(CBS) — Innocent people, looking for work, are getting tricked out of thousands of dollars because fraudsters are using legitimate job search engines to trap victims
2 investigator Pam Zekman warns: Beware of job scams.
“It was 100 percent work from home where I would receive a weekly compensation and benefits,” recalls Maureen Terrazas. “Gosh. Perfect! This is exactly what I was looking for.”
The stay-at-home mom posted her resume on ZipRecruiter and got an “offer” from the hiring manager at Tyson Foods.
Terrazas says because the offer came through that web site she was not suspicious.
“I thought this was legit,” she says.
It was the same story with David Kane. Health issues left him unable to run his business, so he checked out opportunities with the Mystery Shopping Providers Association.
“And right after that I was contacted by two different secret shoppers, and I thought, ‘Oh, wow, this is great,’” Kane says.
The Better Business Bureau says watch out.
“The scam artists actually go on these job board sites and actually open up fake accounts,” Better Business Bureau President and CEO Steve Bernas says.
Job-seekers are sent fake checks or money orders that look real. They are supposed to be payment for their work and some extra money that they are instructed to deposit in other accounts.
The scammers want it all done fast before the banks discover the checks are counterfeit. Banks are required to make the money available within a few days and victims mistakenly think that means the checks are good.
“They have 30 days to see if the check is fraudulent or counterfeit in some way,” Bernas says. “You’re liable, and the bank can come after you for putting a fraudulent check in your bank account.”
Terrazas’ bank came after her for more than $3,000. She says she was distraught “to realize that I had been the victim of a scam.”
Kane’s bank demanded he pay back more than $6,000.
“I don’t sleep at night. I just keep thinking, ‘What can I do?’ It was devastating,” he says.
“I’ve now got no funds,” Terrazas says. “All because I thought I was now employed with a legitimate company.”
Tyson says it’s disappointed the company was misrepresented and people were misled. ZipRecruiter removed the fraudulent job postings and says it does everything it can to ensure postings are legitimate.
The mystery shoppers association has warnings on its website about fake check scams.