Looking for a job? Beware of these work-from-home scams.

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STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — If you’ve been offered a job to work from home and be your own boss, you might be the target of a work-from-home scam.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has allowed for more opportunities to work from home, but the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) said the situation has also opened more doors for scammers.

Some scammers post work-from-home jobs on online career websites asking job seekers to receive packages and mail them to another address, sometimes to another country, says USPIS. These packages often contain merchandise purchased with stolen credit cars or counterfeit money orders.

Other scammers, USPIS said, might have you stuff envelopes and make you a part of a scam.

“Remember: modern mailing techniques and equipment have virtually eliminated the need for home workers to perform legitimate envelope stuffing, addressing and mailing services. Plus, your paycheck from one of these scams could be counterfeit, too,” said USPIS.

The best defense against these scams is to know about them. Here are some common red flags that could indicate a scam, according to USPIS.

  • Guaranteed jobs. Don’t let this catch phrase put you in a trap. The jobs are not guaranteed, and, many times, they don’t even exist.
  • High-paying positions that don’t require special training. Big bucks? Little work? Don’t believe it.
  • On-the-spot job offers. While a job offer on the spot without even an interview sounds too good to be true, think about it — would you hire someone without an interview?

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself from falling victim to a scam when seeking a work-from-home job, according to USPIS.

Check directly with the company

If someone offers you a job at a company and mentions it by name, verify the company.

Legitimate companies and websites will have corporate contact information, physical addresses, phone numbers, terms and conditions, and privacy policies. Contact the Human Resources (HR) department of that company directly to verify if the job opportunity is legitimate.

Get any job offer in writing

If the company offering the job is legitimate, it should be able to provide you with all the details in writing.

Check out who is offering the job

Check out any individual or company offering to help you find a job with the Better Business Bureau, your state’s attorney general’s office and your state’s consumer affairs office before you agree to let them help you.

Verify any unexpected compensation

Postal Money Orders can be verified using the Money Order Verification System at 1-866-459-7822 to determine if a money order is valid (48 hours to 90 days after the issue date). Business or cashier’s checks may be validated by contacting the issuing bank.

Report a scam as soon as possible

The sooner you contact the authorities, the sooner they may be able to help you — and others.

Report scams immediately to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service by calling 877-875-2455 or at www.uspis.gov/report.

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