Ashley Wilson
Posted April 16, 2020

Most common scams

Job scammers are poised with false employment opportunities to take advantage of anyone looking for work. Learn how to spot these common work scams and what to do to protect yourself.
Ashley Wilson
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Most common scams
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Long before the internet came along, people have been trying to swindle, scam and deceive unsuspecting individuals into parting with their hard-earned money. While a pickpocket can reach in and steal the contents of your wallet, a tech-savvy scammer can reach into your bank account and really cause some damage!

The Coronavirus has left millions of workers without jobs, many searching for remote opportunities to provide a source of income without having to leave their homes. Unfortunately, this also means that scammers are on the prowl for vulnerable individuals looking for work.

Let’s take a look at the most common scams happening now, how to distinguish a scam from a legitimate opportunity and what to do if you encounter one.

What to do

To confirm which jobs are legitimate, the Federal Trade Commission suggests asking the following questions of the employer to decide whether or not to proceed:

  • Where is your business located, and how long have you been in operation?

  • How will I be paid, and when will I receive my paycheck?

  • Do I need to spend my own money on supplies or postage?

Tips

  • Search the company name and the word “scam” to see what comes up. Chances are if others have been scammed, they will have documented it. Also, search on Glassdoor.com and read company reviews.

  • Confirm if the company has a legitimate website as well as a physical address. Most businesses will have both.

When in doubt, continue your search, and trust your instincts. If something feels off, don’t take the chance. A scam could set back more than you bargained for, and times are hard enough.

Common Scams

  • Stuffing Envelopes

    These work from home scams promise to offer terrific pay, anywhere from $550 to $3,000 a week. Some will even claim to pay you money per envelope, giving you false hope of enormous money-making potential. They will charge you to sign up for the opportunity and leave you without a paycheck.

  • Repackaging

    The scammer will advertise a work from home job, typically a personal assistant or a package handler position. Sometimes they will pose as a busy executive who is constantly receiving and sending packages. Other times they will pretend to be a merchandise reseller who wants to outsource labor. Packages come to your house and you are asked to take the items out of their original boxes, repackage them and send them on to other addresses. Ultimately, what you’re doing is laundering stolen goods for the scammer.

  • Fake Checks

    You may see a job post offering “quick cash” typically in the telemarketing, sales or customer service field. The employer will offer to send you a check to buy supplies to do the job, but when you try to deposit the check, though it MAY clear, the bank will discover the check was fraudulent. Your bank account will be negative, and you are now responsible for any overdraft and associated fees. Never use money from a check to wire funds, send gift cards or money orders to strangers!

  • Mystery Shoppers

    The “employer” will offer to send you a hefty check and once you receive it, you’ll be asked to deposit the money into your personal bank account or evaluate a money transfer service (such as Western Union or MoneyGram). You will be told that this “money” should be used to shop. They will ask you to wire some of this money back, but the reality is that the “check” was counterfeit and you are now responsible for the negative balance. To check if a mystery shopping offer is legitimate, visit this site to be sure.

  • Government Grants/Loans

    Federal and state governments are working on relief packages to assist workers during this tough time. it’s critical to be aware of which programs are legitimate and which are scams. Avoid giving out personal information over the phone or clicking any links in emails as well as texts that look suspicious. For real information pertaining to your economic impact payment visit.

What to look for

Missing details

Most scams try to hook you with a vague offer or suggestion that they have a job for you. This is not how most recruiters or hiring managers operate. A legitimate hiring manager or recruiter will usually withhold some details but will want to give you enough information in their initial listing so you can decide whether or not you’re interested and qualified.

Strange contact information

Scammers will use their personal email accounts and phone numbers instead of company based contact info. Even if someone contacts you about a listing for a well-known company, if they are not using that company’s email domain, you can be sure that they are not a legitimate contact.

Most company emails are formatted like this: [email protected] Anything that deviates from that formula should instantly raise alarm bells for you. Even if the scammer is using a Gmail, Yahoo, or other account from recognizable email providers, this does not mean it is legitimate.

Quick to offer the job

Scammers may offer you a job without hearing much about your skills or even seeing your resume. If someone contacts you and is eager to provide you with a job without discussing your qualifications, you should consider that to be a major red flag.

Too good to be true

The old saying holds up. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Watch out for jobs that seem unrealistic or offer you money upfront or in any capacity before you’ve had an interview or begun the job.

Stay safe out there!

For real work from home opportunities and support make sure to join in on the discussion here.

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Ashley Wilson
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Ford Simpson

All I can say is Thanks Ashley,glad your brain and good will are on our side! I am glad you supply me with information that makes my day easier, now my job is to use it.Ford

2y
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3
Luis Perez

Hy im Luis you send me a email about if i need a job I do need one

2y
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Timothy Wright

Are there ANY repackaging jobs that are not scams. I just signed up for one that appears to be legit but has some of the red flags. It is for "warehouse coordinator" associated with TCS Logistics

32w
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Dianne Estell

Yes. There is scammers everywhere. Thay all need to be in jail or prison.

26w
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2
Tara Dorf

Well I’m a victim of identity fraud and theft so someone has my whole identity and now they just filed unemployment benefits under my name I am trying to see how do I verify my identity what website do I go on or who can I call

25w
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1
Summer Evans

I was approached by a guy calling himself Andrew Johnson. He came to me as an employer on Upwork.com and claimed to represent The Marshall Retail Group and said they were wanting to hire someone full-time for a "virtual assistant job." The thing is...I researched the company name and they had even gone so far as to create a landing page for this "company" and everything and they almost seemed legit. What made me realize it was a scam...they told me they would be sending me a check to purchase all of my equipment but then stated that it would take too long to send it by mail and it would be faster to send a photocopy of this said check to my email and I would have to print it and then take a photo of the photo of this check as to deposit it into my account as a photo deposit. I was POSITIVE that that was illegal so therefore I began to ask for credentials and phone numbers for corporate and all the works. I asked for a video call to discuss the details and to reassure myself that this was real or not. Needless to say, I got a video call on Skype....with no picture on the other end. he said it "wasn't allowed"... real freaking sad that people are ok with trying to screw people out of money. Especially ones who are already jobless.

20w
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4
Janet Busener

I won't apply for work from home jobs unless I can also visit the office and know that it is real.

14w
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4
Sharonda Jones

I recently had a dealing with a work scammer which displayed an actual work location and phone number (voicemail actually had the person's name, title, and direct number). Went through an entire interview via text (red flag to me but since COVID...interactions have changed) and got the job. The offer letter was displayed the company's name with proper wording that I electronically signed off on. Well, what tipped me off was when I was sent another company's blank check to buy equipment for my WFH office in which was sent via email with instructions to deposit via mobile banking. First instinct was to call my bank and verify the check. Next was to look up the actual company and alert and verify this information and check. Last, I forwarded all correspondence and screen shots of our conversations and his offerings to another secured email. I contacted him and declined the offer but did not make him aware that I knew this was a scam. Sending all of my findings to appropriate authorities. Sometimes these scammers are actually using legitimate businesses but displaying questionable actions...this company even had a LinkedIn page ...Be careful out there and if you have a gut feeling a job post/offer is not for you and you have more questions than answers...trust your gut!

6w
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3
Temechia Henderson

Scammers are very clever, I received a call from "Amazon" the person says I ordered an IPod and it should be here soon. He asked what bank I'm with, I told him, then he transferred me to my bank, NOT, and it sound busy in the background, next he asked for my bank account, CLICK. I called my peaceful bank myself and everything was fine with my accounts. Watch out folks scammers also work in teams.

3w
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Tom Taber

Thank you

1w
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