SAN DIEGO - A warning is being issued about a scam that could cost you thousands of dollars. The FBI says San Diegans are getting checks in the mail and when they cash them, they are on the hook for the entire amount.
A father of two shared his story with 10News anchor Itica Milanes with the hope that others who are desperate for a job will not fall for the scam.
"I was just a little bit excited getting the opportunity to work," said Raul Alvarez. He has been looking for a job for several months and he thought his luck was turning around when he got an email offering him a job.
"They promise you they're going to pay you $1,000 a week. You get benefits," he said.
Those would even include bonuses at the end of the year.
Alvarez then received a check for $4,970 and was told to deposit it into an account at Republic Bank.
"One of the instructions was to get a check to go buy furniture for a downtown office," he said.
That is when the red flags started going up for the father of two.
"It was too good to be true and I just had a bad feeling," he said.
Alvarez took the check to his bank where a teller told him the check was fake. Had he deposited it, the person behind the scam would have withdrawn the money immediately and the bank would have held Alvarez responsible for the entire amount.
Although he did not fall for it, the FBI said hundreds of thousands of people do every year. In 2013, there were more than 262,000 complaints filed about various employment scams causing a loss of nearly $782 million.
Alvarez spoke about the job to a man on the phone claiming to be Edward Saladoa.
"He has been pushy and insistent," said Alvarez.
Milanes called the number for Saladoa several times and got the voicemail recording. She also checked the company's website and called the number but received no answer.
"I think with the economic situation a lot of people are desperate for jobs and they just fall for it," Alvarez said. "They should just be a little bit fishy. If it's too good to be true, it's not."
Alvarez feels lucky that he listened to his gut and did not fall for the scam. Sometimes, bank tellers do not catch the fake checks so if you get one, do not cash it or deposit until you take it to the bank and ask if it is legitimate.