Many Americans would love to work from home. The reasons vary; some people may not wish to commute and some may simply not enjoy working in an office environment. Others may have small children at home and would prefer not to have to enroll them in day care. Whatever the reason, companies that offer to provide people with an opportunity to work from their homes usually find themselves quite busy with inquiries.

While there are legitimate opportunities to work from home, many such offers are just scams designed to get the “employees” to part with hard earned money. A recent offer to work from home that has been circulating via e-mail is just that. The offer, from a company in Europe, offers a salary of several thousand dollars per week. Interested parties are encouraged to contact the company for further information

If you contact the company, you will be told that some checks in the amount of several thousand dollars are coming to you in the mail. You will be instructed to deposit them in your bank account, keep 10% for yourself as a fee, and send the remainder of the funds to an address in Nigeria. Should you do so, you will soon discover that the checks were forgeries, but the money that you sent to Nigeria was real. Your bank will want their money back, and you will be left several thousand dollars poorer.

This is just another variation of the “check overpayment” scam that has been making the rounds for a while now. In that scheme, someone who has something for sale online, such as on eBay, is sent a cashier’s check for payment in an amount that exceeds the purchase price. The seller is asked to send the merchandise along with a refund for the difference. Again, the check is a forgery, and by the time the bank discovers that, it is too late. The money is gone.

Anyone looking for work from home should be cautious about jobs promising a lot of money for little or no work. A little common sense will go a long way here; no one is going to pay someone thousands of dollars a week for doing next to nothing. There are some companies that will hire people to work from home, but most such offers are simply attempts to steal from well meaning people.