Work-at-home job scam prompts involvement from postal inspectors

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Consumers be warned - con artists are taking advantage of the nation's high unemployment rate by dispensing scams through the mail that guarantee participants subsequent compensation for a job they perform. The catch? They have to use their own money for the task or provide a "start-up" fee.

U.S. Postal Inspector Daniel Forrester has seen this con before, and after receiving hundreds of complaints, he and several other postal inspectors had to get involved.

"Consumers were told they would earn $1 for each postcard they processed," Forrester said. "All they had to do was place a pre-addressed label which promoted a mortgage assistance project and send it back to the company."

Normally applicants fill out a form, pay an upfront fee and then receive a "starter" package. Forrester said victims of this scam are usually enticed by a wage promised after they return an enrollment fee.

However, after paying this upfront fee, victims of the scam did not see any type of reimbursement or future money.

"Consumers should be aware of any work at home scheme that asks you to pay a fee upfront," Forrester said.

The best way to avoid being scammed? Use common sense, said Forrester.

"A company claiming to pay you thousands of dollars for a job that could cost pennies," Forrester said. "Just apply logic."