Working at home sounds very appealing particularly during these days of the Coronavirus pandemic.  No commute and you get to work in your pajamas.   Recently, the FTC shut down a work at home scam being done by Moda Latina BZInc., Esther Virginia Fernandez Acquire and Marco Cesar Zarate Quiroz that specifically targeted Spanish speaking people  through Spanish-language ads on television that promised earnings of up to $1,000 dollars a week.

Years ago, stuffing envelopes was a common work at home scam. That scam has been updated by other scammers to offers of being paid to read emails, but it remains a scam.  The range of work at home scams is constantly changing and evolving, but the result is always the same – rarely are these work at home schemes legitimate nor do they provide any income except for the scammers who operate them.  Often the advertisements for these work at home scams appear in conventional media that have not checked out the legitimacy of the advertisements they run.  Merely because an ad may appear on a legitimate television show or publication does not mean that the ad can be trusted.  Trust me, you can’t trust anyone.

Recently there has been an upsurge in a work at home scam that actually makes you an accomplice to a crime.  Your job is to receive goods, often electronics that have been shipped to you, inspect them and then reship them to an address provided to you by your new employer.  The problem is that these goods have been purchased with stolen credit cards and you have just become an accomplice to the crime when you ship them to someone else who will then sell them to turn the merchandise into cash.  The term scammers use to describe the people doing the reshipping is a “mule” and it can get you into a lot of trouble.  The companies offering this type of work may seem legitimate, but they are not.  Similarly, the massive unemployment compensation scam operated by a sophisticated Nigerian cybergang often used victims of romance scams they were also perpetrating as the mules to accept payments made from their state unemployment office into their bank accounts and then wire the money to the scammers outside of the country.

TIP

As always, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  Check out work at home scams with the big three – your local attorney general, the Better Business Bureau and the FTC.  And as always, you can Google the name of the particular company offering you the work at home program with the word “scam” next to it and see what turns up.  As for reshipping scams, they are always a scam and you should steer clear of them.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”  Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

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