How to spot a scam
Financial Service Board
If you’re unsure about a financial services company, check the FSB register of regulated companies. If they’re not on it, don’t have anything to do with them.
Do online searches
Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.
Don’t pay upfront for a promise
Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear.
Consider how you pay
Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Wiring money through services like Checkers or other money transfers is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back.
Talk to someone
Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert — or just tell a friend.
Be skeptical about free trial offers
Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy. And always review your monthly statements for charges you don’t recognize.
Know who you’re dealing with
The company may not be offering to employ you directly, only to sell you training and materials and to find customers for your work.
Don’t believe that you can make big profits easily
Operating a home-based business is just like any other business—it requires hard work, skill, good products or services, and time to make a profit.
Get all the details before you pay
A legitimate company will be happy to give you information about exactly what you will be doing and for whom.
Beware of the old “envelope stuffing” scheme
In this classic scam, instead of getting materials to send out on behalf of a company, you get instructions to place an ad like the one you saw, asking people to send you money for information about working at home. This is an illegal pyramid scheme because there is no real product or service being offered. You won’t get rich, and you could be prosecuted for fraud.
Be wary of offers to send you an “advance” on your “pay.”
Some con artists use this ploy to build trust and get money from your bank. They send you a check for part of your first month’s “pay.” You deposit it, and the bank tells you the check has cleared because the normal time has passed to be notified that checks have bounced. Then the crook contacts you to say that you were mistakenly paid the wrong amount or that you need to return a portion of the payment for some other reason. After you send the money back, the check that you deposited finally bounces because it turned out to be an elaborate fake.