She suggests anyone who receives the solicitations check them out thoroughly, using the Internet to police the Internet.
“If they just Google a bit, they will realize this is too good to be true,” Ms. Kistenmacher said.
Another scheme asks work-at-home job seekers to help companies pay clients in foreign countries. The victims are asked to open bank accounts in their own names, accept anonymous payments into the accounts, then forward the money by wire transfer to other accounts abroad, often in Eastern Europe.
Unknown to the U.S. account holders, the money they are forwarding could be stolen or reaped from drug deals.
The FBI calls the account holders “mules,” but the e-mail ads that seek applicants for the jobs call them “international sales representatives” or “shipping managers.”
Other work-at-home scams ask job seekers to provide money upfront for job training or for foreign-based real estate investors. The chances the victims get their money back or find steady employment are small, according to the FBI.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy is the fact the targets of the scams merely want to pay their bills while unemployment has left them with few options, Mr. Hale said.
The frustration of job seekers can be found in the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics joblessness report this month.
Those seeking work outnumbered the available jobs in the market by a three-to-one ratio, according to an analysis of BLS figures by the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based public policy organization.
“The rapid increase in this ratio clearly indicates the weakness of the current labor market and the difficulty that workers are having finding jobs,” Tobin Marcus, an Economic Policy Institute analyst, wrote in the organization’s monthly report.