Job hunters: Don’t become an unwitting partner in crime

ID-100146153BBB recently got a report of a work-at-home scam that impersonated an accredited business in the Austin area. The business got constant phone calls from people asking, “Am I working for you?” They weren’t.

Luckily for the business, the scammers seem to have moved on. The phone calls quit coming. A bunch of people who took them up on their work-at-home offers weren’t so lucky. They were sent checks, told to deposit them and wire part of the money to someone. The checks were counterfeit. When that happens, the check might clear at first, but the bank will make you pay the money back after it finds out the check is bogus. And the portion you wired to someone else is gone forever.

I spoke to one woman who was involved with the scammers for a short time. She got a call from some people who saw her resume on a job hunting site. They offered her a work-at-home job that looked legit at first, but things didn’t quite add up. The company only communicated with her via email and instant messages. Then they sent her a check — written on the account of a New Jersey company. They told her to buy a printer and keep the rest of the money as a sign-on bonus.

They didn’t ask her to wire money, but the scammers probably would have gotten her to print out bogus checks and send them to others if she hadn’t become suspicious. Luckily she did. Why would a Texas company pay her with a check written in the name of a New Jersey business? She contacted her bank, the companies in Texas and New Jersey and Better Business Bureau.

This is yet another example of what can happen with work-at-home jobs. Way too often, work-at-home opportunities turn out to be scams run by people intent on ripping you off, ripping off someone else, or making you the unwitting partner in some kind of crime.

A while back I wrote a blog entry that might be helpful if you’re considering a work-at-home job: Do your homework before signing up for work-at-home.

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3 Responses to Job hunters: Don’t become an unwitting partner in crime

  1. TheGirl says:

    Wow, I was almost conned like that too! But I was told to cash it and then send it to some charity in the middle east. Of course! I even wrote a blog post about on thereporterandthegirl.com

    • Good job catching it in time — and good blog entry. I’ve seen a lot of these checks come across my desk and they do look quite convincing. Crooks can “wash” real checks that they fish out of the mail and alter them. That could be what happened to the one you received.

      • TheGirl says:

        That is true, because I kept looking at it, like “it looks so real…” and I have received fake checks before and could tell right off the bat….but luckily I called the bank. Man, I don’t think I’ll pay with a check again!

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