Job Seeker Scam Uses Fake Checks with BBB Name

February 15, 2013

Eager to break into acting or modelling? Don't let your ambition get the better of you. Use caution when applying to jobs and don't fall for a check cashing scam that uses Better Business Bureau's name.

How the Scam Works:
You reply to a help wanted ad for a modelling, acting or promotional gig. After you send your resume and/or introductory message, you start getting emails from an "agent" who tells you that you've gotten the job.

Starting your new gig is easy, according to the emails. Your agent mails you a check that supposedly covers your hourly fee and expenses, such as transportation and meals. You only need to deduct $350 "to confirm your bookings with the production acoounlnt" and wire the money ASAP to the name and address provided. 

In a twist, scammers are using phony shipping labels to mail the checks. Job seekers report receiving envelopes that have Better Business Bureau's name and return address on them. (see a sample check below) Scammers are using the BBB name (and likely name of other established organizations) to lend credibility to their con.

sam check supposedly from bbb
If you follow the email's instructions and deposit the check, the full amount will appear to be in your bank account immediately. However, it takes several days for the check to completely clear. When the bank sees the check is a fraud, they will deduct the money from your account. If you wired the money to the "production accountant," you will be out the $350. 
How to Spot a Fake Job Ad:    

  1. Job postings and reply emails with a lot of grammatical errors and misspellings are likely scams. The typo "production acoounlnt" above is a classic example. 
  2. Ads containing the phrases "Immediate Start" and "No Experience Needed" are popular in scam ads.
  3. If a job looks suspicious, search for it in Google.  If the result comes up in many other cities with the exact same job post, it is likely a scam.
  4. Be very cautious of any job that asks you to share personal information or hand over money. Scammers will often use the guise of running a credit check, setting up direct deposit or paying for training.
  5. Check out the business's website to make sure the opening is posted there.  If you are still skeptical, call the business to check on the position.

For More Information
See BBB's information pages, for more tips about avoiding check cashing and employment scams.   
To find out more about scams, check out the new BBB Scam Stopper.