Beware the work-from-home conmen

Investigators are warning the lure of working from home is being abused by a conman whose bogus offer of typing and envelope-sealing is fooling hundreds into parting with their cash.

The phony job offer typically claims that Brits can now start a lucrative home-based business typing or mail-sealing for ‘thousands of companies in need of your services.’

Such is the warning from Tony Hetherington, financial expert at the Mail on Sunday, who this weekend exposed the scam's author as Ibrahim Shevket.

Through his company Top-Star Mailshare, Shevket assures aspiring home-workers that joining his scheme for a small charge, typically £30, ensures they will earn up to £1.10 per envelope.

But upon paying the sign-up fee – a charge that has reportedly risen from £20 to £25 to its current rate, job-seekers simply receive a letter informing them that no work currently exists in their area.

Even worse for those affected is a second pledge that the company is willing to pay victims £8 for every person they sign up to join two dating services – both of which are owned by Shevket.

“The parent company is IS Trading based in Haringey, run by Ibrahim Shevket – and he’s been offering non-existent work for years,” Tony Hetherington wrote, responding to a ‘duped’ reader.

He explained how he contacted Shevket to challenge him on behalf of the victim, only to be told by the trickster,” You do have some f*****g liars among your readers.”

The Office of Fair Trading struck off Shevket’s credit business in 2002, after they decided he was unfit to hold a licence.

Scams targeting would-be home workers seem set to increase, with many different forms of extorting money all based on exploiting the convenience, independence and immediacy of working from home.

The stuffing of envelopers and the typing of text for what seems like a reasonable start-up fee are collecting grabbing the most media attention – a consequence the victims support as a means of protecting others.

“I have just been humiliated by a company I thought I could trust,” reads one anonymous post on the Internet Homeworking Directory.

“I am that sort of person who will not be sucked in. Well now I have…I received a letter for stuffing envelops. It was 25p per envelope and I was looking for work I can do at home for extra money as I'm skint. It said you can do as much or as little as you like so I thought I could do at least 500 a week at home in my spare time. I sent £35.00 for my starter pack, which did not specify what was in it, I expected a lot.”

The anonymous victim goes onto reveal they spent over £10 on stamps and materials needed to return the initial starter package, aside from the £35 joining fee.

“Basically I have been conned and I feel bloody stupid and annoyed that they might get away with this. So sorry to go on but I'm in tears here with this. I Hope they know what they do to people.”

You can read up on scammers’ tactics at theOffice of Fair Trading, including those that motivate so-called ‘career opportunity’ and ‘work from home’ scams. Scams should be reported to the OFT and to the Internet Homeworking Directory.


4th July 2006

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