Fraudsters Pose As Legitimate Businesses
The ability to work from home is an attractive proposition, especially when a company promises high income for little effort. However, Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington has received reports of a fraudulent company posing as a legitimate business, offering “jobs” to consumers that never pay.
The scammers are posing as HCR ManorCare, an assisted-living company with offices in Washington. A consumer told BBB she received letters recruiting her for work and asking her to use instant messenger services to complete the interview and hiring process. The con artists then sent her a suspicious check without any instructions on what to do with it. Pictures of the letter and check are attached.
Other work-from-home scams often ask consumers to pay for starter kits or certifications that are useless. Sometimes they charge consumers’ credit cards without permission. Mystery shopping scams ask consumers to deposit checks then wire a portion of the money back before the check bounces.
BBB offers the following tips for spotting home-employment scams:
- Be skeptical. Think twice about any offer that guarantees a lot of money for little effort and no experience. Thoroughly read the website’s terms and conditions, keeping in mind that a “free trial” could lead to a credit card scam.
- Don’t be fooled by affiliation claims. Be wary of work-at-home offers that use reputable companies’ logos or reference other popular online sites. It could be a scammer posing as a legitimate business.
- Beware of unexpected offers. If a consumer receives a job offer without filling out an application, meeting with the business and being interviewed, it is most likely a scam.
- Don’t pay in advance. Consumers may be asked to invest money up front to pay for inventory, setup or training materials. When the materials arrive and turn out to be worthless, the consumer is stuck with the bill.
- Start with trust. Check out a company at bbb.org to view its BBB Business Review. There you will find the company’s history of complaints and contact information as well as what previous consumers said about the business.
Consumers who believe they have been scammed may file a complaint with BBB.
The Federal Trade Commission’s Business Opportunity Rule has safeguards in place to make sure consumers have the information they need to tell whether a work-at-home opportunity is a risky business.