Consumer Alert: Look before you lick when considering work-at-home deal
Two sisters and one of their husbands were charged in a work-at-home scam.
If you're looking to make a little extra cash from the comfort of your own home, be careful where you spend your time and your money. Postal inspectors have some advice of how to spot a legitimate offer and a bogus deal.
"They could work from home and get paid $10 for every envelope they stuffed," says Stephanie Barrett, a U.S. Postal Inspector.
It sounds like a great deal. A work-at-home opportunity claimed, for a $150 fee up front, employees could make thousands.
"The victims would receive 200 envelopes thinking they are going to earn $2,000 for stuffing these envelopes," says Barrett.
Unfortunately, it was a scam. Barrett says there are several flags to look out for.
"They are only receiving money for responses received and that is less than one percent," says Barrett.
The second red flag was immediately apparent.
"One of the big misrepresentations that was left out of these letters was that people had to buy their own stamps. In the letter, it stated the stamps were paid for," says Barrett.
Postal inspectors began working the case and caught the two sisters and one of their husbands behind the scheme.
"Over the eight years this scheme ran, there were about 25,000 victims totaling more than $3.5 million in losses," says Barrett.
Inspectors ended up seizing the house and 20 acres of land the husband and wife lived on which was worth more than $1 million.
Postal inspectors have some simple advice.
"Do their due diligence. Get on the internet, Google the name of the company, and put the word 'scam' behind the company. Look on the Better Business Bureau's website and verify that this company is a legitimate company," says Barrett.
Postal inspectors say after a four day trial and just 30 minutes of deliberations, the two women and man involved in the case were found guilty on all 30 counts against them. the husband and wife duo each received 12 years in prison.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Kathy Clayton at (712) 239-4100 x209. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at email@example.com.