Scam Alert: Job Scams with a Hurricane Twist

October 16, 2017

If you are looking for work with hurricane relief efforts, beware of phony job offers. Con artists preying on job seekers are giving their ploys a timely twist, according to reports in BBB ScamTracker. 

How the Scam Works:

You are looking for a job, and you want to help with hurricane relief work. You see an ad for a personal assistant or similar role posted on Indeed, or another website. In one ScamTracker report, the position was described as a "liaison" with "hospitals, orphanage homes and various other charity institutions."

It sounds like a great opportunity, so you send your resume. You are quickly hired, without even meeting your new boss. (Some scammers may do a short interview over email or an online chat.) 

Your new "boss" emails and claims they are out of town. But they need you to complete a few errands in their absence. The "boss" sends a check, tells you to deposit it, and instructs you to distribute the money to several charities. In one BBB Scam Tracker report, the victim was asked to send money to an "orphanage" affected by Hurricane Harvey. Unfortunately, both the charities and check are fake, and you will responsible for any money withdrawn against it. 

How to Spot an Employment Scam:    

  1. Watch out for on-the-spot job offers. You may be an excellent candidate for the job, but beware of offers made without an interview. A real company will want to talk to a candidate before hiring him or her.
  2. Don't fall for an overpayment scam. No legitimate job would ever overpay an employee and ask him/her wire the money elsewhere. This is a common trick used by scammers.
  3. 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. This information can then be used for identity theft, so be absolutely certain before you share.
  4. Check out BBB Tips: Many employment and fake check scams use similar techniques, see and for more advice.


For More Information

Unfortunately, this is just one of many scams – from fake charities to fly-by-night contractors - that spring up in the wake of a natural disaster.  Check out these resourses offered by BBB to help after a natural disaster.

To learn more about scams, go to BBB Scam Tips ( To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker (