money for nothin…

27 Jan

Got up this morning and saw a very disturbing story about people scamming people through  They covered one scam – which adminittedly is a pretty lame scam. but people are falling for it. 

You get contacted by a firm they “hire” you but… OH NOES!  You need the latest Laptop, or a company cell phone or other medium to large purchase.   Don’t worry, they’ll send you a check for the expenses to get you working right away… what’s your bank account number?  They need to do a wire transfer. 

All of this seems somewhat reasonable.  And when you’re out of work it sounds like a dream come true.  Problem is that like many things that are too good to be true it is.  You give them your bank account info – and they give you an empty bank account.

Now, here’s another scam they can do… in order to get you your supplies their company ONLY banks through bank _________ and you need to set up an account there.  (In the example on TV the bank was Wells Fargo – but I’ve seen this scam with others.)  Once you set up an account there they send a check through.  You go buy the laptop and send them the receipt.   Sounds pretty legit right?  They  did send you money all they wanted was the receipt – you got a laptop out of the deal right?

Three days later your new bank account informs you it’s waaaay overdrawn and that banking fraud is illegal.  Seems that tansfer got refused.  You now owe the bank for the money – and the credit card company you bought the laptop through – and you btw – find out the laptop that you sent that reciept for?  It’s already been returned somewhere else.

Here’s how this works – it relies on a scam that knows how banks work.  So when someone gives you a wire transfer… you sit on that check until it actually clears.  When dealing with someone new that asks unusual requests like these… call the bank and verify the funds.  They can do this without alerting anyone, and it’s actually accepted banking behavior. 

So… be careful.  Watch out for Monster, HotJobs and especially Craigs List jobs … if you’re  professional – verify the company with a professional web site, or make some calls.  Check with better business bueau – do a bit of research. 

Earlier this year I had a very legit firm that contacted me.  I went through 3 rounds of interviews over the phone and got flown out to meet for a face to face interview.  A great group of people.  But something didn’t feel right so I did some googling and checking for sales numbers, checking for who the company was and what they’d done vs. what their PR said they wanted to do.  Turned out their eyes were bigger than their pocketbooks and I was actually called by them the week before I was to start (after months of contact and planning) and they informed me they were unable to hire me.

Had I not been expecting this – financially it would have been a disaster. 

So – lessons learned for everyone – Check All Future Employers out!  They run a background check on you – you should be running one on them.    Google., ,, there are dozens of ways to look up a company – look them up.  Do a search on future bosses.  Know who it is that is making that offer – know as much about their business as the do.  It can’t hurt … and your impressive knowledge of their company may actually help you land a job. 

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Posted by on January 27, 2009 in Work


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