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5 U.S. home-based fraudulent offers

Fraudsters are actively using the fact that many people dream of working from home. The opportunity to earn money while staying in your pajamas on your own sofa may look incredibly attractive, but you should beware of those who can deceive you by making an offer about such a job, writes MoneyTalksNews.

Фото: Depositphotos

Bree Weiler Reynolds, Senior Career Specialist and Trainer at FlexJobs, says most job websites are not closely monitored, making it easy for scammers to target potential “employees.” To check for a job offer, search the Internet for your company name and job title, and add the keyword scam.

“Some work-from-home schemes are illegal, and yet they provide no income other than the income of the scammers who operate them,” says Steve Weissman, a lawyer in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Here are a few common schemes that disguise themselves as legitimate work at home, but are actually scams.

1. You are asked to deposit money in advance

You are promised that you can earn big money in your free time. Fraudsters ask you to buy a starter kit or fake certification, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In addition, thieves can use your debit or credit card number to make other purchases.


  • Be skeptical about offers that promise big money without much effort.
  • If you are asked to send money to get a job, this is most likely a fraud.
  • Report the scam to the FTC at or contact the state attorney general’s office.

2. You are offered to become a mystery shopper

This scam is based on legal practice. Retail stores really hire mystery shoppers who shop and report on how well the store employees worked.

What happens when a fraudster pretends to hire you, the FBI explains:

“They send you a check for a decent amount and ask you to deposit it into your bank account, then withdraw the funds to make purchases and check the services of local shops and electronic bank transfer companies. You leave a small amount of money for your “work” and then, as instructed, mail or wire the remainder to your “employer”.

The problem is that a cheater's check is originally a fake. And it may take several weeks before you discover it. When the bogus check finally comes back, you've already lost your own money that you sent to the scammer.


  • Legitimate employers never overpay for employees or ask them to get a refund elsewhere, says Robert Siciliano, author of Confidential Identity Theft Confidentiality.

On the subject: Bank and cashier checks: how to cash, cancel and avoid fraud

3. You are offered to earn "big money" by entering data

Data entry tasks require employees to enter information into company databases. You can legally get such a job with little or no experience, but don't expect high pay.

Often such offers are not work at all. A fraudster requires that you pay for registration or buy special software, usually costing from 25 to 250 dollars.


  • The promise of big money should make you suspicious. This is especially true when an “employer” requires a minimum of skill, Reynolds notes.

4. You are offered the job of filling envelopes

According to the National League of Consumers, another common home-based fraud scheme is the envelope filling scheme.

Job seekers are asked to pay to learn more about working from home. They are made to believe that they will send out materials on behalf of companies. Instead, they are given instructions on how to make the same ad as the one to which they responded, and ask other people to send money supposedly to learn how to work from home.


  • This is a typical pyramid scheme, says Reynolds. You only make money when other people respond to the same scam as you. As the National League of Consumers says: “You will not get rich, and you can be held accountable for fraud.”

On the subject: The Devil's Dozen: IRS Recommendations for Protection Against 12 Tax Fraud Schemes

5. You are offered to earn money with medical bills

Fraudsters are looking for employees supposedly to process medical requirements electronically.

Here's how it works. The sales representative explains that if you are willing to invest money, you will be provided with everything you need to start a profitable medical billing business. You can be promised a list of potential customers and technical support.

In fact, the lists you receive are most likely outdated. They may even include medical rooms that do not require billing services.


  • Remember, medical billing is a highly competitive business with experienced and reputable companies. A beginner with instructions and materials purchased online is unlikely to be able to compete with them.

Read also on ForumDaily:

'Hang up': how Americans give millions of dollars to telephone scammers

In Pennsylvania, a 3-year-old scammer pretended to be a lawyer and tricked immigrants

Top 18 Most Common Online Shopping Risks and How to Protect Yourself from Them

Russian-speaking immigrant tried to rob police in California

Miscellaneous fraud swindle Educational program remote work
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