A year or two ago I saw an ad for a financial based work at home opportunity that sounded very promising. The opportunity was free and listed specific requirements and had a very professional looking website. All these are usually signs of a valid work at home job. The "job" was to accept checks on behalf of international clients who for some reason weren't able to cash these checks in their location. In return I would be provided a portion of the check like a check cashing fee. At first glance this just didn't seem to make sense to me.
But I guess because I was so desperate to find a work at home opportunity I decided to visit their website for more details. I was very impressed on how professional looking the website was and they even had documentation showing that they were part of some consumer protection agency and some other official agencies. So as a result of this I decided to bite. They asked me to fill out some paperwork on their website and then I had to fax my driver's license to the company for verification purposes.
This all sounded very legitimate to me at this point. But still something nagged me about it all. So I sent an email letting these guys know that I run a very big work at home website and that if this was legitimate I would be happy to share the information with others. I think that may have been my saving grace. After I faxed over my information and sent my email. I never heard back from the company. That lead me to believe something must be wrong.
But a few weeks passed and the experience was forgotten. I come home one day and there was a message from my local police department asking me to come in. Needless to say I was terrified.
I'm a black male so I have a natural distrust of police because of my own experiences as a youth of being unfairly targeted and searched on numerous occasions. But I knew I didn't do anything wrong so I called the detective back and he asked if I would come to the precinct. So despite my innocence I was still very nervous so I decided to bring my wife to calm my nerves.
The detective was very friendly and nice. He asked if I ever heard of said company (I don't remember the name of it because of my "mad cow" affliction. lol) And I said yes, I do. I explained that I found them online and had applied to work from them but never heard back from them when I mentioned I ran a major work at home website. The detective explained to me that they and several law enforcement agencies all across the country had been investigating this company and had raided their offices recently. Apparently the opportunity was a big scam and they must have received a lot of complaints about this fraud opportunity which lead to this massive investigation. I asked the detective how he knew to contact me. He said they had found my faxed driver's license and many others. So they were all contacting the various victims to piece together any other missing information or people that may have been part of the scam. Needless to say I was very happy that they told me about this.
Fortunately for me I never received any checks to cash for this company so I wasn't in any trouble with the cops or my bank. But it was a great learning experience for me. If I followed the steps listed in my scam section, I probably would've avoided this whole ordeal. Fortunately for me I lost nothing. But thousands aren't as fortunate. Many end up being in serious trouble with their banks where they have to pay back large amounts of money and some have also had their identity stolen. I was very lucky to say the least.
Fake checks and wire scams must be a huge problem because apparently some people have taken noticed and created the website FakeChecks.org. I came across this scam prevention website on some commercials here in New York. They really cover how this scam works, what you can do and also provide some other insight on other scams. So please be sure to check out FakeChecks.org
They have some great content and videos. You can actually see some of the commercials there. Watching the commercials really brings home how the internet can distort common sense real world judgment.
FakeChecks.org is a must in your scam prevention tactics.