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Warning signs a perfect remote job is a scam

One woman almost lost thousands of dollars to a fake job
Job market remains robust despite interest rate jump
Posted at 6:09 AM, Jul 08, 2024

Despite many companies bringing employees back to the office the past two years, a lot of workers would still prefer to spend more time working remotely.

As a result, scammers are targeting victims with fake work-from-home jobs.

For example, listings are popping up for jobs such as rating movies, claiming you can watch movies at home and earn $300 or more per day.

While that one may seem a little far-fetched to most people, other work-from-home scams are a lot more elaborate, and lure in even seasoned workers with college degrees.

Deb Kovacs-Sturtevant is one of them.

This veteran office manager suddenly found herself in need of new work.

"After almost 10 years, I was laid off from my remote position," she said.

So she jumped on LinkedIn and some other job hunting sites and found what appeared to be a perfect remote position.

"I applied for a job for a business operations manager," she said.

She even researched the Texas-based physical therapy firm.

"They are a legitimate company," she said. "They have a whole website, and I checked out the CEO's name, the whole nine yards."

Best of all, the listing said she could do it all from home.

So she applied online, and within days received an encouraging email.

"I am pleased to inform you that you have been selected to work for me starting this week," she read from the letter.

But her first assignment confused her; it was to deposit and cash a large check for her employer.

"He said an associate of his would be sending me a check for $2,400," she said. "When I receive the check I am to notify him."

She got suspicious, and decided to not cash the check, which turned out to be a good thing.

The company's name, even the CEO's name, was all legitimate. But the job offer was not.

Kovacs-Sturtevant almost fell for a remote job scam, and she could have lost thousands of her own dollars once the fake check she received bounced.

FBI, FlexJobs warn of reds flags to watch for

The FBI in June issued a new warning about a surge in fake work-from-home jobs.

The bureau says they typically involve a relatively simple task, such as rating restaurants or "optimizing" a service by repeatedly clicking a button.

But then you may be asked to give personal information, a credit card number, or receive and cash (fake) checks.

The FBI says scammers pose as legitimate businesses, such as in Kovacs-Sturtevant's case — and often contact victims through unsolicited calls, texts or messages on social media, especially if they have posted their resume online.

Toni Frana with FlexJobs shared some warning signs that a job listing may be fake.

She said both scammers and legitimate recruiters may also reach out on platforms such as LinkedIn, and other job sites.

"The difference," she explained " is a recruiter is going to work for an organization, and their email address is likely going to have their company name in the dot com section."

In other words, a manager at a legitimate company should not be using a Gmail or Yahoo web address for their communication.

Frana said in addition, always check a company's web page to confirm a recruiter works for that organization.

She said you should also watch out for "grammatical errors and an extreme sense of urgency to hire you for a job, without going through the normal job hiring process, like an interview."

Kovacs-Sturtevant said she can see people who are desperate cashing the $2,400 check she received, and ending up losing money to a scam.

"Some people may even be really down and out, and then they are going to take advantage of them, and that is just awful," she said.

So ask a lot of questions, and look for red flags that your dream remote job is really a scam, so you don't waste your money.

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