Scammed at homeFor many people, working from home is attractive in many ways that help manage domestic life as well as introduce some work-life balance by eliminating the commute. But if you’re looking for WFH opportunities, beware of scammers targeting people to trick them into becoming scam victims.
Wed 21 Jun 2023
4 min read
What is a working from home scam?
A working from home scam is a fraudulent scheme that targets individuals who are often looking for remote employment opportunities. Scammers peddling these scams exploit the popularity of remote work and the desire for flexible jobs, particularly among those who want to avoid commuting or achieve a better work-life balance. Here are some common types of working from home scams:
- Payment processing scams: Scammers offer victims a job where they are supposed to receive payments from clients and then transfer the funds to other accounts, keeping a percentage as their commission. However, the payments are often fraudulent or stolen, leaving victims responsible for the losses
- Envelope stuffing or assembly scams: These scams promise easy work that involves stuffing envelopes or assembling products at home. However, victims are typically asked to pay a high upfront fee for a starter kit or materials, only to discover that there is no actual work or that the assembled products are rejected due to poor quality
- Reshipping scams: Scammers hire individuals to receive and reship packages to international locations, claiming it’s part of a legitimate business operation. But in reality, these packages often contain stolen goods or products purchased with stolen credit cards or bank details. Victims unwittingly become accomplices in illegal activities
- Pyramid schemes: An old one, these scams often disguise themselves as legitimate work-from-home opportunities but are actually illegal financial schemes. Victims are encouraged to recruit others and invest money, with promises of high returns. The primary focus is on recruitment rather than selling products or services, making them unsustainable and ultimately leaving most participants with financial losses
- Fake job offers: Scammers pose as genuine employers offering remote job opportunities. They may use fake company names, impersonate real companies, or use deceptive job descriptions to lure their victims into providing personal information, such as National Insurance numbers or bank account details, which can then be used for identity theft or financial fraud
- Mystery Shopping Scams: Some scammers pose as legitimate mystery shopping companies and offer work-from-home opportunities. They may send victims a cheque and instruct them to deposit it in their bank account, keep a portion as payment, and send the rest back. However, the cheques are fake, and victims end up losing money when their banks discover the fraud
- Data Entry Scams: Scammers advertise data entry jobs where individuals can work from home. They typically require applicants to pay an upfront fee for access to a database of potential clients or training materials. However, the promised jobs do not materialise, and victims are left poorer
- Email Processing Scams: Scammers claim that individuals can earn money by processing emails from home. Victims are promised large sums of money for each email processed, but they have to pay an upfront fee to access the program. Once victims pay the fee, they might receive generic information about email marketing but no actual work or earnings.
How can I keep safe from WFH scams?
- Research the company: Check the legitimacy of the company by doing some thorough online research. Look for reviews, check their website, and search for any scam alerts or complaints from other job seekers
- Beware of upfront fees: Be cautious if a company asks for upfront fees for training, materials, or job placements. Legitimate employers typically don’t require upfront payments
- Protect your personal information: Be cautious when sharing sensitive information like your National Insurance number, bank account details, or copies of identification documents. Only provide this information after verifying the legitimacy of the company
- Trust your instincts: If something sounds too good to be true it usually is. Trust your intuition. If you have doubts or concerns, it's better to be cautious and avoid proceeding further
- Consult official sources: Check with reputable resources such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, Action Fraud, or the official government website for information about reported scams or warnings
Overall, stay informed and cautious to protect yourself from working from home scams.
Keep things close
Often, a scammer approaches a potential victim by using email lists or contact information lifted from social media to get in front of their target. They may have found a way to contact you through publicly available sources, or by buying stolen data from the dark web, put there by hackers whose business it is to steal information from legitimate companies. We often hear of hacks of all sorts of well known companies, and if they have your data, it’s at risk of falling into the hands of hackers, then scammers who use it to target you.
The best way to avoid having your data stolen in a data breach is to make sure it’s not stored amongst any data that gets stolen. You can get your data deleted from any company that no longer needs it by using our Rightly Protect service. It’s quick, simple and free and will tell you just who has your data and give you the chance to instruct them to completely erase it, if that’s what you want to do.
Wed 10 May 2023
7 min read
Money mule mayhem
Ever tempted by a message on social media, offering you easy money for very little effort, all from the comfort of your own home? It could be an attempt by criminals to engage you and your bank account in criminal money laundering.
Wed 03 May 2023
5 min read
Scammers use coercive control
We read a lot about coercive control and how it’s used to force people into doing things. It uses a range of psychological tactics to control how people behave in certain circumstances. Fraudsters exploit this when they create scams. So, what does it look like, how can you spot it and how can you keep yourself safe from it?