. For work at home jobs, ask how often are you paid and how you are paid. Ask what equipment (hardware / software) you need to provide.You Won't Get Rich Quick (Really)
Avoid listings that guarantee you wealth, financial success, or that will help you get rich fast. Stay clear of listings that offer you high income for part-time hours. They will do none of the above.Hang on to Your Money
Do not send money! Legitimate employers don't charge to hire you or to get you started. Don't send money for work at home directories or start-up kits.Check References
Ask for references if you're not sure about the company's legitimacy. Request a list of other employees or contractors to find out how this has worked for them. Then contact the references to ask how this is working out. If the company isn't willing to provide references (names, email addresses and phone numbers) do not consider the opportunity.Think Twice
If it sounds too good to be true, you can be sure it is! Also, read any "offers" you get very carefully. One candidate for employment got a very detailed job offer from an employer. The only problem was that she hadn't applied for the job and buried deep within the lines was a request for her bank account information, so the employer could pay her. It was a scam, of course.
If You Are Victimized
If you become a victim of a work-at-home scheme, ask the company for a refund. If they refuse or give you an evasive response, tell them you plan to notify law enforcement officials.
Keep careful records of everything you do to recover your money. Document your phone calls, keep copies of all paperwork such as letters and receipts, and record all costs involved, including the time you spend. If the company refuses to refund your investment, contact:
- Your local Better Business Bureau;
- Your local or state consumer affairs agency;
- Your state's attorney general's office or the office in the state where the company
To learn more about Work-at-Home Schemes, contact the following:
- Your Local Better Business Bureau at 800-675-8118
- Federal trade commission at 202.382.4357
- National Fraud Information Center at 1-800-876-7060
For more tips you can trust visit www.cencal.bbb.org