How it works:
This scam is growing in popularity as more people are out of work or experiencing financial difficulties. The scam begins by posting a resume online or applying for a “too-good-to-be-true” job opportunity.
In many of the employment frauds, the scammer will significantly overpay the employee via cashier’s check or money order (perhaps to cover the cost of mystery shopper merchandise). Once their task is complete, the victim is instructed to wire the extra money back to the employer. Here’s is the catch. The cashier’s check or money order sent by the employer looks real, but is really counterfeit. The bank may initially report that it is a legitimate financial instrument. It is not. The check is fake! Not only does the victim loose the money they were expecting to earn, they have lost whatever money (often several thousand dollars) that was wired to the scammer. Sadly, banks will not reimburse victims for this type of fraud; the victim is held responsible for the entire amount of the fraudulent check.
In another version of this scam, victims who have posted a resume on a job seeking website are contacted regarding an employment opportunity as a financial representative for an international company. The job title is appealing and the scam itself is very persuasive. The prospective “employer” explains that due to international banking restrictions, they are not permitted to open bank accounts in the United States. Hence, they need American representatives to conduct basic transactions on behalf of the company. The scammer offers a generous commission for each transaction conducted on behalf of the company. Sounds legitimate, right? Unfortunately, the victim will receive fraudulent checks or money orders which are then deposited into their personal account or one that the victim has set up for this purpose. After making the deposit, the victim will wire funds (minus their commission) to the “employer”. As in the previous example, the financial instruments are fraudulent and the victim has wired real money overseas. The victim will be held responsible for the entire amount of the fraudulent check.
What to do:
Do be wary of international/out-of-state employers that want to pay you a high salary for providing basic services.
Do not accept payment for more than your expected wage.
Do not accept payment by check unless it is from a local bank or a bank with a local branch. You can visit that bank branch to determine if the check is legitimate.
Do not wire money to a buyer/employer and never give electronic access to your checking account.