It is unfortunate that I am having to write this post but considering we are here to talk about working online, it is pretty much a requirement to talk about online scams.
Internet Scammers are Smarter than You
The sooner you begin to think in this way, the safer you are to being one of their victims. Online scams come in many different packages and they are always changing and moving. They are never idle as their scams can only be successful for a short period before someone calls them out and they have to move on. They will always be a step or two ahead of you.
Right now a scammer is getting into the minds of online job seekers and they are pretty successful at making a lot of money from innocent people.
Current Online Scams To Watch For
Some of the most reliable and trustworthy online companies are being imitated. Scammers are posing as employees of companies like Trendsource and Fancyhands. As a job seeker we research these companies and all seems A-Okay.
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After feeling comortable with an online company it is easy to share information such as your cell phone number and address. This information is often sold to hundreds of businesses that now think your are a new ‘lead’ for their products and they bombard you with calls. Or you begin receiving spam in your texts or emails. Your contact information is valuable and any online cheater will take advantage of a way to sell you out.
These scammers are going even further and sending people checks that often for the purpose of purchasing software you need to do the job they are hiring you for. They will often ask you to purchase software or equipment from specific places and then later the check your bank accepted bounces. You are out the money and the internet scammers have already moved on to something else leaving you no trail to follow.
Some of these are a little more simple and not as obvious. You do the work they ask of you but then they disappear as soon as you ask where your payment is. This just gave internet scammers free work and as long as they keep moving, they continue to get free work.
How to Protect Yourself from Internet Scammers
My advice is always the same. Trust your instincts. Many victims of scams will tell you they hesitated at some point and sensed that something just was not right. But in hopes they found an amazing opportunity to make money for themselves and their families, they proceeded further- shutting up their internal smarter version of themselves.
Another suggestion is to look deeper than the surface. If someone is claiming to represent an established online business like Trendsource, look at their email address. Does it end with @trendsource.com? If the email does not match the companies website, then put on the breaks. If you received a phone call or a text from someone, Google that number and see what kind of results you see.
If you have any doubts, never hesitate to contact the company the scammer is claiming to represent directly.
Already Been Scammed? Here is what you can do:
You have a lot of ways to report the fraudulent activity of scammers
Report it to The National Fraud Information Center.
Let the National Consumers League know all about your situation.
Get the CyberCops on your side.
File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
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Here is a great list of additional Fraud Prevention and Reporting Links.
Simply sharing your experience online in as many scam prevention sites as you can, could help prevent another victim.