I want everyone reading that is an aspiring virtual assistant, freelancer, or work from home…anything to be very careful when accepting jobs.
Even if you use trusted sites there are some scams out there that can get the best of you if you let them. I say this from experience.
A few days ago I was offered a job through a trusted freelance website (I am not naming the site because it is not their fault, they actually took the ad down after I applied for the job and wasn’t made aware).
The ad was placed in the website I sent a proposal, had an “interview” via Yahoo Instant Messenger and was filling out paperwork when something stopped me. I asked the person I was interviewing with if they were asking for my checking account number and they assured me they were not. I asked the employee what my hourly rate was and she said $25.00per hour (my stomach fell), not because the rate was good but because the rate was too good to be true. I have been working as a VA for the past 5 months now and have never come into an offer that has been so high. Don’t get me wrong I would love a legit opportunity to make money like that but in reality that is just ridiculous. I continued on not feeling right, so I continued very carefully. The employee I was working with me assured me that the company was on the level but I wasn’t sure.
Until Tuesday…I was sitting at my desk when the doorbell rang and it was Fed-Ex with an express envelope for me. I opened it and about fell over, in the envelope all alone was a lonely check for over 2,000 dollars. I heard an alarm going off in my head, got on Yahoo and chatted with this employee. I told her I received the check and this is where this gets really good. The employee told me to go out to my bank and deposit the check into the ATM right then! Then to scan the proof of deposit and send it to an email she provided and to send it to her as well, and I would get further instruction then. Okay now we know this is a scam!
I took all the information that I had collected on this so-called company (just because I do for every client I have) and brought it with me to the bank. I approached the teller and told her my story and basically added that I knew this wasn’t right and she scanned the check for me and said it was a “suspicious document”.
My heart dropped as I was holding my toddler in the bank. I was thankful that God gave me a brain and my Mother raised me to be cautious. But all I could think about was how someone was trying to cheat me out of the money I earned on my own. I was sad for the other people this scam has victimized and I was a little sad for myself because there was a tiny part of me that just wanted this all to turn out as me being “over-cautious” and I was given a great blessing that was going to be great for my family.
I got in my car a little heart-broken and sad for myself. I just sat in the car for a few minutes and thought “Why am I feeling sorry for myself?” I thought all about the things that I had, the great blessings I was bestowed in these last few months and felt really stupid for being upset. Sure the money would have been nice, and yes we could have used it to play catch up but at this moment my family has everything it needs. I have a home (a little worn because of the kids), clothes, food, cars, and most of all each other. I can’t or won’t trade what I have for something that is going to get in the way.
So lesson was learned, was also given a great subject to write on and the opportunity to warn others so they won’t become a victim of this. Don’t ever give any information away that can lead people to your bank accounts or identity!
Don’t ever let the thought of great money cloud your clarity! I am lucky that I used my head and not my heart to find out about this “job”.
I do want to let all my readers know that I am reporting this to the Internet Crime Complaint Center and will do everything in my power to assure this one scam will be no more. If you have had something like this happen to you or think you might be a victim then by all means report it to the link provided above.
I hope I have shed some light on work from home scams and that you avoid something this awful.
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I hope you stay tuned for my next post, as you can see I always have something interesting going on.