Think Twice Before You Take a Work-from-Home Offer - WBAY

Target 2 Consumer Alert

Think Twice Before You Take a Work-from-Home Offer

Updated:

The Appleton Better Business Bureau is warning job hunters about work-from-home job schemes, after a Fox Valley woman told them she lost thousands of dollars.

The woman thought she landed a legitimate job.  While she didn't want to talk with Action 2 News on-camera, we want to explain how it all happened so you can protect yourself and spot a suspicious job offer.

The Better Business Bureau says the woman was under the understanding it was a work-at-home data entry job.

"As it turns out what she was doing was receiving checks, depositing to her personal account and then was asked to wire money to a variety of people," said Susan Bach, Better Business Bureau. "This is a very common work at home scam the Better Business Bureau sees pretty regularly. Those checks she was receiving turned out to be counterfeit."

Here's what helped lure in the victim: A reference to the "Job Center of Wisconsin" in the email job offer from the company "Thermal Development Incorporated." According to the BBB, that business does not exist.

"They'll use very common employment web sites -- this one or Career Builder, Monster, doesn't matter. They've all been hit by this scam," said Bach.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development operates the Job Center web site.  It's free for job hunters and employers.

We asked a Job Center spokesperson how its web site was used in this job scheme.

"This did not involve an actual job posting," said John Dipko, Job Center spokesman. "The only way they used the web site was to access information about this particular job seeker, access their contact information, then approach this person through an email contact -- not through Job Center of Wisconsin."

This incident is part of the reason the Job Center now takes additional steps to verify employers.

"As more people are using it and its profile continues to gain traction, we routinely look at ways that we can strengthen the integrity of the site and to protect job seekers and employers," said Dipko.

In fact, right on the Job Center web site, under "Job Seeker Tools," you'll find a warning of typical employment scams and how to protect yourself:

  • Never pay fees upfront
  • Check cashing is a huge red flag
  • Never give out personal information, like your Social Security number, until you are actually hired by a real company
  • Do your own research; check out a company and contact them by phone or in person. If they decline, that's another red flag

Here are some helpful links for job seekers:

To check out a company through the Better Business Bureau:  http://www.bbb.org/

The Job Center of Wisconsin reminds job seekers of protecting themselves. It asks all consumers and employers alike to be on the lookout to alert them of any misuse of its site. http://www.wisconsinjobcenter.org/   

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