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Avoid Online Job Scams

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by Kallie Dixon, Vice President/Compliance Officer/BSA/OFAC/CRA Officer


HOMEBANK employees have reported an increase in online scams over the past few months. You’ve probably heard about these types of crimes in the news and thought “that could never happen to me.” But it DOES happen to people just like you. Good, honest people who wish to see the best in others. Here’s what happened recently to one of your neighbors…

Jessica recently lost her job from a local employer and was looking for a new job and fast. After looking at online job sites, Jessica found an employment opportunity as an online Public Relations Consultant. The job offered was a work-from-home opportunity with a monthly salary that was $500 more than what Jessica was making at her previous job. Jessica applied right away.

The following day, the potential new employer conducted an interview via email with asking various questions.  Shortly after, Jessica received a job offer and was asked to accept the terms of what the employer called a “job agreement.” The employer asked for Jessica to also confirm she was ready to start working via email.

Jessica accepted the terms of the job offer and began receiving instructions of her new job duties. Task one was to create a group on Facebook with the business’s name on it. After setting up the Facebook page, Jessica was asked to pay an advertising agency to assist with branding the page. Jessica’s new boss stated a check would be received to pay the advertising agency.

A few days later, Jessica received the check in the mail. The check was payable to Jessica for more than $2000. Following the receipt of the check, Jessica’s manager provided instructions of what to do with the funds once the check was deposited into Jessica’s personal bank account. The manager requested she use $1,600 to purchase cryptocurrency at a cryptocurrency ATM. The manager provided locations of where Jessica could locate a cryptocurrency ATM. A cryptocurrency wallet ID was also provided for the funds to be transferred to. The instructions also stated Jessica could transfer the funds via the Cash App.

Jessica began to question the whole process and slowly stopped responding to emails being received. Since Jessica did not acknowledge receiving the check, the emails from the manager started to include demeaning language and discussion of various lawsuits if she did not answer.

Jessica did transfer funds to her own Cash App account and sent a portion of the funds requested by the employer. After the transaction was conducted, Jessica ended communications completely with the unknown individual.

Here are some Red Flags to spot an Online Job Scam:

  • Interview was conducted via email – if this was a legitimate job, the employer would conduct an interview in-person, phone call, or possibly through a web service like Zoom or Webex.
  • All communications were conducted via emailif this was a legitimate job, you would be provided other methods of contacting the employer.
  • Sending funds to another individual or business if you receive funds as part of the job or as your payroll check and then are asked to immediately send a portion to another individual or business, be alert as this is not a common business practice. In this example, if an advertising agency needs paid, most businesses have Accounting Departments that will pay all invoices required and will not ask new employees to complete the task.

A job listed on a legitimate job website does not always mean it is a legitimate job. Scammers are highly sophisticated individuals and are skilled to make job postings appear like an actual job listing posted by a company. If the hiring process seems off, do not hesitate to look up the company’s website and call the company directly to inquire about a potential job offer received.

If you believe you have been or are being targeted for a cybercrime, please call HOMEBANK immediately and let us put some extra security protection on your account. As custodians of your money, we take this very seriously and want to make sure that bad people are not trying to take advantage of you.