The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about a new twist to the old fake check scam — this time preying on individuals searching for employment.
In a job market which is extremely competitive, more individuals are becoming susceptible to questionable offers for employment as they try to find work. The unemployed become easy targets for scam artists, often making decisions in haste which can cost them both time and money, Mechele Agbayani Mills, president and chief executive officer of BBB Serving Central East Texas, said in a prepared statement.
According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center and calls to BBB, the first contact for the offer has been through a Craigslist ad or unsolicited email. The job seeker replies to an online ad in which they are paid (typically $500 per week) to drive around in a vehicle wrapped with an advertisement or logo of a well-known company. They then receive a package containing instructions and what appears to be a legitimate check for approximately $2,500. They are instructed to deposit the check, wire a large portion of it back to the company and keep the remainder as their “pay.” However, in the cases being reported, the offer is not valid, the check bounces, you end up owing the bank, and the person who made the offer gets away with the wired money.
“Keep in mind, companies are very protective of their image and branding,” Ms. Mills said. “They are not likely going to allow someone to advertise for them without doing some kind of background check.”
BBB offers following tips when considering an employment opportunity:
Never wire money.
Never agree to deposit a check and send a portion to someone else.
Beware of unexpected offers.
Protect your personal information.
Don’t trust P.O. boxes.
Start with trust. Visit www.bbb.org to check out any potential employer, and contact those companies using information you verified on your own.
If an offer promises large returns for little work and little experience, it’s probably too good to be true. If you have fallen victim to this scheme, you may file a complaint with IC3 and your attorney general.
For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to www.bbb.org . To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, call 903-581-8373.