Better Business Bureau: Work-at-home ‘jobs’ are often scams

August 1, 2013 

“I thought it was a little odd that she wanted me to set up a messenger account,” the 34-year-old Trina Pease said. “But I thought, maybe it was part of the test of getting the job.”

Within a few steps she had set up an account and did an interview with a woman named Catherine.

“It really got sketchy when she said, ‘With a satisfactory background check, and completion of the Arise basic certification program, it will cost you $99 and takes 20 hours of your time,” she says. “I balked a bit, said I didn’t have that kind of money.”

The interviewer said it wouldn’t be a problem, and they could cover the costs and take it out of her next few paychecks. With wonderment, Pease agreed.

With some research, Better Business Bureau determined Arise Virtual Solutions and Pease’ opportunity are legitimate. However, the experience is a good lesson for any person wanting a work-at-home job to proceed carefully.

BBB says beware of “jobs” or “business opportunities” that seem to offer high pay for work you can do at home. Many people lose large sums of money through work at home scams. Some versions of these scams — like package forwarding — might also involve the victim in crimes such as identity theft and handling of stolen merchandise.

Here are 6 tip-offs that an “opportunity” could be bad:

• Big bucks for simple tasks. Watch out if you’re promised a lot of money for little effort or skill.

• Job offers out of nowhere from strangers. If you are offered a job without sending an application or meeting in person, it’s probably a scam. Handing your personal employment information to an unknown person could lead to identity theft.

• Requests for upfront payments. If someone wants you to make an advance payment to “get in” on the ground floor of a new business opportunity — especially if it’s a big investment, or you don’t have much information about the deal — this is a big red flag. Don’t do it. “Advance fee scams” are very common and they come in many varieties.

• They ask you to wire the money. If you wire a payment to somebody, it’s gone forever. Wire transfers of money are a convenient and perfectly legitimate service. But scam artists often ask you to wire payments because they know you won’t be able to get your money back.

• High pressure to do it now. Don’t be in a hurry to accept an unsolicited offer of work, or to make a business investment, particularly if the other party is asking you to spend your money on the deal.

• Take your time. If somebody tries to convince you that this is a “limited time” offer and you have to act now, just tell them to forget it. Ignore anybody who pushes you to agree. High pressure is a big sign that something’s wrong.

Robb Hicken: 947-2115

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