WORK-AT-HOME SCAMS

Dr. Sherry McCoy PhD

is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles. Follow SSSAP on Facebook . For more info re: SSSAP, contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com. Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or nbynews@juno.com.

WORK-AT-HOME SCAMS

Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD – Stop Senior Scams ℠ Acting Program*

Can you believe it’s April 2021!? The year is really rolling along.  And we are still in the midst of the world-wide coronavirus pandemic.  Things are getting better for many of us, especially seniors, as a large majority of us have now received the vaccine and therefore have some measure of assurance of immunity. This is the good news — although it’s important to remember that the vaccine is not enough on its own. Per the Center for Disease Control (CDC), washing your hands often, social distancing and wearing masks are still good ideas in order to stay safe. The bad news is – the economy is still ailing from the impact of the pandemic. And because of that, many seniors are looking to augment their monthly Social Security income with work-at-home jobs — such as stuffing envelopes, posting ads online, bill processing for medical offices, completing online surveys, or getting training to start a new work-at-home business, etc.  These are all fine ideas – if they are legit. But sadly, the con artists have inserted their greedy mitts into this mix, creating a slew of work-at-home scams, which has only gotten worse during the pandemic.  So now, we need to up our level of discernment in order not to get ripped off!  Here are some savvy tips to follow in order to steer clear of work-at-home fraud — https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2019/work-at-home.html

 

IT’S A RED FLAG —

  • If a job ad says
    • Little or no skills are required
    • You will receive high pay for little or no work
    • A work-at-home business is guaranteed to bring you high returns without risk in a short period of time
    • You have to pay in advance for training materials, supplies, certifications, etc.

 

DO’s and DON’Ts

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

  • Check out the company that is offering the work-at-home job. Are they legit?
    1. Contact your state consumer protection agency. (For a list of agencies in California, see https://www.usa.gov/state-consumer/california)
    2. Contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in your area and the area where the work-at-home company does business. What does the BBB have to say about this company?
  • Ask Questions — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that you ask the work-at-home company these questions:
    1. How will I be paid – salary or hourly wage?
    2. Who will pay me? How will I receive my pay?  When will the pay begin?
    3. What is the total cost of this new work-at-home business, and what exactly will I get in return for my money?
  • Familiarize yourself with the FTC’s Business Opportunity Rule which requires companies to disclose important info before you buy in. See this link for details — https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/bogus-business-opportunities
  • Check to see if the website offering work-at-home jobs has screened the job listings and companies offering this type of work. Are the listings legit?

 

DON’T

  • Assume that a work-at-home job ad is legitimate just because you see it in a well-known and respected publication or website! It could still be a scam.  If you see something suspicious, report it to the publication or website.
  • Sign any contract with a work-at-home company until you’ve done your homework and are satisfied it’s not bogus.
  • Believe work-at-home website testimonials. Oftentimes, these are fake stories, designed to make you believe you can earn big bucks, when the truth of the matter is you can lose big bucks!
  • Get involved if it is suggested that the primary way you earn money is by recruiting others to join the company. This is a red flag that it’s most likely a pyramid scheme!

 

WHERE TO REPORT SCAMS

If you believe you have been the target or victim of a of a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or online at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1.  If you have questions about Medicare fraud / abuse or believe you have been the victim of Medicare fraud contact the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP*) at 1-855-613-7080.  If you feel you have been the target or victim of a scam, you may also report it to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging’s Fraud Hotline at 1-855-303-9470.

 

SAVE THESE DATES

SSSAP is Going Virtual AGAIN in Collaboration with LAPL!

In February SSSAP had its first virtual library event in collaboration with Platt Library, and it was a great success!  Please join us in our 2nd virtual program with Palms Rancho Park Library on April 16th at 3pm. To receive a zoom link for this event, contact Freida Afary, Adult Librarian at afrieda@lapl.org.

Our 3rd virtual library program will be with Exposition Park – Dr. Mary McLeon Bethune Regional Library on May 6th at 3pm.  To RSVP and receive a zoom link for this event, please email Eugene Owens, Adult Librarian at eowens@lapl.org.  There will be a Q&A after each of these free virtual library programs.  We’d love to hear from you, and hope to see you there!

 

STOP SENIOR SCAMS ACTING PROGRAM on YOUTUBE

Although the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program (SSSAP) in-person performances are on hold during this time of the coronavirus pandemic, we are committed to continuing our education program through our videos on Zoom.

  • Our most recent video, called “Robocalls, Mail Fraud, and Merlin with the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program,” was released mid-October, 2020. Besides taking a look at scams that utilize robocalls and the U.S. Postal Service, this video also explores pet scams and features our friend “Merlin, the Cat!” Watch it here — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dA3noym9JPo&t=2s
  • For an overview of some of the most prevalent scams that target seniors in the United States, watch our video called “The Top Senior Scams with the Stop Senior Scams Acting Program.” — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cp097g7hTUg&t=13s

Please subscribe (free of charge) to the SSSAP YouTube Channel and you’ll be notified when new videos are released!  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjFjb-WPPr8KAXq1dlu1EvA  Together we can combat fraud!

Remember:  You may be a target, but you don’t have to be a victim!

*Dr. Sherry McCoy, PhD is a freelance writer & actor for the Stop Senior Scams ℠ Acting Program (SSSAP) in Los Angeles.  Follow SSSAP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SSSAP2016/?fref=ts.  For more info re: SSSAP, contact Adrienne Omansky at SSSAP4U@gmail.com.  Questions for the writer should be directed to “Dear Sherry” at Not Born Yesterday! P.O. Box 722, Brea, CA 92822 or nbynews@juno.com.

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