It’s that time of year when many people look for ways to make extra money for the holidays. Seasonal work is nothing new, but in the high-tech world we live in – protecting yourself from scammers can seem like a job itself.
“You know you’re trying to make some extra money for the holidays or something like that, anything ramps up, do your homework, do all the research you can,” explained CEO Tony Binkley of the Better Business Bureau of Greater East Tennessee.
Also, don’t trust just one source.
When looking for side jobs online, check out the company. How long have they been in business? Don’t be afraid to be skeptical and ask for names of previous customers.
“Unfortunately these scammers are good and they take advantage of what are reputable opportunities and turn it into a scam or some kind of scheme to take your money, because that’s all scammers want,” said Binkley.
Scammers want your money and if they can’t get that directly, then they’ll take your identity and in turn, take your money.
Scammers know you’ll be looking to make some extra cash and will try to prey on your vulnerability.
“And there are some legitimate opportunities out there but again, you have to be careful, do your homework and don’t necessarily believe all their claims, ask for some proof,” Binkley said.
The biggest downfall, Binkley says, is not what you may not get paid for – if you do the work – but what information you give out in order to get it.
“If you give out your name, address and social security number… most employers ask for a social security number and you’re giving it to a scammer? They can do anything they want to do,” Binkley explained.
That includes applying for a credit card, filing a fake tax return, or anything else they may want to do.
The BBB reminds people around this time of year, no legitimate employer will require you to pay a fee or make an investment as a condition of employment, many “work at home” schemes do.
You can always contact the BBB, State Attorney General or the TN Department of Consumer Affairs to check out a business as well.