You see an ad saying you can earn big money at home. Or one that offers help starting an online business – with a proven system to make money online. Or maybe your resume is on a job search website and someone calls: they want your driver’s license and bank account numbers before they interview you.
What happens next? If you answer the ad to work from home, they’ll ask you for money – for training or special access. But there’ll be no job. If you buy that proven system, you’ll get pressure to pay more for extra services. But you won’t get anything that really helps you start a business or make money. And if you give that caller your driver’s license and bank account numbers, they might steal your identity or your money.
- Never pay money to earn money. And don’t share personal information until you’ve done your research. Search online for the company name and the words review,” “scam” or “complaint.”
- Beware of counterfeit check-facilitated “mystery shopper” scams: You’re sent a hefty check and asked to deposit it into your bank account, then withdraw funds to shop and check out the service of local stores and wire transfer companies. You keep a small amount of the money for your “work,” but then, as instructed, mail or wire the rest to your “employer.” Sound good? One problem: the initial check was phony, and by the time your bank notifies you, your money is long gone and you’re on the hook for the counterfeit check. To make matters worse the money lost is often used to launder illegal drug money or support terrorist activities.
- Don’t fall for a pyramid scheme: You’re hired as a “distributor” and shell out big bucks for promotional materials and product inventories with little value (like get-rich quick pamphlets). You’re promised money for recruiting more distributors, so you talk friends and family into participating. The scheme grows exponentially but then falls apart—the only ones who make a profit are the criminals who started it.
- Pass this information on to a friend. You probably know how to keep your money and information safe. But you may know someone who could use a friendly reminder.