Work at home scams continue to rise

Work at home scams continue to rise

According to the Better Business Bureau, work at home scams were on a sharp rise even before the COVID-19 crisis started. Now, with so many people having been laid off or furloughed these scams have become even more prevalent over the past couple of months. These scams start off with tempting online ads promising decent money for relatively easy work without having to leave your home and risk infection. However, you could be risking something that’s almost as devastating.

For example, a woman in Minnesota recently responded to an online ad for a data entry position. The ad promised to pay $15 an hour and promised at least a 40-hour workweek while maintaining a flexible schedule. After she responded to the ad she was instructed to download WhatsApp so an interview could be conducted. WhatsApp is a messaging app that’s popular overseas and often used in place of text messaging. Essentially, she was being interviewed for this job over text message. This is usually done so scammers can avoid sounding like they’re calling from another country.

The scammers had said that they were going to pay for her to buy a new laptop for the job. They claimed they were going to send her a check to buy the equipment from an approved vendor. However, they told her that she only had 24 hours after receiving the check to purchase the equipment. If she had received the check it would have been a counterfeit check that she would have been responsible for if she had deposited it into her bank account. The 24-hour turnaround is a way for the scammers to get the money moved quickly before her bank could realize it was fraudulent.

It wasn’t too long before the scammers started asking her for personal information like a copy of her driver’s license and who her cell phone carrier was. They then sent her a form that asked for her banking information along with security passwords. Thankfully, she realized this was a scam before her identity could be compromised.

While there are legitimate work at home positions to be found, they are not as common as online ads may have you believe. If the offer sounds too good or it feels a little off, listen to your gut and avoid giving out any information to the scammers.