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A recent report in AARP’s Bulletin Today by Sid Kirchheimer, author of “Scam-Proof Your Life” (AARP 2006), says that with a tough economy more Americans are looking for new ways to bring home the bacon â€” often by working from home. But far too many fall victim to scams. According to Kirchheimer, the Internet has proved to be a great recruiting tool for work-at-home prospects, allowing scammers to hide their identities and post phony “testimonials.”
An October 2007 report by the Federal Trade Commission says that about 2.5 million Americans â€” nearly 1 percent of the entire population â€” fall for work-at-home scams each year, and many are repeat victims.
Here are two of the most common work-at-home scams:
Â Â Â * “Bait-and-switch” schemes require up-front payment for materials. Victims may pay an initial cost and then not receive the promised supplies, instructions, or “client” leads; or they may receive some goods but then must shell out more for the “complete package.”
Â Â Â * “Check-forwarding” scams occur when victims receive a check for promised or completed work only to be asked to wire a portion of it back to the scammer. The received check inevitably proves to be counterfeit, and banks hold victims responsible; victims may also face check-fraud charges.
For more information on preventing these scams, go to http://www.ftc.gov/bizopps.