Working from home

Working from home is attractive for many reasons, and there are many well established franchise operators that enable a great deal of freedom to work independently, but...

Is the opportunity too good to be true? Many involve small rewards for a great deal of work and others may implicate the unwary in criminal offences, including money laundering.

The sales pitch

  • An opportunity published in a newspaper or magazine, online, by email or even at the side of the road
  • You can make easy money by working at home, or by setting up your own online business
  • You could act as in intermediary - filling envelopes, posting items, making phone calls, assembling items, mystery shopping, selling items, processing payments - the list is endless
  • These activities may be part of a more elaborate fraud or ‘scam’.

You may have to:

  • Pay money up front to register with the scheme
  • Buy customer details
  • Buy products to sell
  • Involve other people in the scheme
  • Send money by Money Transfer to somebody you don’t know

You might discover

  • The leads are no good
  • The products are no good
  • The reward doesn’t justify the work
  • You’ve lost money and are in debt
  • You may have committed criminal offences
  • Your personal details are sold on to other scammers and you’ve become an easy target for identity fraud.

Look out for

  • Business opportunities that over promise
  • Adverts that tell you that you can sit back and let a business run itself
  • Accommodation addresses as the only contact addresses.
  • Contact details that include mobile phone numbers beginning with 07.
  • Web mail email addresses such as @gmail, @yahoo or @hotmail.
  • People who are difficult to contact, you have not met and are unable to prove who they are.

Money Mules

A money mule is somebody who uses their bank accounts to receive and make payments on behalf of another party.

Many work-from-home scams involve the use of personal bank accounts. Involvement in fraud or other criminal enterprise may lead the unwary to commit Money Laundering offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Don’t be tempted by seemingly easy offers for work .

Report any adverts for fraudulent business opportunities to the magazines, newspapers or web site operators that published them.

(Source: Met Police)


Crime Reduction Officer
Devon & Cornwall Police, Crime Reduction Dept
Police Headquarters
Middlemoor, Exeter

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