Con artists are taking advantage of the nation's high unemployment rate by cashing in on "work from home job" scams.
There are "some" legitimate options, but it's important to be skeptical as you consider what look like opportunities.
One of these scams promised people a chance at making thousands of dollars a week working at home and mailing postcards.
"Consumers were told they would earn $1 for each postcard they processed," said Daniel Forrester, U.S. Postal Inspector. "All they had to do was place a pre-addressed label which promoted a mortgage assistance project and send it back to the company."
The victims would fill out a form and pay an upfront fee. Then, they would receive a "starter" package.
"Usually they are enticed in the package by what they are applying for: a promised wage and a certain enrollment fee they are responsible for," said Forrester.
Postal inspectors got involved after receiving hundreds of complaints from employees.
"They were never paid the wage promised," said Forrester. "For the first time, they were told someone would have to actually buy the mortgage product to be paid."
Employees were out the upfront fee with no prospect of future money.
"Consumers should be aware of any work at home scheme that asks you to pay a fee upfront," said Forrester. "A company claiming to pay you thousands of dollars for a job that could cost pennies, just apply logic."
Postal inspectors also strongly recommend doing research on a company before applying for a job.
In this case, the con-artist running the scheme had been charged five separate times for engaging in the exact same fraud.