Fraud Awareness

Employment/Business Opportunities

 

 

Overview

Employment/business opportunity schemes come in many forms but generally have one thing in common. They offer people the opportunity to make a significant amount of money or to earn "guaranteed income" through buying into a business opportunity or selling products or services. Common offers include the opportunity to work part-time or to work from home selling products while making a sizeable income. These frauds are designed to obtain people's money and/or to steal one's identity. Scam artists will advertise in classified ads, contact individuals whose resumes are available online, and even randomly contact individuals via phone, e-mail or the United States mail.

When people show interest in the employment or selling opportunity, the scam artists may require that formal "employment" documents be completed. These documents request personal information, including the victim's home address, date of birth, social security number, driver's license, birth certificate and even personal banking information. All of the victim's personal information then can be sold and/or used for fraudulent purposes. Some employment scams may require people to send or to pay a fee to start the employment or sales opportunity; however, any items that are deposited from the scam artist will eventually come back as fraudulent. Account holders who deposit items into their banking account will be held responsible for the full value of the deposit to their financial institution.

Additional information on various types of employment/business opportunity scams can be found at Monster.com's Security Center and the Internet Crime Complaint Center Internet Crime Schemes.
If you feel that your identity has been stolen as a result of an employment business/opportunity scam, you may want to read the Federal Trade Commission's brochure, "Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft." This publication discusses ways to prevent from becoming a victim of identity theft and steps to take if you feel you have been a victim.

Consumers can also learn about a business or file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

Who to Contact

If you have been a victim of an employment/business opportunity scam, contact your local police department.

You can also file a complaint with the Internet Complaint Center (IC3), which is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices. The FTC can be reached at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or visit www.ftc.gov.

If you are a U. S. resident and receive a fraudulent employment/business opportunity solicitation in the mail, this falls under the jurisdiction of the U. S. Postal Service. You should:

  • Print VOID across the face of each check/draft.
  • Place the check/draft and any enclosures back in the envelope.
  • On the back of the envelope (outer envelope if double) print the name of the scam, EMPLOYMENT/BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY FRAUD, ATTN: U.S. POSTAL INSPECTOR.
  • Drop the envelope off at any Post Office, back side up, so postal employees can see what you are handing them.

You may wish to file a mail fraud report to alert the U. S. Postal Service to go with the above.

Tips for Preventing

  • If it is too good to be true, it most likely is.
  • Take caution when responding to offers that claim "no experience necessary."
  • Research the authenticity of the company. Don't rely solely on provided Websites because background checks are not required for people placing a site on the Internet.
  • Don't provide your personal information such as social security number, birth certificate, driver's license number or other personal information until the business has been authenticated.
  • Beware of business opportunities that require your assistance to gain access to the U. S. banking system.
  • Be cautious when dealing with people outside of your own country and/or people you do not know.
  • Use caution when you receive unsolicited employment/business opportunities.
  • Consider contacting the Better Business Bureau to help determine the legitimacy of the company.
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