We've learned criminals are actively targeting people in our area. They promise easy money for simple work, but as Target 11 Consumer Investigator Robin Taylor found out, many of the opportunities are bogus.
The jobs always sound fantastic! You can make thousands of dollars a month while staying at home with the kids. All you have to do is surf the Internet.
Does that sound a little too good to be true? Well, it probably is, and that should send up a red flag.
One website I was alerted to looked as if it was a legitimate news organization’s blog, with an article about a work-at-home opportunity written by a reporter.
It included a picture of a young mother with her baby, and it claimed she was making $10,000 a month working part-time.
Scroll down and there's a picture of a check for $5,000 with the name and address blurred out, along with several testimonials.
"These scams typically target mothers who want to stay at home with their children," said Caitlin Vancas with the Pittsburgh Better Business Bureau.
When I showed her the website, several red flags went up immediately.
"There was no description of the actual job in any of the copy," said Vancas.
It turns out the company is from the United Kingdom, where the employment laws are different, and the U.S. government has no jurisdiction.
And all those testimonials, well if you read the disclaimer at the very bottom of the page, it says the stories are just "an illustrative example” that are, “not to be taken literally."
"It could be that they're paid spokespeople for the company. It could be that the company actually wrote the description themselves," said Vancas.
I also got a tip about thieves combing resumes on CareerBuilder.com for potential victims.
A local woman got a call from someone with a foreign accent promising her a high-paying work-at-home opportunity. All he needed was her Social Security number. She got wise and didn't give it to him. If she had, she could have been a victim of identity theft.
"Never disclose any financial information, sensitive information such as your Social Security number or bank accounts before you've been hired," said Vancas.
Career Builder has an excellent reputation with the Better Business Bureau. They even have a fraud department and warnings on their site about work-at-home schemes.
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.