BBB Alert: FHA Tracer Job Offers Raise Red Flags
Don't Expect Refunds From Tracer Tricksters
Anchorage, Alaska – Sept. 30, 2011 – When a job offer postcard arrives in the mail with phrases like "WE'VE BEEN TRYING TO REACH YOU," "Final Notice" and "Deadline," be cautious.
Better Business Bureau has received recent reports about an official-looking mailer that advertises an "IMMEDIATE OPPORTUNITY to work as Government Insurance Refund Processor." Although a return address isn't listed, the notice is postmarked from Tualatin, Ore.
The job? Processing government insurance refunds to homeowners. Duties include: Receiving, screening and processing Federal Housing Administration (FHA) refund notices. The mailer promotes a starting salary of $38,943 per year to "work from home." Additional perks: "flexible hours," "no weekends," and "no experience necessary."
The scam? It's not a legitimate job opportunity.
Red flags? Recipients didn't apply for the job, but were still made an offer. The postcard appears urgent and official, yet no company name or address is included.
Risks? Responding to fraudulent job solicitations can lead to identity theft or financial fraud. Applicants may be convinced to provide sensitive information on false employment applications. In most cases, consumers are asked to pay upfront fees for instruction manuals or kits; some never receive materials, while others may have difficulty collecting salaries or commissions from their "employers" after work is performed.
BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington encourages consumers to be on the lookout for misleading "refund tracer" work-at-home offers. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):
· Third-party businesses or "tracers" can locate homeowners who may be entitled to FHA mortgage insurance premium refunds. However, HUD does not promote its listings for commercial use, nor does it sponsor or endorse any "tracers." If "tracer" jobs are promoted in a misleading way, file a complaint at HUD.gov.
· Consumers who have FHA-insured mortgages may be eligible for refunds from HUD or FHA, but do not need to pay any third parties to collect payments on their behalf. Check HUD's online form for free; and for help, contact HUD at 1-800-697-6967 or email@example.com.
Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington: Working to advance marketplace trust, BBB is a neutral not-for-profit organization supported by BBB Accredited Businesses. BBB provides ethical business standards, BBB Business Reviews, Charity Reviews, complaint handling, marketplace events and tips. For more information, contact BBB or visit bbb.org.