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Tag Archives: Scam Alert

How to Avoid a Pyramid Scam

How to Avoid a Pyramid Scam

A challenge to finding a work-at-home opportunity is avoiding scams. One of the most feared swindles is the pyramid scheme. Unfortunately, most people do not know what a pyramid scheme is. As a result, they pass up viable direct sales opportunities they erroneously believe are pyramids, but sometimes get caught up in Internet or “investment” schemes that are illegal pyramids.

So what is a pyramid? First, a pyramid scheme is not defined by its shape. If the shape determined legality of an organization, the government and most businesses would be illegal since the hierarchy is a pyramid. Second, the act of recruiting others into a business opportunity doesn’t automatically mean a business is a pyramid scheme. Instead, a pyramid is a scam that promises monetary benefit without a quality product or service. In an illegal network marketing scam, participants are paid to recruit new members instead of on product sales. This is where things can get confusing. While you can earn income by introducing new business builders into a network marketing company, your income should NOT be based on recruitment. Instead, legitimate income in network marketing is based on you and your team’s product and service sales. Some Internet programs try to get by this rule by having a “membership” program with junk ebooks or services to qualify as products. You can spot these because the focus is on recruiting not on providing a product or service. Be suspicious of any business that focuses on payment per recruit.

Bernie Madoff ran a pyramid scheme in which people thought they were putting their money into legitimate investments; however, Bernie did not invest the money. Instead, he “paid” initial investors with money from newer investors. I had a friend who was invited to an investment “club” whereby he could invest $5000 and the club then would help him find five other people to invest $5000. Essentially the scam promised to net $20,000 from a $5,000 investment. Sometimes these clubs are called “gifting” programs, but regardless of what they’re called, they are illegal because they promise financial gain without a product, service or legitimate investment instrument.

Ultimately, if the only way to make money is by getting others to “join”, then it’s probably a pyramid scheme. But if the income is based on the sale of a product or service, or a legitimate investment tool (i.e. stocks), then it’s probably safe. Before joining any program, do your research. Scammers are clever in their deception and will try to make their scam look legit. So don’t be afraid to investigate, ask questions and seek expert opinions before joining any money-making venture.

About Leslie Truex
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
Connect with Leslie: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Google + | Pinterest
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Note: Work-At-Home Success contains advertising as well as screened work-at-home jobs and resources. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive compensation if you register or buy using the link. Occasionally, WAHS publishes "Supporting Contributor" posts or paid reviews for which compensation is paid. These posts are marked as such. All opinions are my own. Click here for full details and disclosures.


Scam Alert: Job Email from “CareerBuilder”

Work-At-Home Success Scam Alert

I received this email about a “job” that on first glance appears to be from CareerBuilder. However, red flags always go up when I receive an email about a job and upon closer investigation, I can say this email is a scam or possibly worse, a way to hijack your computer. Here’s why:


scamemail


1)  It’s to “undisclosed recipients”.  This means it’s bulk mailed to thousands of people. No company is going to bulk mail thousands of people with a job offer or announcement.

2) What is a secret consumer? I’m guessing it’s mystery shopping, but the fact that it doesn’t use that term suggests to me that this email isn’t from the United States.

3) It has an attachment. Always be suspicious of attachments, even from people and companies you know unless you’re expecting it. Obviously I didn’t open the attachment, but I suspect it’s some sort of script to hijack my machine and/or get access to information that would allow identity theft.

4) Although the email says from “jobs@careerbuilder.com”, taking a look at the email headers, we can can that CareerBuilder’s email is being spoofed.

emailheaders2

Tracing the IP address of 78.46.124.177, I find that it’s located in Germany. And if you look at the bottom, it says that “78.46.124.177 is not allowed to send mail from careerbuilder.com.” Plus you’ll see that it passed through a variety of servers (127.0.0.1 is in Sweden and 212.227.94.60 is in Germany). My email gets spoofed all the time, which makes me crazy! Scammers use well-known names (i.e. CareerBuilder, The Red Cross, etc) in hopes you’ll be tricked into a false sense of security. After all, you trust these companies.

What’s important for you to understand and remember is that the odds of you getting a legitimate job offer or announcement in your email is practically nil. It’s so unlikely that you should be suspicious of any email about a job you get. Employers don’t have to send out bulk email or search job databases to find employees because they’re already inundated with applications. If you get an email from CareerBuilder or any other job site, log into your account to get information (don’t click on links in these types of email either). Even then, be careful as scammers will contact you through job search sites.

The only time you should consider an email about a job is from an employer you applied to. That email should be directed specifically to you by name and be clear that it’s related to a specific job you applied to. Any time you apply to a job, keep a list of the name and job title so you can refer to it to make sure the email is legitimate.

About Leslie Truex
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
Connect with Leslie: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Google + | Pinterest
Sign up for the newsletter below to get more great tools and resources.



Note: Work-At-Home Success contains advertising as well as screened work-at-home jobs and resources. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive compensation if you register or buy using the link. Occasionally, WAHS publishes "Supporting Contributor" posts or paid reviews for which compensation is paid. These posts are marked as such. All opinions are my own. Click here for full details and disclosures.