FBI warning targets work-from-home schemes

SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF)- The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued a consumer warning Wednesday, as thousands of consumers continue to lose money from work-from-home scams.

Officials claim scam victims are often recruited by organized cybercriminals through a variety of outlets, ranging from newspaper ads to online employment services and unsolicited emails.

Once a person is recruited for the job, officials say often times the consumer becomes a "mule" for cyber criminals to steal and launder money.

Now, federal officials are warning consumers to be on the lookout for these types of scams and to take precautions to avoid becoming a victim. Those looking for work are asked to be wary of work-from-home opportunities and to research a company before signing on for work.

Other tips from the FBI to avoid work-from-home scams include:

  • Be cautious about any opportunities offering the chance to work from home with very little work or prior experience. Remember: if it looks too good to be true, it usually is.
  • Never pay for the privilege of working for an employer. Be suspicious of opportunities that require you to pay for things up front, such as supplies and other materials.
  • Never give your bank account details to anyone unless you know and trust them.

A February 2010 crackdown coordinated by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has continued to target these types of schemes, many of which have been fueled by a slowing economy.

Those who believe they have become a victim of a work-from-home scam should contact their financial institution immediately. Any fraudulent activity or suspicious work-from-home offers should be reported to the Internet Crime Center.

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