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Work At Home Jobs Scam Alert

Updated on November 22, 2013

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Work At Home Scam Alert
Work At Home Scam Alert | Source

WARNING! Work At Home Jobs Scam

I’ve been scammed more than once by work at home offers. Honestly, more than I want to admit. This last scam that hooked me came close to landing me in jail and having $1, 995 dollars stolen from me.

I’m going to choke up the embarrassment of it all and disclose the details of the latest work at home job scam that I fortunately diverted. People, who are looking for legitimate opportunities to work from home and make some predictable, solid income, will need to know how to spot a work at home job scam. The scam that I am about to tell you is one that made me a victim to criminal fraud. So pay close attention and learn how to spot work at home job scams that could unknowingly make you a party to a crime and liable.

Here is my story in short.

I was signed up for numerous online job search engines that drop handfuls of job alerts in my inbox daily. As I clicked through my job alerts, I eventually landed on the Washington Post Jobs search engine after following a link from a job posting that said “Data Entry” job.

Since the job offer was on a reputable site like Washington Post, I initially trusted it without question. Now that I know better, I want you to look at the two job postings from Washington Post to the right and let me point out the warning signs that you can notice at a glance and those that are hidden but will arise later during the application process.

Online Jobs Postings at WashingtonPost.com

These two work at home jobs posted at WashingtonPost.com turned out to be two scams.
These two work at home jobs posted at WashingtonPost.com turned out to be two scams. | Source
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The Anatomy of a Work At Home Job Scam

  1. The job offer was presented via a reputable, trustworthy medium, Ie. national newspaper, united states post office, may be also, email claiming to be a bank, or even .gov websites
  2. The qualifications stated “no experience required”
  3. The company was not disclosed and in the case where it was disclosed, it was not verifiable, Ie. I googled “Xperia” and no such company name could be found.
  4. Communication was done via mobile text messaging and email and never over the phone or in person, Ie. The phone number of the text messages was a google voice number that I have learned are used in these scams because they are not traceable, Ie. The email address of the job offer in this case is service401@hotmail.com which is not a company email address but a personal address. RED FLAG! Legitimate job offers will come via the companies email system.
  5. The application process was all done via email and included quite an extensive line of questions. Check for these warning signs. If they did not pass the valid email address test then don’t waste your time with completing the application. The valid email address test is two steps. First note the ISP provider of the email. If it is not a company then you can safely assume it’s a scam. For example, service401@hotmail.com (personal email) compared to service401@xperia.com (company email). Second, if a company ISP is attached then google the company name and examine their website and contact them personally and asked for the person named in the email, if any, before continuing with their application.
  6. The job training they were going to give me included them giving me my own home equipment and a start-up salary. They actually mailed me a certified check to pay for me to buy the equipment plus my first week’s pay totaling $1,985.
  7. The monetary package was mailed certified mail and insured via the United States postal service. (Everything seemed legit). So look for these warning signs when it comes to their offer to pay you.
  • In my email they used the language - “TEST OF DUTY/TRUST.” This means they will mail you a monetary package to test your honest in handling company funds and your ability to carry out your assigned duty as they have outlined and will include with the package.
  • The certified check you receive will come with instructions. Notice if the instructions is on company letterhead. All legitimate company’s communicate using their own custom letterhead.
  • DON’T ASSUME BECAUSE IT’S A CERTIFIED BANK CHECK THAT IT IS VALID! (like I did). My enclosed instructions said to deposit the check into my bank account and wait 24 hours for the money to clear. AGAIN DON’T ASSUME THAT BECAUSE THE MONEY CLEARED THAT THE CERTIFIED CHECK IS VALID (like I did!) This is what you should do immediately. Stop and call the bank that the certified check is from. In my case, the bank name was Golden1 Credit Union. I located their number online. I gave them the check number and asked them to verify if the check is valid. They did it for me right on the spot on the phone. They verified the check was NOT valid.

Returned Check from My Bank Stamped "Fictitious", ie. FRAUD

This is the returned check from this work at home job scam that I averted.
This is the returned check from this work at home job scam that I averted.
Western Union discovered this was work at home job scam and assisted me in averting it. Thanks Western Union!
Western Union discovered this was work at home job scam and assisted me in averting it. Thanks Western Union! | Source

Work At Home Job FRAUD Proven And Averted

Finally the undeniable truth comes out. CRIMINAL FRAUD diverted. Felony Count #1 – Mail Fraud; #2 – Cyber Crimes; #3 Check Counterfeiting, and whatever else.

Earlier I said that I had come close to landing in jail and having $1, 985 stolen from me. Here is that part of the story.

I was not aware of the fraud as I was going through the job application process. So I followed the instructions to the letter as I would when applying for any job. I received the certified check and deposited it into my bank account. The next day when it cleared I took the money minus my start up pay of $250 that I was told to keep to Western Union. Yes, I had $1,735 in my hands ready to give it to the Western Union teller as instructed to mail it off to a “delivery agent “ who was supposed to send me computer equipment upon receipt of the money that I was about to send him.

It was the Western Union teller that spotted the fraud. I asked her if there was a charge to send money using the “money option.” The instructions said to use the “money option,” however, I did not understand what that meant. Another thing that was confusing is that there was no mention of deducting the cost to send the money from the total of $1,735. I thought it strange that the instructions did not mention that portion as they appeared to be clear and thorough.

My question confused the teller and she asked to see the instructions that I was reading from. At first glance, she spotted the FRAUD. She went through the trouble of explaining to me how these frauds operate and advised me against following through with these instructions until I could verify through the bank that the check was valid. She called the bank herself and asked them to confirm if her suspicions were true. Upon closer examination of the certified check, the bank confirmed that, yes, the check was fraudulent. She hung up the phone and advised me to return the money to the bank.

If I had mailed that money to the “delivery agent”, I would have had to pay that amount back to the bank because that check did bounce. I would have had no recourse after sending it because once the “delivery agent” picked up the cash, it would virtually be untraceable. (FYI, the “delivery agent” is actually the same person that allegedly was hiring me trying to get me to send them some money.)

I returned the money to bank. Then, I reported the incident to the local police and to Washington Post.

This is a warning to you to be on alert for work at home jobs scams that could rob you of thousands of your hard earned dollars or in the worst case scenario, also land you in jail. Be careful to do your research to learn what a legitimate work at home job opportunity looks like. Then you can avoid being scammed.

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