BBB has recently received several phone calls from concerned job seekers reporting they received unsolicited job offers in the mail that included a check and forms to fill out and return in order to begin working a high-paid “job” from home.
Making extra money without leaving your house may sound attractive, but actually finding a legitimate job that lets you do that can be difficult.
Some callers also reported receiving emails, responding to them, and later receiving a check in the mail after providing a home address.
In most cases, they did not apply to the scam “company” that offered the job and sent the scam check.
These companies often get resumes from real job sites to operate the scam with people known to be searching for employment. They often even go as far as to conduct phone “interviews” to further the scam.
Some of these scammers are also known by BBB of Acadiana to use the names of real companies operating locally and regionally to add credibility to the scam.
Multiple consumers were asked to deposit the check, use some of the cash to buy needed employment “supplies,” then wire a large portion of the cash back to the scam company or a third party.
In any case, the checks are fake and leave consumers financially responsible for the entire amount of the deposited fake check plus non-sufficient fund (NSF) fees charged by banks.
To perpetuate the scam, the checks are often sent bearing the names of real companies and are drawn from national, recognizable banks such as Chase, Capital One or Wells Fargo Bank.
These scam companies have also requested “employee” information such as banking information and Social Security numbers under the ruse of Human Resources information to later commit identity theft.
BBB offers the following tips to avoid these and similar check scams:
- Start with Trust®. Check with the BBB before doing business.
- Verify that checks received in the mail are real. Anytime you receive an unexpected check in the mail, verify that it is from a valid bank account. Use a phone book to make sure you’re calling the bank and not a phony number. Call the bank and ask if the account number on the check is valid.
- Do not wire money until the check clears the bank. If you’re dealing with someone who requires you to wire or send money immediately after depositing a check, without waiting for the check to clear, this is a red flag. Do not pursue the opportunity.
- Exercise Caution on the web. When using social networking sites like Facebook and online employment sites such as Craigslist, be sure to check the actual Web site of the company posting the position to verify it actually exists. If you don’t see it on their site, chances are it’s a scam.
- Protect Personal Information. Job seekers should never provide their social security number or birth date until they have verified the position is legitimate. Additionally, job seekers should never provide bank account information for direct deposit setup until they have officially been hired.