Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Carmel on the Case: Job Scam
Job seekers beware. If you're looking for a new career on the Internet, watch out. Instead of getting a job, you could end up getting ripped off. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the Case.
WSVN -- Do you ever wonder how we managed without computers? Today they're in almost every home and can help us with almost every aspect of life. But if you're looking for a job on-line-- watch out.
Barbara Rodriguez: "I saw this ad where it says, work from home as a payment processor."
Barbara Rodriguez thought she'd found the perfect job. Without hesitation, she filled out an application.
Barbara Rodriguez: "I went in, put my name and address, my social, everything they ask you for in an application, because most jobs do criminal background checks, they do history and all that."
The out-of-state company said she got the job, but Barbara would have to meet a few requirements.
Barbara Rodriguez: "An email address that is specifically for the job, a zero-balance bank account for the job."
And she was told to get a separate cell phone where the company could reach her twice a day.
Then the first call came in.
Barbara Rodriguez: "Telling me that the first wire transfer went in to please complete it before 2 o'clock."
Barbara Rodriguez: "I see the account is 9,900 available credit. Oh, wow, it cleared perfect."
Next, Barbara was told to wire the money to three different people-- in Russia.
And this is where Barbara gets into big trouble. The money that was wired into her account had been stolen from another account. The bank caught it and put a freeze on all of Barbara's personal accounts.
Barbara: "My whole life just fell to the floor. Nine thousand dollars, they are going to take me to jail. I'm going to owe this money. How can that be? I don't have $9,000. Where am I going to come up with this money?"
At first, her bank was not sympathetic, but it is now investigating.
Barbara: "She was already treating me like I knew what was going on. I'm guilty, and I've got the $9,000 in my pocket, and I'm having a great ol' time. That's how I felt."
I just want this whole nightmare to be a bad dream.
Barbara says she had been convinced the company was legit. She says the website looked professional, and there were lots of testimonials from happy clients. But she's since learned it's easy to pretend in cyberspace.
The Better Business Bureau says bogus job offers on the Internet are snagging victims nationwide.
But there are red flags to look for. First, an unscrupulous company will have no interest in meeting the employee.
Al Polizzi: "If they don't want to meet you, they just want to hire you, that's a bad sign."
And young people are easy targets.
Al Polizzi: "It's because they are desperate, and they are needy, and the criminals prey upon this."
Experts say, if you are searching on-line for a job, don't give anyone your date of birth, your social security number or a copy of your driver's license.
Al Polizzi: "This is all premature, and no legitimate company is going to ask for that in advance."
Also, never open up an account in your name for someone else's business.
Al Polizzi: "You're accepting money and then transferring it to someone else. You have to think about, why can't they do that? How am I really benefiting, and what's wrong with this picture.
Barbara Rodriguez: "I guess this happened to me so I could get the word out there so it doesn't happen to someone else.
Carmel Cafiero: "Although the bank is investigating, Barbara faces the possibility she may have to come up with close to ten grand for a job that never existed."
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