Employment scammers victimize Northeast Ohioans as people try to return to work post-pandemic

Published: May. 27, 2021 at 6:48 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Scammers are preying on those who are trying to do the honest thing and go back to work after months of unemployment.

Our Partners at the Cuyahoga County Scam Squad say it’s a growing trend, and people right here in Northeast Ohio have been victimized

One viewer, who asked not to be identified says after having a baby last year, his wife thought she recently secured a position working from their North Ridgeville home.

“You’re so excited, working from home, taking care of the baby-- you’re getting two things done,” he said. “They told her you are approved, you’re hired for the job.”

He says after a zoom chat interview, the company they’d research and found to be legit sent them a check for $4,300.

The wife was told to deposit it, and then send money on for computer equipment she’d need for the job.

Unfortunately, Sue McConnell with the BBB knows all about the scam the couple came to realize they were caught in, after sending part of the money- $1500- off to the criminals.

“We are definitely seeing an increase in employment scam submissions on our scam tracker site,” McConnell said.

“Things have been real tough, not just for us, but for most of the people throughout the year,” the victim’s husband said. “Everything just shattered. We are both unemployed to this second with a baby.”

McConnell says scammers will look for resumes posted online, and it’s a big red flag if they reach out to you, instead of you applying to a position.

“There are criminals and scammers that will spoof websites of legitimate businesses,” McConnell said.

The BBB gave these other tips about how to tell if a position you’re offered is legitimate.

  • Some positions are more likely to be scams. Always be wary of work-from-home, package reshipment, and secret shopper positions, as well as any job with a generic title such as caregiver, administrative assistant, or customer service rep. Positions that don’t require special training or licensing appeal to a wide range of applicants. Scammers know this and use these otherwise legitimate titles in their fake ads. If the job posting is for a well-known brand, check the real company’s job page to see if the position is posted there. Look online; if the job comes up in other cities with the exact same post, it’s likely a scam.
  • Different procedures should raise your suspicion. Any sort of pressure to sign or onboard is a red flag, as legitimate companies will understand that employment choices are big decisions. 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. Be careful if a company promises you great opportunities or a big income under the condition that you pay for coaching, training, certifications or directories.
  • Never deposit unexpected or fishy checks. Be cautious sharing any kind of personal information (including your banking and credit cards) or accepting any kind of pre-payment. Don’t fall for an overpayment scam; no legitimate job would ever overpay an employee and ask for money to be wired elsewhere.
  • Government agencies post all jobs publicly and freely. The U.S. and Canadian federal governments and the U.S. Postal Service/Canada Postal Service never charge for information about jobs or applications for jobs. Be wary of any offer to give you special access or guarantee you a job for a fee – if you are paying for the promise of a job, it’s probably a scam.
  • Get all details and contracts in writing. A legitimate recruiter will provide you with a complete contract for their services with cost, what you get, who pays (you or the employer), and what happens if you do not find a job.

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