Scam of the day – November 12, 2017 – New online employment scam

I have been warning you about employment related scams for years and today’s scam represents the most recent incarnation of scams that involve seeking employment.

Searching for a job online has become the norm for many people seeking employment and there are many legitimate online employment websites such as Careerbuilder.com and Monster.com, however, merely because an ad for a job appears on a legitimate website does not mean that the job is for real.  It may be just a scam seeking either personal information to make you a victim of identity theft, your money or both.  Do not assume because you see an ad for a job on a legitimate employment website that the ad is legitimate.  Although Career builder.com, Monster.com and other online employment agencies do their best to screen their ads, they can’t be even close to perfect.

In the newest variation of the scammer, the scammers will  first do research on their victims and read their resumes.  They then contact the victim and offer them a job, but tell  the victim that he or she will need to purchase some equipment and pay a fee for training.  A check is sent to the victim to pay for the equipment.  The unwary victim deposits the counterfeit check and get provisional credit from his or her bank before the check is discovered to be counterfeit which can take weeks.  At this point the funds are taken back from your account by your bank, but meanwhile the money you have wired as instructed to the scammer is lost forever.

TIPS

Never spend money to apply for a job.  Legitimate employers do not require fees.  Google the address, telephone number and name of the company to see if they match what you have been told.  Don’t send a resume with personal information, such as your Social Security number that can be used to make you a victim of identity theft.  If an ad appears to be from a company that you know is legitimate, confirm by a telephone call to the real company’s HR department that the ad you are answering is legitmate.  A legitimate company will eventually need your Social Security number, but not early in the process.  Make sure that you have confirmed that the job is legitimate before providing this information.

In regard to this particular scam, you should investigate the company thoroughly before agreeing to anything and never consider a check as being legitimate until it has fully cleared.

Scam of the day – November 9, 2017 – Car wrap scam resurfacing

Reports are resurfacing of increased instances of the car wrap scam which has been around for a few years.  We have all seen car wraps, which are advertisements for a company wrapped around a car.  For someone looking for some money in return for very little effort, this may seem like a match made in heaven.  But if you are not careful, it could be a match made in scam hell.

Car wrapping is actually legitimate, which is part of the problem.  Scammers exploit legitimate advertising through car wraps by either putting an ad on the Internet or contacting you through a mass email in which they seek people to have their car’s used for advertising through this technique called shrink wrapping.  Unsuspecting victims respond to the advertisement and are sent a check for  more than the amount that the victim is owed.  The victim is instructed to deposit the check in his or her bank account and wire the rest back to the company.  This is where the scam comes in.  The check that the scammer sends you is a counterfeit.  However, unfortunately, the money that you wire the scammer comes right out of your bank account and is almost impossible to retrieve.  This scam of sending you a check for more than what you are to be paid is used in many other scam variations.

TIPS

Always be wary if someone asks you to wire money to them as a part of a business transaction.  Scammers do this all the time because it is quick and almost impossible to stop.  In addition, even if you get what appears to be a certified check and wait a few days for the check to clear, you will still be out of luck because it takes weeks for a check to fully clear.  Banks are required by law to give you conditional credit after a few days, which means that if the check turns out to be a counterfeit, the credit is removed from your account and if you have, in turn, made checks or wired funds from you account assuming the check was legitimate, you are out of luck and  your own money.  A check sent to you by someone with whom you are doing business for whatever purpose that is more than the amount you are owed that comes with a request for you to send the overpayment amount back is a scam.  Don’t fall for it.

Scam of the day – August 6, 2015 – Care.com babysitting scam

Care.com is a legitimate website where caregivers can connect with families that need their services.  Recently, however, care.com was abused by a scammer who almost succeeded in stealing thousands of dollars from an unwary St. Louis teenager looking for a job as a baby sitter.  The young girl signed up on Care.com and soon thereafter received emails from two women who said that they were moving to St. Louis and wanted to hire her.  The women both said they were very busy and needed to have her buy some clothes, toys and other goods so that items would be there when the women got to St. Louis.  One woman sent a check for $2,700 and the other sent a check for $1,970.  In each case, the women told the teenager to make the necessary purchases and wire the remaining money back to them.  This is a standard ploy used in many different scams where a bogus counterfeit check is sent for more than the amount owed is sent to the victim who deposits the check and then ends up sending his or her own money when the check ends up bouncing.  Some people, thinking they are being smart wait a few days for the check to clear during which time the bank provides provisional credit which may make it appear that the check has cleared, however when the check ultimately bounces, the victim is left having sent his or her own money to the scammer.  Fortunately, in this case, the teenager’s mother Coleen Carroll recognized the telltale signs of a scam and was able to save her daughter from becoming a scam victim.

TIPS

Care.com and other similar websites monitor communications between people using their website, however, the scammers were able to convince the teenager to communicate with them by off site emails which is often a sign of a scam.  Also, when hiring anyone for a caregiver job, you would want to meet with them personally.  You should be skeptical of someone who is willing to hire someone for such a position without ever meeting him or her.  In addition, never accept a check for more than what is owed you with the understanding that you will send your check for the balance.   This is always a scam.

Scam of the day – July 29, 2013 – Car wrap scams

We have all seen car wraps which are advertisements for a company wrapped around a car.  For someone looking for some money for very little effort, this may seem like a match made in heaven.  But if you are not careful, it could be a match made in scam hell.  One way scammers exploit legitimate advertising through car wraps is by either putting an ad on the Internet or contacting you through a mass email in which they seek people to have their car’s used for advertising through this technique called shrink wrapping.  Unsuspecting victims respond to the advertisement and are sent a check for actually more than the amount that the victim is owed.  The victim is instructed to deposit the check in his or her bank account and wire the rest back to the company.  This is where the scam comes in.  The check that the scammer sends you is a counterfeit and bogus.  Unfortunately, the money that you wire the scammer comes right out of your bank account and is almost impossible to retrieve.  This scam of sending you a check for more than what you are to be paid is used in many other scam variations.

TIPS

Always be wary if someone asks you to wire money to them as a part of a business transaction.  Scammers do this all the time because it is quick and almost impossible to stop.  In addition, even if you get what appears to be a certified check and wait a few days for the check to clear, you will still be out of luck because it takes weeks for a check to fully clear.  What your bank does is only give you conditional credit after a few days, which means that if the check turns out to be a counterfeit, the credit is removed from your account and if you have, in turn, made checks of your own, counting on the check being legitimate, you are out of luck and money.  A check sent to you by someone with whom you are doing business for whatever purpose that is more than the amount you are owed that comes with a request for you to send the overpayment amount back is a scam.  Don’t fall for it.