The FBI recently issued a warning about job scams targeting college students. While sometimes these phony job scams are found in online advertisements, in many instances the scammers contact the students directly by email with a job offer. When the student accepts, the scammer sends an official appearing check to the student who is told to deposit the check into the student’s bank account. The check is actually made out in an amount more than what was agreed to be paid to the student and the student is instructed to wire the extra funds back to the company. Of course, the check is counterfeit and ultimately bounces, however, the money that the scammed student wires to the scammer from his or her bank account is lost forever. Often the check in an amount more than the student is to be paid is justified by the student being told to wire the money to a vendor for supplies or necessary software.
It is always a scam is when you receive a check for more than what is owed you and you are asked to wire the difference back to the sender. This is the basis of many scams including mystery shopper scams. Whenever you receive a check, wait for your bank to tell you that the check has fully cleared before you consider the funds as actually being in your account. Don’t rely on your bank giving you provisional credit which is given after a few days, but which will be rescinded once the check bounces and never accept a check for more than what is owed with the intention to send back the rest.
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