Consumer Alert: Work at Home Scams

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A Hartselle woman recently lost thousands of dollars to what she calls a bogus job opportunity.  Michelle Simpson says it all started with a pop up ad while she was looking at a Publisher’s Clearing House email.

The online ad claimed a woman named Kim Swartz was working from home making an upwards of $8,000 per month with a company called Work At Home EDU.

Simpson was a newly divorced mom and just wanted to make some supplemental income to support her child.

“$7,000 a month — if I made $300 per week that would be just great, that’s not reaching for the stars,” she said.

But after several deep investments, Simpson said she realized she’d been duped.

“That two-hour conversation led me to give them my debit card number, and spending a couple thousand dollars that night,” Simpson said.

The Better Business Bureau says beware of “jobs” or “business opportunities” that seem to offer high pay for work you can do at home. Often these programs are bogus.

Common scams involve package forwarding, Internet searches or advertising, envelope stuffing, medical billing, discount or coupon programs, rebate processing, distributorships, sales, or the purchase of special equipment or software to start businesses.

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.

BBB President Elizabeth Garcia says legitimate companies won’t use those high pressure sales tactics.

“They will give you the opportunity to request all the information in writing, and an opportunity to consider the proposition before you make a final decision,” said Garcia.

Here are some tip-offs that the “opportunity” could be a scam:

Big bucks for simple tasks. Watch out if they promise to pay you a lot of money for jobs that don’t seem to require much effort or skill.

Job offers out of nowhere from strangers.  If they offer you a job without getting an application from you first, meeting you, or doing an interview, it’s probably a scam.  Don’t hand your personal employment information to these people (especially your Social Security number!). That could quickly lead to identity theft.

Requests for up-front 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 that they are requesting (especially to destinations in other countries!) 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.


  • Reasonable

    I feel for this woman because I can relate to being desperate for a job, I’ve been there, but please, people, use common sense, PLEASE!!! There are definite red flags that should go off in your brain when a job offer is through a pop-up ad, when the company asks you to pay to get the job and THEN if that’s not enough to stop you you then give them your debit card number to give them full access to your bank account :( I’d be totally embarrassed to even put my name in this article. It must have been late at night when all brain cell activity begins to go on lockdown…

  • Jane

    i would never be able to fall for this scam because i dont have thousands and thousands of dollars to throw away in one night much less on 2 or 3 different occassions as she described on the news report. I’m guessing – she didnt EARN that money, she was so easily parted from. Common sense is not common anymore and if it sounds to good to be true – it is! I don’t even believe her when she says ” if I made $300 per week that would be just great, that’s not reaching for the stars,” – She read- earn 7000 /8000 a month like Kim did and saw all kinds of stars and dollar signs.

  • Ahmed

    I read this article an dsee that working from home opportunity. Sometimes we lose and sometimes do gain, I question is to you find a better online marketing business that connecy all way to the end such as if compny provide support by email or social sites and can connect them throught their support system , so WE can trust them well, Other wise no solution. Hope everyone in this comment section have their succes.

  • NewFoodGoodFood

    Great post!!! Yeah, you must be careful with many of these jobs. I worked from home with different companies, but never invested to much into one. Currently I’m working with a health food company that is pre-launching. It was one of the first companies to start without charging any of the partners. You can get in right now and work from home without spending a dime. Email me for more information.

  • Jack

    Not to forget that nowadays many women have “work from home” online businesses. And most of those succeeding online recognize that it entails using an all-in-one ebusiness-building system by an ethical company, rather than a get rich quick scheme or a “trial and error” approach in order to get (1) a significant amount of traffic and get (2) targeted traffic (example of such a system: IncredibleFreedom dot com).

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