BBB: New scam twist fools online job hunters

Published 7:09 am Monday, July 13, 2015

(Special to The Leader)

BEAUMONT — Looking for a job as a nanny, babysitter or caregiver? Be careful when responding to job postings or emails. A new scam is preying on job seekers.

The Better Business Bureau is advising job hunters to be wary of a new scam, which happens when you spot a help-wanted ad online or receive an email from a “recruiter.” A couple is moving to the area and looking for a nanny for their children or a caregiver for an elderly relative. The family currently lives in another state, but they want to hire someone before they move.

The job sounds like a great opportunity, so you respond to the ad by sending an email with your resume. You get the job — without an interview — and will start in a few weeks! However, your new boss just needs you to run an errand before the family arrives. In one common scenario, you need to accept the delivery of a medical device. Your employer sends you a check to deposit and asks you to keep some money as payment for your services and then transfer the rest to a third party — supposedly to pay for the goods.

Don’t do it! The check and the third party are both fakes. It can take weeks for your bank to determine a check is phony, and if you withdraw the money before that time, you’re on the hook to pay back the bank. If you’ve already transferred the money to the third party, it’s gone.

  • Don’t fall for an overpayment scam. No legitimate job would ever overpay an employee and ask him/her to wire the money elsewhere. This is a common trick used by scammers.
  • Some positions are more likely to be scams. Always be wary of work from home, secret shopper positions or any job with a generic title, such as caregiver or customer service representative. These positions often don’t require special training or licensing, so they appeal to a wide range of applicants. Scammers know this and use these otherwise legitimate titles in their fake ads.
  • If a job looks suspicious, search for it online. If the result comes up in other cities with the exact same  job post, it is likely a scam. Also, check the real company’s job page to make sure the position is posted there.
  • Watch out for on-the-spot job offers. You may be an excellent candidate for the job, but beware of offers made without an interview. A real company will want to talk to a candidate before hiring him or her.
  • Look for typos and bad grammar.If the offer is coming from a well known brand, their email shouldn’t be riddled with bad writing.