Police are concerned about a wave of job seekers being targeted by scammers online, falling prey to schemes done through seemingly legitimate job postings and popular job search engines with the unwitting job seeker losing hundreds to thousands of dollars in check-cashing schemes.
Duluth investigators said the 50 or so victims just in their jurisdiction over the past 6 months were targeted by scammers posting job listings across various industries, from accounting, business administration, and part-time work such as mystery shopping and modeling gigs.
Some of the scammers created false postings using legitimate company names, police said.
"The sad part of the situation is, [someone] may be out just looking for a job or may be unemployed," said Duluth Police Officer Ted Sadowski, who said the recent spike in the number of victims would be reflective among other jurisdictions in the Metro Atlanta area and nationwide.
No matter the industry, the scheme appeared the same: After the victim applied for a job on a popular search engine, the scammer posing as an employer notified the job applicant they were hired. The applicants were then instructed to provide a bank account and routing number to the phony employers for the purposes of depositing funds for training, fees, a bonus or expenses.
The check would eventually be determined as fraudulent by the victim's bank, but after the victim had already transferred the money to the scammer's account for a business-related purpose.
Authorities warn job seekers to thoroughly vet the companies they apply to and hear back from, and be wary when an employer requests your routing and bank account number.
If you believe you are a victim, police advise people to freeze their bank accounts, flag their credit, and report the ordeal to their local police jurisdiction.