Many working mothers seek out work-from-home jobs for various reasons including increased flexibility or being able to see their kids more often during the day. Unfortunately, it seems that some criminals are preying upon the demand for remote jobs by creating elaborate scams that can rob the victim of thousands of dollars and possibly implicate them in crimes.
According to NBC San Diego, detectives from Ventura County, CA, issued a warning to residents on Thursday after uncovering a one such scam. The victims are typically people looking for work-from-home jobs on websites like Monster.com or Craigslist.
The scammers find these job seekers and then contact them to make phony offers through either an email or text message, says Detective Tim Lohman of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.
After offering a remote job, the victims are sent a set of instructions and information about the new job, for “secret shoppers.” The fake instructions tell the victim to go to an Apple store and buy three new iPhones. They receive a check for $3,300 to cover the cost. However, says Lohman, the check is actually fake.
Victims are told to send the phones to an “evaluation center” for processing. The criminals also employ people at these centers to receive the packages and send them on to the masterminds.
“There is a chance you can be arrested for this,” says Lohman. “You’re an accessory to a criminal enterprise. You’re assisting them.”
The Thousand Oaks Police Department provided residents with some helpful tips that apply to any job seeker. They urge the following:
• Do not give out your personal information to someone you do not know.
• Be suspicious about accepting a job offer from an overseas company.
• Be wary if you receive a check as advance payment for a job and they require you to deposit it into your account and wire a portion of the money.
• Do not pay up front fees.
• Research the company through the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), State Attorney General or Better Business Bureau.
• Remember that there’s no easy way to make money working from home. Most home-based businesses or jobs require long hours and hard work.
The criminals in this case are taking advantage of how badly some people want to work from home. While this specific scam was found in Southern California, moms on the hunt for remote work should be vigilant of potentially shady businesses.