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January 2018

How to Spot Employment Scams

January 03, 2018

Post-holiday blues sometimes include feeling that the checking account is a little empty. With work-from-home jobs plentiful on Craigslist or in email offers, it seems like making quick extra cash would be easy. There are legitimate jobs out there, but please cautious!

A local resident responding to a Mystery Shopper opportunity experienced a scenario similar to this:
  • Victim responded to an ad to perform secret shopping services in exchange for payment. The ad appeared to be on behalf of a legitimate, well-known company.
  • Victim received a check in the mail and was asked to deposit the money into their personal account, then to purchase reloadable debit cards to use for the secret shopping assignments.Victim was told that they could keep a portion of the check as payment for their time.
  • Once the cards were purchased, the scammer requested the card number and pin to “complete the job”. This information was then used to drain the reloadable debit card of all funds through online purchases by the scammer.
  • A couple of days later, the original check deposited by the victim was returned as fraudulent and the victim suffered a loss of the funds used to purchase the cards.
This is one play on the old overpayment / check-deposit fraud. Other work-from-home red flags include:
  • An up-front payment is required to participate in the opportunity.
  • The job is to evaluate money-transfer services, such as wire transfers.
There are several steps you can take to stay safe. Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails, and independently research any company offering a job opportunity. Know that legitimate employers or contractors will not ask you to deposit a check payment with an agreement that you can keep part of the money. And remember, we can help you start saving with automatic transfers in online banking so you can feel great next holiday season.