Español | Work from Home Scams
Today’s work world is vastly different than when Labor Day was first celebrated more than 130 years ago. Today, more and more people are working from home for companies halfway around the country or even the globe. But with this new flexibility comes a new risk of falling victim to scammers looking to take advantage of people wanting to work from home.
The scams can promise work on medical billing, data entry or starting an online business, but they all require paying something up front. Once you start paying, the requests for more money for training never stop and in return you get a lot of useless information or requests to recruit more people into the scheme.
There are genuine work-from-home jobs out there. The trick is knowing how to spot the real opportunities in a sea of empty — and costly — promises. Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
Small Scale Cyber Attacks
If you do business with a national retailer or bank, chances are you’ve had your identity compromised at one time or another. These large scale cyber attacks have unfortunately become commonplace, but it’s important to know that criminals are trying just as hard to hack you as they are big corporations. Personal cyber attacks can come in the form of malicious attachments that steal personal information from your computer. They can also come in the form of email attacks, called phishing, appearing to come from a trusted source and asking you to confirm a password or verify personal information.
Be careful online and check your emails for common warning signs like misspellings, generic greetings, free offers or urgent requests for action. Never click on suspicious links and always look up call back numbers rather than relying on those listed in the message.
Gift Cards and Fraud
You see them in just about every store you shop in, colorful kiosks filled with gift cards. Gift cards for everything from coffee, to movies to video games. What you don’t realize is those colorful cards can also be the currency of fraud.
Gift cards are one of the top ways today’s scammers steal money from their victims. They convince their targets to purchase gift cards and share the numbers and security codes. Once shared, the scammer drains the value of the card and disappears. Keep this in mind: if someone asks you to pay for something by gift card, it’s a scam.
The ability of technology to connect us to family and friends is amazing. Grandparents can talk online with their grandkids, high school friends can stay in touch from across the country and you can meet new people with similar interests every day. However, the distance and remote nature of digital communications means you often don’t know exactly who you’re connecting to.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, scammers stole nearly half a billion dollars in 2018 by posing as someone else online. These impostor scams take many forms. They can pretend to be government agencies, a burgeoning love interest, or a long lost friend. However, they all have one thing in common: at some point, they will ask you for money.
Here’s a rule to live by: if someone you’ve only met online and never in person asks you for money, assume it is a scam.
Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 1-877-908-3360 to report a scam or get help if you’ve fallen victim.