Everyone’s seen them—seductive work-at-home opportunities hyped in flyers tacked to telephone poles, in newspaper classifieds, in your e-mail, and all over the web, promising you hundreds or thousands of dollars a week for typing, stuffing envelopes, processing medical billing, etc. And it’s just a phone call or mouse click away…
Here are a few of the most common work-at-home scams.
Add identity theft to the mix. As if these schemes aren’t bad enough, many also lead to identity theft. During the application process, you’re often asked to provide personal information that can be used to steal from your bank account or establish new credit cards in your name.
On the job. A host of law enforcement and regulatory agencies, including the FBI, investigate these schemes and track down those responsible. But the most effective weapon against these fraudsters is you not falling for the scams in the first place.
A few tips:
And if you think you’ve been the victim of a work-at-home scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission’sor our .
A credit report includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you've been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy. Nationwide consumer reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home.
You can order your free annual credit report online at annualcreditreport.com, by calling 1-877-322-8228, or by completing the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mailing it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
When you order, you need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. To verify your identity, you may need to provide some information that only you would know, like the amount of your monthly mortgage payment.
The FTC advises consumers who order their free annual credit reports online to be sure to correctly spell annualcreditreport.com, or link to it from the FTC's website to avoid being misdirected to other websites that offer supposedly free reports,but only with the purchase of other products. While consumers may be offered additional products or services while on the authorized website, they are not required to make a purchase to receive their free annual credit reports.
For more information on free annual credit reports, read Your Access to Free Credit Reports.
Consumers reported fraud losses totaling more than $1.2 billion; the median monetary loss per person was $349, the report states.
The top 20 complaint categories were: