The Fraud Examiner

Work-From-Home Scams

Julia Johnson, CFE     
Research Specialist, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners                                 

Companies that allow their employees to work from home have increased in popularity recently, partly due to the global pandemic that has required social distancing and created financial hardship for some. Individuals in the workforce are turning to various home-based job opportunities as a way to supplement their primary income or for the chance to work entirely from the comfort of their own homes. 

Some home-based jobs entice potential employees to come work for them by promoting the position as one in which they can become their own boss and earn thousands of dollars a month. While some of these job opportunities are legitimate, there are some that are scams aimed at eager individuals looking to earn money. These fraudulent positions are commonly posted on social media or job search sites. Although there are various ways in which fraudsters target individuals looking to work from home, common schemes involve internet businesses, medical billing and multilevel marketing.


Assembly and crafting schemes

One common work-from-home scheme involves companies that advertise jobs involving crafts or other products that need assembling. In this scheme, the victim is required to make a large up-front payment to the company in exchange for the equipment and supplies that are necessary to perform the job. The victim is promised that they will quickly recover their investment and make profits once they finish producing the goods. After the victim spends time crafting or assembling the specified product and submits them to receive payment for the work they have done, the company refuses to pay the victim. The company might claim that the finished goods are not up to standard or that more work must be done to collect payment. Victims are left with expensive equipment and supplies that they have paid for without receiving the income they were promised.

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