When "Carpe Diem" and "Caveat Emptor" Collide: Online and Work-From-Home Money Scams

The nation is in rough shape right now, with an infrastructure and economy suffering after eight years of neglect and abuse that initiated a period of record job losses. Even after a massive stimulus package, folks are still finding money tight, and jobs scarce. Conditions are forcing people to look toward new and different opportunities and within different venues to make a living; the conditions are also creating a perfect opportunity for scammers, who have been having a field day with the growing numbers of potential victims.

Many of those who have been forced to look for income opportunities outside of their normal areas of experience have turned to online and work-from-home opportunities, hoping to find something that would enable them to work on already strained schedules. Some see themselves as budding entrepreneurs, embarking on new voyages to endless vistas of self-employment with cries of Carpe Diem! Seize the Day! -- a battlecry oft associated with and used as encouragement for the new entrepreneur. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with any sort of cautionary note; it's an oversight that I think should be amended to include a standard disclaimer and reference to personal due diligence, which I'll define in this case to mean a "reasonable person's responsibility to follow up and follow through on reasonable research into any opportunity."

It's a disclaimer that could be simply stated and relatively benign, like "look before you leap" or somewhat more enigmatic such as Caveat Emptor, or "let the buyer beware."

One of the prevalent scams that I've recently become acquainted with is the Google Home Business Kit, which is known by several other names as well. I'm sure I'd seen it around and ignored it, but actually got an email from a skeptical-yet-hopeful friend asking me if I would check it out.

I did. It quickly registered on the b.s. meter, and a bit more Googling provided some links that appeared to confirm my suspicions.

Over the fold, I provide some links and excerpts from sites that have already taken it upon themselves to do the heavy lifting and expose this particular scam; please check 'em out and share 'em. By educating ourselves and sharing information, we can diminish the effective impact of these scammers and hopefully help save a few of our fellow citizens before they find themselves counted among the victims of these schemes.

Let them eat French Toast

I have a question.   It emerged after reading the two paragraphs below while waiting for French Toast "delux" in a diner.  There was nothing else to do but read the Washington Post  (Apr. 4, 2009)

"The Obama administration is engineering its new bailout initiatives in a way that it believes will allow firms benefiting from the programs to avoid restrictions imposed by Congress, including limits on lavish executive pay, according to government officials.

"Administration officials have concluded that this approach is vital for persuading firms to participate in programs funded by the $700 billion financial rescue package."

So here's my question, when did it become necessary to persuade people to accept a bailout?

WARNING: New Phishing Scam -- NOT from the FEDERAL RESERVE or Treasury

Folks, there's a new email scam going around, purporting to be from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.  DO NOT fall for it.

Here's some quick linkage:

  1. Beware of Federal Reserve Bank Scam Website Ex China
  2. Federal Reserve Bank System Administration Scam Email

The scam is an email with the subject "Important!" and the following content:


You're getting this letter in connection with new directions issued by U.S. Treasury Department. The directions concern U.S. Federal Wire online payments.

On January 21, 2009 a large-scaled phishing attack started and has been still lasting. A great number of banks and credit unions is affected by this attack and quantity of illegal wire transfers has reached an extremely high level.

U.S. Treasury Department, Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in common worked out a complex of immediate actions for the highest possible reduction of fraudulent operations. We regret to inform you that definite restrictions will be applied to all Federal Wire transfers from January 28 till February 9.

Here you can get more detailed information regarding the affected banks and U.S. Treasury Department restrictions:


Federal Reserve Bank System Administration

The link above was disabled by replacing the "tt" with underscore characters (this was the version printed on the second link provided above, and matches the one I received just a few minutes before posting this).

DO NOT go to the link; please let anyone you know -- particularly if they may be a bit naive -- about this scam and instruct them to delete the email instead of clicking on any links inside it.

Thank you.

American Legion Scamming Veterans?

They want you Vets to believe they're not, it's All a Mistake!

Or so they , quickly? backtracked, only after one Retired Air Force Major, Robert Hanafin, sent the letter to ABC News, you'll find that link, in PDF, below as well as they're apology in PDF.

Bobby, is not one you want to piss off.

Oh and it seems the Veterans Charities, those given extremely low grades on actually helping Veterans, while doing more to help themselves, are still playing their game, more about that below.