These are 2 of the most common scams we see today, but they are only a sample of all the scams that are circulating, and new ones are probably created every day. They are very appealing, and even smart people “fall” for them.
You will find these scams in e-mail sent to you by people you don’t know. You’ll also find these jobs posted on legitimate Websites, like Craigslist, and also on well-known job sites.
If you fall for one of them, the result can be loss of the money you do have, trouble with the IRS or other law enforcement agency, and identity theft when your SSN is provided to the fake “employer.” Trust AFTER you verify!
The Payment Representative Scam
This “job” has many names — account representative, accounting payments clerk, and more — but the basic idea is the same.
The “employer” in this case is a company outside of the U.S. (any country) which has, for some reason, difficulty dealing with the U.S. banking system.
This is the job/scam:
- They send you large checks.
- You deposit their checks into your bank account.
- You deduct your 10% (or whatever) “commission” from the total amount.
- Then, you immediately forward the balance to them in a check drawn on your bank account.
For example, you receive a $10,000 check from outside the U.S., payable to you. You deposit the $10,000 into your bank account. You overnight a check to them for $9,000, retaining your 10% commission.
Think about this one for a minute –
- Why would a legitimate company, regardless of location, have difficulty using the international banking system?
- Why would a legitimate employer send a complete stranger $10,000, and trust that stranger to deduct the correct amount from it, and forward the rest to the proper destination?
It just doesn’t make sense when you think about it.
The scam? Their check to you bounces. But, they have deposited your $9,000 check, and you are out of luck – in trouble with the IRS (for the $10,000 deposit), your bank (which expects you to cover that $9,000 check they cashed), and anyone else who received a check from you that bounced when the $10,000 deposit didn’t actually go into your account.
The Package Shipper/Re-Shipper Scam
This job also has many names, like package forwarder. But the duties are the same:
- They send you packages.
- You may simply forward to another address or
You may be required to break open the package and convert it into smaller packages which you may send to several locations.
This only takes a few hours every week, and you are promised a handsome fee for doing the receiving and reshipping.
Think about this one for a minute –
- Why would a legitimate company, regardless of location, have difficulty sending packages to people?
- Why would a legitimate company trust complete strangers with valuable shipments?
Again, it just doesn’t make sense, when you take the time to think about it.
The scam? The contents of the packages are stolen property, and the employee/re-shipper is actually guilty of receiving stolen property, even if they send it along to the next person. So, they have made you an accessory to their crime!
As the old sergeant from the Hill Street Blues tv show said to the police officers as they headed out for their day’s work, “Be careful out there!”
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn.
More about this author…