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Job Seekers Beware

Scammers are luring victims with job postings on reputable websites.

Criminals who operate in the shadows of the internet keep inventing ingenious ways to steal your money, your identity, or both. If you’re seeking a job, be on the lookout for phony job postings. They appear legitimate, but watch for the red flags.

Victims easily lose thousands of dollars

Here in the Capital Region, we’re seeing job scammers rip off people with greater frequency. When the fraudster disappears and the dust clears, there’s no way to get your money back.

Who would fall for a fake job?

Why would someone give confidential information to a stranger? How could anyone transfer their own money to an unknown party?

Look at how the bad guys do it

This scam involves a fake job and a counterfeit check. Or, skip ahead to our tips.

  • Eric responds to a job posting on www.indeed.com for clerical work that can be done at home. He receives an offer via email from Resourceful Support Inc. without an application or interview. “That was easy,” Eric thinks. Red flag #1.redflag.jpg
  • A few days later, paperwork from Resourceful Support arrives in the mail. Eric’s new employer requests financial information for payroll and reimbursement purposes. Red flag #2.redflag.jpg
  • Eric’s contact Abigail, from Resourceful Support, emails him. She says a check from will be deposited electronically into his account. The funds will cover items he’ll need to purchase for the work he’ll be doing. Like clockwork, an electronic check deposit of $4,000 is posted to Eric’s account, even though he has not performed any work yet. Red flag #3.redflag.jpg
  • Eric receives an email from Abigail with a list of supplies. He’s instructed to purchase items on the list and return any leftover funds to Resourceful Support in the form of gift cards. He purchases VISA gift cards totaling $3,650 and sends them to the address Abigail provides. Red flag #4.redflag.jpg
  • Eric sends an email to Resourceful Support asking when his assignments will begin. Then, he logs into his online account to check his balance. He is shocked by what he sees. The $4,000 deposit has been reversed and his account is now overdrawn! Eric’s financial institution tells him that the $4,000 check was reported as counterfeit. Eric’s attempts to reach Abigail, or anyone at Resourceful Support, are met with silence. Eric realizes he’s been scammed.

How to Protect Yourself

If something doesn’t feel right, Google the name of the company with the word “scam” or “fraud” to confirm it’s legitimate. If it passes that test, watch for:

  • Requests for your social security number or driver’s license number
  • Vague salary details, or salaries too high for the tasks performed
  • Payment required up front for a credit report, training, supplies, etc.

Any of us could be a job-scam victim

Job scams are so effective because personal information is provided without question, just as a new hire might do for a legitimate company. To please a new employer, a new employee is apt follow instructions carefully. When tasked with sending money to the employer, the new hire will be inclined to do it.

Trust the facts and your instincts

Why is your employer asking you to send them money? This is a huge red flag. Stop and think before taking any action. And, don’t be afraid to say “no.”

Information and recommendations may have changed since this article was written. Outlooks and past performance are not guarantees of future results.