Job-seekers can fall prey to fake-check scam
If you're job hunting, beware: Online scammers are looking to take advantage of people seeking employment by making phony job offers.
Kathleen Boylan thought she'd found a great job through the popular website Ziprecruiter.com. But she now she realizes a scammer used the site to take advantage of her, CBS New York reports.
Boylan, a New Jersey resident, received a job offer via email for an administrative position. The man who sent it said his name was Steven and that he worked for Williams Engineering in Canada.
Despite having filled out no paperwork, and never having spoken to him on the phone, Boylan was floored.
"I was so excited," she told CBS New York. "I was like, oh a got a job! I got a job!"
She then got a cashiers' check in the mail for two weeks' worth of salary — $3,500. It came with specific instructions to deposit the check and send a copy of the deposit slip, Boyland told WCBS.
Boylan did so, depositing the check into her Wells Fargo account at a branch in Bloomfield and sending "Steven" proof of the transaction. He then told her he had a business expense account he needed her to take care of, not with a company account but with several reloadable cash cards.
Boylan bought the cards herself, scratched off the code, and sent the redemption numbers to "Steven." She thought the cards would be covered by the cashier's check—until the check came back as fraudulent.
In retrospect, "there were so many red flags," Boylan said. She never heard from "Steven" again, and when she tried to call him, the line went dead.
Fake-check fraud is common and can hit anyone, according to the Better Business Bureau. While the scam often targets younger people, older victims of these scams tend to lose greater sums of money, the BBB found.
CBS2 reached out to ZipRecruiter, which said the user named "Steven" is permanently banned from using their service. Wells Fargo said customers are responsible for the full amount of the check they deposit if it bounces. Both companies stress to be wary of anyone asking you to transfer funds or cash a check on their behalf.
Boylan said the realization she'd been duped was almost too much to bear.
"I just can't believe somebody would do this to somebody who's looking for work," she said. "I don't know that I want to live in a world where people go around doing things like this."