BBB: Beware Of Work-At-Home Scams - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

BBB: Beware Of Work-At-Home Scams

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Spend only a few minutes on your computer each day, and earn hundreds in the process. There's no shortage of online job postings that promise big paychecks for relatively little work. But consumer experts warn they are most likely a scam.

It sounded like an easy way to make some cash quickly, without even having to leave the house. San Diego resident Kunal Ahuja says he was offered a position as a payment processor after answering a help wanted ad on Craigslist.

"At first I kind of thought it was a scam," he said.

But Ahuja says he wanted to test it out. The clothing company, supposedly based in Switzerland, overnighted him a check for $4,200, instructing him to deposit it in his own checking account, keep 10 percent for his fee, then wire the rest of the money to an overseas account.

Sheryl Bilbrey, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau, says work-at-home scams are on the rise, often leaving their victims holding the bag for thousands of dollars while the scam operators are virtually untraceable.

"The money that you're wiring out, you are responsible for. The checks that get deposited, if they're false, you'll also be responsible for getting that money back in the bank. So you could be out a lot of money if you're not careful," Bilbrey said.

But Ahuja was careful, first calling the bank that the check was drawn from and learning that he wasn't the first to be targeted by this scam.

"There have been people falling for this for the past three months," he said.

To protect yourself from similar scams, experts advise you to never wire money to someone you don't know, be suspicious if there is no direct contact information for a company, especially an address or phone number, and beware of blatant spelling and grammatical errors in any correspondence.

"As you can see just by reading the email, it doesn't sound very professional," Bilbrey said of Ahuja's email.

It's a sign that law enforcement professionals should be contacted, and further contact with the company be cut off.

Consumer experts also advise online job seekers to be careful about what information they provide potential employers, making sure never to give out social security or bank account numbers over the phone or through email.

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