A Fresno resident searching for employment was a recent victim of scammers that use phony job postings to lure in potential candidates. The posting was displayed on a large employment website, where an increasing number of job hunters turn to post their resume and search for jobs.
Victor, the victim, sent a resume to the phony job posting in hopes of finding a job. Soon after, the scammer contacted Victor and offered him the job. His first task as an employee was “to help the phony company establish a new office location in Fresno.” The company communicated they would cover the cost associated with the project by mailing him a cashier’s check.
Once Victor received the cashier’s check, he grew very skeptical about the company, so he called a large bank to verify the legitimacy of the check. After the check cleared Victor’s bank account, he followed the instructions given by the scammers and wired the money to an entity in the United Kingdom. He was also instructed to hold onto a fraction of the money to cover expenses to establish the new office location.
Sometime later, Victor was notified by his bank that his account was overdrawn. He then realized that the check was a fake and he was out the money he wired to the scammers.
Victor told his parents of the incident and they immediately decided to consult the Central California and Inland Empire Better Business Bureau. Victor’s parents are local business owners and are also accredited with the BBB. Victor and his parents met one-on-one with BBB staff members, and were relieved to receive guidance on how to handle such a problematic situation.
The Better Business Bureau advises job hunters to be on the lookout for these red flags when conducting their job search:
- Emails purporting to be from job posting websites claiming there’s a problem with a job hunter’s account. After creating a user account on sites like Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com or Craigslist.com, a job hunter might receive an e-mail saying there has been a problem with their account or they need to follow a hyperlink to install new software. Phishing e-mails like this are designed to convince readers to click a link within the message to fix the issue, but actually take them to a website that will install malware or viruses on their computer.
- An employer asks for extensive personal information such as Social Security or bank account numbers. Some job seekers have been surprised to learn they’ve gotten a job without having to do a single interview. However, when the employer then asked for personal information in order to fill out the necessary paperwork suspicions were raised – and rightly so. Regardless of the reason or excuse given by the employer, a job applicant should never give out his or her Social Security or bank account numbers over the phone or e-mail.
- An employer asks for money upfront. Aside from paying for a uniform, it is rarely advisable for an applicant to pay upfront fees or make a required purchase to get a job. Most recently, the BBB of Metropolitan Dallas uncovered a scam where job hunters were told they had to pay $64.50 for a background check before they could be considered for a cleaning job. Predictably, after paying for the background check, the job seeker never heard from the company again.
- The job requires the employee to wire money through Western Union or MoneyGram. Many phony jobs require the prospective employee to cash a check sent by the company through the mail and then wire a portion of the money on to another entity. Reasons given for this requirement vary from scam to scam. Whatever the reason though, the check might clear the employee’s bank account but will eventually turn out to be a fake and the employee is out the money he or she wired back to the scammers.
For more information, visit cencal.bbb.org or call 1-800-675-8118, ext. 5, to talk with BBB staff at the Central California and Inland Empire office.