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DeWine warns of work-from-home scams

Ohio Attorney General’s information

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today warned Ohioans to be cautious of opportunities to make extra money this holiday season. Some job offers and work-from-home opportunities are scams.

In 2014, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office has received nearly 100 complaints involving job or business-opportunity potential scams. The average reported loss is more than $1,300.

“It’s a time of year when many people could use extra cash, but if you have to send money in order to make money, it’s probably a scam,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We encourage Ohioans to research a job opportunity before going on an interview or providing any personal information.”

Examples of phony job opportunities can include:

Attorney General Mike DeWine
Attorney General Mike DeWine

Mystery shopping: A job seeker finds an offer to make money as a secret shopper. The first assignment is to receive and deposit a check, and then wire-transfer a portion of the funds to “evaluate” the transfer service. In reality, the job seeker will be wiring his or her own money to a con artist who has sent the job seeker a bad check.

Package processing: A job seeker finds an offer to work from home for a logistics company by receiving and shipping packages, but the company is bogus and the job seeker won’t make any money.

Vehicle advertising: An offer online claims individuals can make hundreds of dollars a week by wrapping their car in an advertisement for an energy drink or other product. The individuals are told they need to provide payment before the ad can be placed on their vehicle, but in truth it’s all a scam.

Babysitting: A babysitter receives an offer to work for a couple who has not yet moved into town. The couple supposedly needs the babysitter to check out their new apartment, so the couple sends the babysitter payment in advance. They ask the babysitter to deposit the payment, withdraw as much as possible, then purchase prepaid money cards and provide the couple with the cards’ numbers so they can provide the money to the “rental agent.” In reality there is no couple or babysitting job; it’s all a scam.

Regardless of the pitch, many of the scams follow a similar pattern. First the scam artist sends a realistic-looking check and asks the victim to deposit it. Once the check is deposited (but before it has cleared), the victim is told to wire or otherwise send a portion of the funds to someone else, possibly out of the country. Later, after the victim has sent his or her own money, the victim finds out from the bank that the deposited check was counterfeit.

To avoid scams, Attorney General DeWine encourages job seekers to research the company offering the work by contacting the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the local Better Business Bureau. Job seekers also can use a search engine to look up reviews by searching for the company’s name along with terms such as “complaint,” “scam,” or “review.”

Signs of a potential job scam include receiving a check before any work is performed, claims about making hundreds or thousands of dollars doing very little work, requests to wire transfer money or purchase prepaid money cards, and interviews conducted strictly through a messaging system.

To report a potential scam or to get help detecting a scam, individuals should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or call 800.282.0515.

POSTED: 11/29/14 at 8:40 am. FILED UNDER: News