AG Hill: Be Wary of Work-From-Home Scams During COVID-19 Pandemic

(INDIANAPOLIS) – Attorney General Curtis Hill today warned Hoosiers to beware of work-from-home scams during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Attorney General Curtis Hill

“Fraudsters have long tried to make money by offering bogus work-from-home opportunities,” Attorney General Hill said. “Typically, these scammers lure would-be victims to spend money u front by falsely promising future earnings.”

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that many fraudsters are currently using illegal robocalls to make such pitches. Work-from-home scams might also come via emails, websites or print publications. Learn more at the FTC website.

“Obviously, people are particularly susceptible to these kinds of tactics during the current health crisis,” Attorney General Hill said, “when many individuals are already staying home and sometimes facing layoffs or job uncertainties.”

Anyone receiving an automated call from an unknown source offering a work-from-home opportunity is best-advised to hang up immediately, Attorney General Hill said.

Common “opportunities” supposedly available include starting an internet business, stuffing envelopes, craftwork, rebate processing, medical billing, undercover shopping/dining, or illegitimate multilevel marketing.

The FTC’s Business Opportunity Rule requires many sellers of work-from-home opportunities to supply a one-page disclosure that identifies the seller; certain legal actions involving the seller; refund and cancellation policies; a separate earnings claim statement (if making specific promises about how much one might earn); and a list of references. These disclosures are required seven days before an offeree signs a contract or makes any payments.

If a seller offers a disclosure, one should review it closely and independently research the company. One should consider asking specific questions about the job duties; the nature and frequency of compensation; and any costs that the at-home worker is expected to pay in advance.

Go online to report any suspected scams to the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General. If you need additional information regarding the Office’s Consumer Protection Division, please call 1-800-382-5516.