FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - What seems like the ideal work-from-home gig could actually be a scam.
Crooks are capitalizing on the coronavirus, luring job seekers with phony listings on social media or sites like Craigslist.
"Because it is a work-from-home kind of scam, we are seeing a rise in it due to our current circumstances," said Amy Rasor, with the Better Business Bureau of Fort Worth.
Employment scams are nothing new.
The BBB already ranked the ruse as the number one risk to consumers in 2019 before the coronavirus outbreak.
Fort Worth resident Georgeann Meeks started working for a company that contacted her through Monster.com, where she had posted her resume.
She said she was told to receive high-end goods at her home, then reship the packages elsewhere.
What she didn't know was whether the items were stolen. So she quit.
"They're going to keep doing it. And I'd really like someone to catch them," said Meeks, who contacted the FBI and local police.
Another situation profiled by The Ones for Justice involved a woman who was asked to remotely print payroll checks using her own materials.
Shady job offers are so pervasive, even legitimate companies are feeling the blowback.
Kimberley Stevenson is a recruiter for a work-from-home company.
Lately, she said applicants are asking whether her business' job postings are real or fake.
"I've seen people emailing in," Stevenson said. They've lost hundreds or thousands of dollars because they thought they had to send money in."
To avoid fake employment operations:
-Verify job openings on the company's actual website
-Email someone in the Human Resources department about the listing
-Get the official job offer and terms in writing
-Avoid gigs that charge hires for basic training
-Never send anyone personal information, such as your bank account or your social security number, before you are even hired.
"It's frustrating to know my family couldn't afford to lose hundreds of dollars," Stevenson said. "Neither can these people looking for work."
To report an employment scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
The Dallas Police Department's Financial Investigations Unit is also reporting an uptick in complaints over coronavirus scams related to the IRS and the Social Security Administration, among other agencies.
DPD is warning the public that a legitimate group will never ask people to send gift cards to resolve an issue.
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