Safe from Scams: Online work at home ads

Those work at home advertisements can be enticing, but you shouldn't always believe what you read or hear.

"It looked really like a good position-- customer service, work from home, and I jumped on the opportunity for an interview," said Helen Kaluza, fraud victim.

Kaluza was eager to get back to work after she had been laid off after working for the same company for 20 years. The job offered a good salary and flexible hours-- so she accepted the online interview and got the job.

"I was going to receive a check in the mail overnight. The check was going to be funds that would allow me to purchase equipment that I would need in my house to allow me to do the job."

The instructions-- to deposit the $36,000 check, immediately withdraw the funds needed for equipment and send the remainder back to the employer via MoneyGram.

"The more I thought about it, the more I thought to myself that just didn't sound kosher. I went to Walmart and that was where they wanted me to now deposit two MoneyGrams," said Kaluza.

As Kaluza began talking to the Walmart associate she realized there was a problem.

"She just started laughing at me, and I said, 'it's a scam right?' And of course, she said, 'you know, even if you ask me to do this I won't, because, yes, it's 100-percent a scam.'"

Postal inspectors said conmen often use work-at-home opportunities as an attractive lure into their con.

"She deposited the money she took out of her own account back into her own account, waited for the check to clear. Low and behold, it comes back as a fraudulent check, she is out the $12, but luckily she isn't out the whole $3,500," said Ian Portega, US Postal Inspector.

Postal inspectors warn that if you can't get someone on the phone or talk to them in person, odds are it is a scam.
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