These days, working from home is pretty common. It’s a win-win for both those hoping to avoid a commute, and companies looking for talent from all over the world. You might even get a call or message about a job opportunity — but how do you know it’s legit? If a company asks for sensitive info (like your Social Security number) before they hire you — or they say they need you to make an upfront payment — it’s a scam.
Scammers have been reaching out to people, pretending to be companies that offer at-home employment. These scammers are supposedly hiring for positions in data processing, among other fields. But after interested applicants finish long interviews, the interviewer says to give their Social Security number and other personal info. Then, the “company” sends them a check to “buy equipment.” But that check is for more than the amount needed, so they tell you to send the leftover money back to the company — or to someone else. That’s a scam.
Scammers promise you a job, but what they want is your money and personal information. So, before you accept a job offer:
- Do a search online. Look up the company’s name, email address, and phone number, plus the words “scam,” “review,” or complaint.”
- Start with sources you’re sure are legit. Try visiting sites like your state’s Career OneStop.
- Never bank on a “cleared” check. No legit employer will send you a check, tell you to buy stuff with it, and then ask you to send money to cover the balance. The check will bounce, and you’ll have lost the money you sent them.
By Andrew Rayo, FTC