With high unemployment rates, many people are tirelessly searching for a job, and a pop-up on the computer telling you you can make the big bucks from your couch might sound pretty good.
But not all online jobs are legitimate ones.
A viewer wrote to us asking, "How can you tell when online jobs are a scam?"
Kelvin Collins with the Better Business Bureau, says calls on how to spot a fraudulent company happen every day.
He listed four key points to help you identify a job that could be a fraud.
He says a prospective employer who only wants to communicate through e-mail could be a red flag.
He says 90 percent of the time these companies operate outside of the U.S., so he says pay attention to broken English in the e-mail.
He also says if at any point the company asks you to wire transfer anything, you should end the contact immediately.
And finally, if the group asks for any information that you wouldn't give in a face-to-face interview, they could be a fake.
Collins says to never give personal information like your social security number or bank account information to a seemingly prospective employer.
He says often times a company will send you a check, say for $3,000 and tell you to send $2500 back, keeping $500 for your commission.
He says these checks are usually fake and even though it takes about three weeks for a check to bounce, your transfer gets to them immediately.
He says it's almost impossible to trace the money and get it back to you.
Collins says if you have fallen victim to a job scam that involved money, contact your local police department.
He also says you can contact the Better Business Bureau.
But in all, Collins says if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Collins sent us a list of sample fraudulent work e-mails he's seen over the past few months:
"Dear Sir or Madam,
This is a job offer I received from careerbuilders.com. It was sent to me without my applying for it. My resume is listed on careerbuilders.com, as is probably half of all unemployed Americans. I am of a mind that if it seems too good to be true, it certainly is. I am sure there are many desperate job seekers out there that would fall for this (scam?). PLEASE let people know via your website to look out for this company/offer. I don't know if you've had any reports of this one before, but I would be interested in knowing if you have.
"Having seen your resume I would like to offer you a position with our company. My name is Patricia Skidmore and I am the International Human Resource Manager of London Scientific Medical Solution PLC. I am pleased to inform you that we have an open position for you within our company.
Before we start I want to point out that you can work for us part time also even if you had a prior job before talking to us. All you have to do is check your e-mail a couple of times per day, a trip to your bank and a trip to a Western Union office or agent. You can use the "Find Agent Location" search function on the Western Union website to find an office close to you. With every check that you process you instantly earn 10% from its total value cash in hand and also a consistent bonus. How does it work: you will receive the first check as soon as you send back the filled contract with your actual name and address which we need to be able to send the check to you. Depending on how fast you will send the funds from the check back to us you will receive the next two checks and so on, each fast processed check yields two new checks to process. This is the dream job for many people that have joined us. There is no trick to it. You help us clear our funds from orders we receive from our customers in the US and we will repay you handsomely. You have our monies with you all the time while processing a check so you will keep your commission plus bonus instantly and at the end of the month you will receive the $1,000 salary as a fixed income at the address you specified in the contract (which can be changed afterwards if you relocate). Ask for the contract today and we can start in a few days as soon as we finish processing your information and a few verifications for safety. If you sign today you will receive your first check within one week. Don't miss out on this great chance to increase your income, ask for the contract and further details right now!
Our company was founded in 1972 and it has quickly grown to be one of the largest resellers in United Kingdom of medical equipment and apparatus as we as in the rest of Europe. We have contracts exclusively with hospitals and other medical companies and groups supplying several hundred types of products ranging from surgical needles and syringes to MRI and EKG machines and everything in between. Our partners include top manufacturers around the world such as GE Healthcare, Medtronic, Baxter International, Tyco Healthcare, Philips Medical Systems, Cardinal Health, Siemens Medical Solutions, Zimmer Holdings, et cetera. Our company has grown very fast during the last few years and now we have expanded our market and business to the United States. As such we have a high demand in terms of job openings in almost every state and we are looking for dedicated and hardworking individuals to work for us and help us expand.
Our success is due to the fact that we are able to meet our customer's demands in every shape or form and at any time. We are very flexible and we can honor our orders when others cannot. Very fast delivery system combined with the fact that we accept almost any type of payment and great customer support are the reasons why we have been able to grow so fast and took us to where we are today. We take great pride in what we do because it is not always easy to satisfy all customer demands while still processing the orders very fast and receiving payments for the products in a timely manner. We need you to work for us and bellow you will find the job description and what will be asked of you should you decide to accept our proposal.
* NO SALES INVOLVED! Very limited contact: you will not be involved in any kind of sales or contact with our customers;
* Zero fees policy: while performing this job you will encounter no fees to be paid in advance whatsoever;
* Respect privacy: no employee from our company will ever ask you for any sensitive information;
* Total transparency: everything you will do is legal under the European Union/United States and International laws as they are currently applied.
Your duties are:
* To receive payments from our customers which are mainly in form of checks (only U.S. emitted checks, no international checks will be sent to you; All check will be written in your name);
* Cashing the checks using your existing bank account; do not use checks-cashing stores, they charge too much, sometimes even 10% of the total value of the checks
* Forwarding as'' money in minutes'' by Western Union, we will pay all money transfer fees after you will deduct your 10% commission from each order you process.
Your benefits are:
* Commissions: 10% from each check your will process in the first month.
* Salary: within one month after receiving the first check you will receive $1,000 as fixed salary.
This is a commission based job, the faster you process orders the more your income will increase. This bonus is given to also cover internet, phone or gas bills. Please note that this salary will be sent after 30 days have passed since you received your first payment to process.
* Rewards for good performance: after two months of working for us an increase to 15% commission from all payments might be applied to your contract if you process and send all the transfers to us in a timely manner. In this case you will be earning around $1,200-1,300 per week as well as the $1,000 salary at the end of the month.
* Education reimburse
* Vacation (2 weeks for Exempt employees)
* 4 paid Company Holidays / 2 paid floating holidays
* Large and stable corporation
There are also bonuses for cashing the checks and sending the payment to us very fast:
* Cash the check same day: $150 for each check;
* Cash the check within 24 hours: $100 for each check;
* Cash the check within 48 hours: $ 50 for each check.
The $1,000 salary will be sent to you in form of a cashier check.
The job opening is that of a Representative within the US. The today's situation on the financial market requires us to open and fill several of these job positions within our company. This opening will help our company to reduce the time it takes to receive funding from orders that we receive each month and we offer you one of the highest incomes on the market today and the minimal expenditures of time.
With the number of orders we have we cannot put them on hold for fear of losing our customers, secondly we cannot cash these payments from the US soon enough, as international checks take about 28 working days to cash anywhere in Europe. We lose a lot of time and money each month because we have money transfer delays. Our clients could pay us where we want by sending checks to an US address. What we need you to do is to provide us an address where you can receive our customer checks. We need someone who can receive the money through this method of payment. Regarding the check process all you have to do is to receive the checks our customers will send to your address, take them to your bank, cash them and send the remainder amount to us after deducting all fees incurred and your commission. You will always take your commission upfront. All fees for transferring the funds will be supported from our share. Bonuses will apply for cashing checks within 24 hours upon receiving a check.
We make direct contact for sales of products. Once orders are received and processed we deliver the product to our customer (usually through USPS). The customer receives and checks the product and proceeds to send the payment. We accept all forms of payment but most of our customers pay using Bank Checks and so to solve this problem and not lose any of our customers we have decided to open this new job position. This job is legal according to the U.S. legislation as it is today. Local money transfers take but a few hours, so it will give us a possibility to get customer's payment almost immediately.
PAYMENT AND SALARY:
For example you receive a check as payment for 3000.00 USD, you deduct your commission (10%): 300.00 USD and then send to us the balance: 2700.00 USD. In the first month you will receive around 15-20 orders under 3,000.00 USD to process and after checking your performance records during that first month the orders you will receive, may increase from 3,000.00 upwards to 6,000.00 USD. For example 20 transactions each around 3000.00 USD gives you a total income of 6,000.00 USD per month and after establishing a close co-operation with us you'll be able to operate with larger orders and you'll be able to earn more. You will also deduct fees that are related to this job (gasoline, western union fees, bank commissions, etc.) from our balance, not from your commissions. At first the checks you will receive will vary from: $500.00 to $3,000.00. We will also send you a 1099 Form for tax deduction on your part. Our payments will be issued out in your name and you can have them cashed in your existing bank account, we don't accept newly created bank accounts because it slows the cashing process. Deduct your percentage and forward the balance to the company attorney manager via a western union money transfer, the name will be given to you later after cashing a payment. This job takes only 3-7 hours per week. You'll have a lot of free time for taking up another job; you'll get good income and a regular job. This job is very challenging and you should understand it. We are looking only for the employee who satisfies our requirements and will be an earnest assistant.
We have health insurance and the 401K retirement savings plan as well as all the other standard benefits that a major company usually provides. Unfortunately we can only start talking about this after the first month has passed since you're working for us. We consider the first month as a trial period. In any case you do not have to pay for anything in advance; there are no hidden costs for performing this job. Any fee you might encounter will be deducted from our share of the funds before you send it to us.
You will receive next instructions step by step.
Unfortunately we cannot setup any interviews now, as we do not have any representatives in US. We will be able to come to meet within the next few months when the new offices will be opened in your area!
Please let me know if you are still interested. Within 24 hours after we will receive this information we will forward you a copy of the contract you have to fill in, sign and e-mail back to us."