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Homeworkers warned about email solicitation scams

Individuals sizing up available work-from-home opportunities have been advised to look to personal contacts and referrals for leads, rather than email solicitations.

Tips from the US-based Better Business Bureau centre on the principle that if an opportunity sounds too good to be true, "it probably is".

"There are so many people looking for work – and the crooks know that," the organisation's Dick Eppstein tells the Crescent News website.

"Employment solicitations with phrases like 'no experience necessary' and 'you can earn hundreds of [pounds] in four to six hours per week' should be avoided," he adds.

One of the current biggest scams he identifies is the mystery shopper, or "secret shopper", where people looking to work from home are told they can earn money by purchasing items in particular shops or restaurants.

They then receive an "employment packet" including business evaluation forms, a "training assignment" and a cheque which they are told to cash and transfer via a particular outlet. When such cheques bounce, the individual becomes responsible for the sum in question.

Eppstein reminds keen homeworkers that selling items on eBay and using PayPal remains one of the best ways to make money on the web.

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