Now that you are retired, you might be looking for ways to supplement your fixed income. You could take a part-time job, but you would rather work from home and set your own hours. Working in your pajamas sounds terrific. When they promise that you can make thousands of dollars for just a little work in your spare time, it is hard to resist.
Unfortunately, most “work-from-home” gigs are scams. Whenever you see an ad for a “get rich quick” opportunity, you can believe that someone will get rich. However, it is the scammer who makes the money, by taking it away from you. Here are some ways to avoid getting duped by “get rich quick” scams aimed at seniors.
Working from Home
The ad says you can make big bucks doing seemingly simple tasks. These con artists rope in large numbers of people by creating so-called jobs that most people think they could perform, regardless of their educational level or work experience. Some of the common work-from-home scams include:
- Medical or dental billing. They charge you up to $8,000 for training and equipment. They promise technical support and leads for you to get clients. After you spend all that money, they give you a list of doctors or dentists. However, when you reach out to them, you find out they do not need your services. Many medical professionals already have established companies performing their billing tasks.
- Assembly work. The company says it will pay you to put the finishing touches on some products. You must buy the materials and equipment from them. They then refuse to pay you for the work you have done, claiming the quality of your work is not acceptable. You are stuck with products that no one wants to buy.
- Internet research. In this scam, they say you will perform internet searches and fill out a form showing your results. The con artists demand a small payment for shipping and handling to send you the forms. The purpose of this trick is to get your credit card information. The fraudsters will then run up charges on your credit card.
How to Spot a Work from Home Fraud
There are some legitimate opportunities to work from home and earn a modest income to supplement your retirement income. However, many of the ads you might see are con artists trying to dupe you and steal your money. Here are some topics a lawful company should explain to you in writing:
- The total cost to get started. If you must pay for expensive equipment, materials, supplies, training or other fees, the outfit is likely a scam.
- The specific tasks you will have to perform, who will pay you, when they will pay you and whether they will pay you wages or a salary.
- What you will have to do to earn as much money, as they talk about in their ad. The Federal Trade Commission requires them to give you an earnings claim statement, if they make you buy something from them to get started and they talk about how much money you can make from home.
We want you to have the information you need, so scammers cannot get the best of you. Be sure to consult an elder law attorney near you to find out how to avoid con artists.
AARP. “How to Spot Work-From-Home Scams.” (accessed August 15, 2018) https://www.aarp.org/work/working-at-50-plus/info-2018/how-to-spot-work-from-home-scams.html