August 19, 2005
GENERAL WARNS ABOUT ONLINE JOB SCAMS INVOLVING ‘PAYMENT
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. is warning job-seekers
who post their resumes online to beware of a scam in which
asked to act as a financial go-between and "process payments" or "transfer
funds." The usual ploy is that a company is recruiting American
citizens to process payments for employees or clients overseas.
They are instructed to deposit checks into their own bank account,
take a small commission, and then wire the proceeds elsewhere,
often overseas. The checks are later found to be counterfeit, so
the consumer loses the money he or she wired.
Be suspicious of offers of employment that talk about processing
financial transactions or that request your bank account number," Curran
As an example, the State of Arkansas announced earlier this week
that it is investigating a scam in which job-seekers who posted
a resume online received an e-mail from "Void Computers Inc," which
said it needed help cashing checks from the State of Arkansas.
Checks for $5,200 from Turkey were sent in the job-seeker’s
name, with instructions that the checks be cashed and the money
wired to an address in Latvia, minus a 10% commission. The would-be
employees were instructed to avoid banks and instead go to a check-casher,
liquor store or similar business. While people in some states were
able to cash the checks, the checks were ultimately not honored
by the State of Arkansas. Reports of the forged checks have come
from individuals in Maryland, among other states.
Curran stated that this is just one example of a number of scams
involving fraudulent checks that his office has seen. Curran’s
office has heard from Internet auction sellers who received a check
from a buyer for more than the agreed-upon amount–for example,
a $1,500 check instead of $150. The buyer contacted the seller,
apologized for the mistake and asked the seller to send the excess
amount back. The seller’s bank later informed him that the
buyer’s check was bogus.
If you receive a check for hundreds more than the agreed-upon amount,
smell something fishy," said Curran. "Insist that the
person send a check for the correct amount. You’ll probably
never hear from that person again."