A frightening yet common scam is duping honest people looking for a way to make some extra money, and in some cases, making them unwitting accessories to crime.
Forbes gives a real-life example where a woman got an online job for listing products to be sold on eBay. She never met the person she worked for face-to-face, but she was a college student desperate for money and didn’t see any red flags.
After using her personal eBay account to make numerous sales, she was hit with a barrage of complaints from customers who never received the items they purchased from her new boss. When she complained to her boss, he threatened to stalk her and attack her.
She got out of the job and was never attacked, but she lost $5,000 in the process.
Brie Reynolds of FlexJobs.com advises, "Reshipping job scams aren't just annoying — they can actually involve job seekers in criminal activities. Most of the time, the goods being reshipped are stolen, and once a person receives those stolen goods and then mails them to another location, they've unwittingly become part of that crime."
These work-at-home, work-your-own hours jobs are tempting to young people, work-at-home parents, and others looking for extra cash to pay bills, but their allure is exactly why scammers are posting fake job listings to sucker people in to becoming their criminal accomplices.
And these at-home scam jobs come in many flavors. They can involve data entry, rebate processing, product assembly, envelope stuffing, and more.
But they have one thing in common. They sound just a little too easy and convenient.
Other things to look for to keep yourself from becoming a victim are frequent errors in job listings and communications with potential employers, unprofessional forms of communication like chat messengers, too easy of a hiring process, being asked to use some of your own money (even temporarily) to complete assigned tasks, being required to give personal details like social security numbers and bank information to someone you’ve never met, and having a potential employer seem too eager to give you the job and not that interested in your qualifications.
Be smart, do your research, don’t rush into anything, and listen to your gut feeling if it’s telling you something is off.
Be safe! And share these tips with friends and family, especially young people new to the job market.