Beware of work-from-home job scams

Con artists are taking advantage of the high unemployment rate

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While there are some legitimate offers out there, many of them are not.  Thieves are taking advantage of the nation's high unemployment rate and cashing in on work-from-home scams.

What if you saw something that said, "Make thousands of dollars a week working at home simply by mailing postcards."  Sounds like a good deal.

"Consumers were told they would earn $1 for each postcard they processed. All they had to do was place a pre-addressed label which promoted a mortgage assistance project and send it back to the company," explained Daniel Forrester, a U.S. postal inspector.

It said to start, fill out a form and pay an upfront fee. Then, applicants receive a starter package.

"Usually they are enticed in the package by what they are applying for – a promised wage – and a certain enrollment fee they are responsible for," said Forrester.

Postal Inspectors got involved after hundreds of complaints from employees.

"They were never paid the wage promised. For the first time, they were told someone would have to actually buy the mortgage product to be paid," he said.

Employees were out the upfront fee with no prospect of future money.

"Consumers should be aware of any work at home scheme that asks you to pay a fee upfront," warned Forrester.

And, use common sense.

"A company claiming to pay you thousands of dollars for a job that could cost pennies; Just apply logic," Forrester added.

Postal Inspectors also strongly recommend doing research on a company before applying for a job.  In this case, the con artist running the scheme had been charged five separate times for engaging in the exact same fraud.

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