Public Service Announcement

Prepared by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

February 3, 2009
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Work-At-Home Scams

Consumers need to be vigilant when seeking employment on-line. The IC3 continues to receive numerous complaints from individuals who have fallen victim to work-at-home scams.

Victims are often hired to "process payments", "transfer funds" or "reship products." These job scams involve the victims receiving and cashing fraudulent checks, transferring illegally obtained funds for the criminals, or receiving stolen merchandise and shipping it to the criminals.

Other victims sign up to be a "mystery shopper", receiving fraudulent checks with instructions to cash the checks and wire the funds to "test" a company's services. Victims are told they will be compensated with a portion of the merchandise or funds.

Work-at-home schemes attract otherwise innocent individuals, causing them to become part of criminal schemes without realizing they are engaging in illegal behavior.

Job scams often provide criminals the opportunity to commit identity theft when victims provide their personal information, sometimes even bank account information to their potential "employer." The criminal/employer can then use the victim's information to open credit cards, post on-line auctions, register Web sites, etc., in the victim's name to commit additional crimes.

If you have been a victim of Internet crime, please file a complaint at www.IC3.gov.