Protect Yourself on the Internet
Internet email is NOT a secure method of communication. Any information you send in an unencrypted (unsecured) Internet email message can be read by someone other than the intended recipient. It's like writing the information on a postcard that gets handed from person to person. So, NEVER send bank account information, credit card numbers, your full Social Security number, or any other sensitive information by Internet unless you encrypt (protect) your email. To learn about encrypting your email, type "encrypt" into your email's "Help" search box for information and instructions. CAUTION: Typically, WiFi connections are not secure if you are using a public or free WiFi connection. Securing emails from these connections is complex and you are safer not to transmit your personal information through public WiFi connections.
Common Bogus Employment Offers and Tips to Avoid "Taking The Bait"
Be suspicious of any unsolicited email offering employment, especially work-at-home offers. Usually, these emails wind up in your scam folder - but not always. Do not open scam or suspicious emails; doing so verifies that your email address is valid and may subject you to more spam or even viruses. When you receive these emails, type the email address into any search engine and see what comes up. Most likely, you will find that it is an illegal site.
Be Wary of any employers:
- Who offer you a job without an in-person or telephone interview;
- Who can be contacted only by email and won't provide a mailing address and telephone number;
- Who want to conduct an interview in home settings or in motel rooms;
- Whose business is not either headquartered or has substantial operations in the United States;
- Who are vague about the position and, during the interview, are not willing to specifically describe the position. Be sure to get specific information on salary and benefits, and any other pertinent information in writing, if you are offered a job;
- Who charge a fee to either employ you or find employment for you. Charging a fee is prohibited under the AZ Job Connection Employer Use Policy. If an employer attempts to charge a fee for a job that was listed on AZ Job Connection, please email the details to AZ Job Connection at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Do not provide your Social Security number or any other sensitive information to an employer unless the employer has made a written commitment to hire you and doing so is part of the actual hiring orientation.
- Avoid vague job offers. If the employer is not willing to specifically describe the position, during the interview, be very careful. Be sure to get specific salary, benefits, and other pertinent information if you are offered a job.
- Be cautious of exaggerated claims of potential earnings, for example, an email claiming that "Single mom makes $1,457 a week!" If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't true.
Common Employment Scams
- Envelope Stuffing Scams usually ask for a registration fee that must be paid before work begins. Promoters advertise that, for a "small" fee, they will tell you how to earn big money from stuffing envelopes at home. And they claim that they will pay you a certain amount of money for each envelope stuffed, resulting in hundreds or thousands of dollars for you each week. These ads may seem appealing, especially if you are looking for a home-based business. But according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), ads like these don't tell the whole story because the promoters really aren't offering you a job. Instead, say FTC attorneys, after you send your money, you are likely to get a letter telling you to place the same envelope-stuffing ad in newspapers or magazines, or to send the ad to friends and relatives. The only way you'll earn money is if people respond to your ad. In fact, the promoters themselves rarely pay anyone.
- Lists of Work-At-Home Jobs are offers to purchase lists of companies that are hiring for work-at-home positions. Be very careful before purchasing these lists because they are often inaccurate.
- Medical Billing job advertisements always ask for an initial financial investment. The advertisement will wrongly say that a small percentage of medical claims are transmitted electronically and that the market for medical billing is wide open. The reality is that the market is well established.
- Check Cashing Scams begin with an email offering a job as a secret shopper, or as someone who transfers funds internationally. The scammer tries to reassure the victim of the legitimacy of the position by offering documents which have no value, such as forged or false documents bearing company letterhead, fake contracts, fake letters of credit, payment schedules, and bank drafts. When the scammers receive a response from the victim, they send the victim checks, money orders, or wire deposits for "processing" or for use as a deposit while "secret shopping" a local bank. The victim will be asked to cash the check or money order and send a percentage of the funds back to the scammers and keep a percentage as payment for services. When the victim's bank or financial institution learns that the check/money order/wire transfer is fraudulent, the bank or financial institution charges the victim's account and holds the victim liable for the lost money.
- Reshipping Scams target people who want to supplement their income. They begin with an employment offer, usually email, to the victim. As with check-cashing scams, they offer legitimate-looking contracts and other documentation to make them appear real. Packages are then shipped to the victim's residence, with instructions to repackage the goods and reship the packages to another address. Once the package has been reshipped, the victim is "guilty" of receiving and shipping stolen property. The police then get involved, as the return address is that of the victim.
- Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) schemes, also known as pyramid schemes, involve recruiting new members to earn money. Legitimate MLM businesses do exist; however, they are based on selling products or services. Illegal pyramid schemes are based primarily on finding new recruits.
More Information on Internet Fraud and Scams
See the links below for more information on Internet frauds and scams: