DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — As people continue to rebound from the pandemic, many job seekers are turning to online jobs, and scammers are on the prowl.
The Better Business Bureau said in 2020 there were an estimated 14-million victims with $2B in direct losses because of job scams.
“They had a job, work from home, remote, a couple of hours a day and I was like…hmm that sounds interesting. I just retired, that could be fun,” said Jeannie Blish who almost fell victim to a job scam.
Blish said she was scrolling through Facebook when she came across a job post on a community page.
According to Blish, the person who made the post had a profile, with pictures and appeared legitimate.
Blish is a former competitive gymnastics coach and wanted a way to make some extra money, so she applied and landed the job.
She went through a seemingly normal interview process and followed instructions by sending them a picture of her I.D. until she came across some red flags.
“Nine thousand dollars was the invoice for the materials they were gonna buy. They would send me the money to purchase apple cards to buy the materials that I needed, then I knew,” said Blish.
Blish quickly cut communication and contacted her bank.
A few houses down, Carol Duncan wasn’t as lucky.
She fell victim to a similar scheme over email.
“I immediately went to the bank and said, ‘I think I’ve got a problem,’ and guy in the front desk he looked into it and said ‘lady you’ve been scammed.’ And I said, ‘well, now what do I do?'” said Duncan.
Duncan gave hackers her bank information after they said someone charged nearly a thousand dollars on her Amazon account.
Then the scammers went after $50,000 from her bank account.
“And I did it just cause I was waiting for a phone call to pick up somebody from the hospital, packing to go on a cruise… I was in a hurry, or I wouldn’t have done that,” said Duncan. “I’m mostly mad at myself by being taken in by this and I think everybody should be warned because I think they’re doing this to a lot of people”
Delray Beach police said if you think you’ve become a victim, call your bank first.
“If there’s any chance of recovering the money it will first be through the bank. Sometimes they can stop a wire. Sometimes they can’t, but essentially they want to lock down their account as soon as they can,” said Economic Crimes Detective Kimberly Mead with the Delray Beach Police Department. “Then, secondary to that. make a police report because if a bank is unable to help them right away sometimes the police department can assist at least with helping them lock down any further frauds from happening.”
Mead said never give anybody any personal information unless they’ve been verified.
She said if you haven’t physically spoken to someone over the phone and confirmed the methods of payments and exactly what the process is, be cautious.
“Especially when we’re in an environment now where a lot of people are working from home and a lot of the jobs are online internet-based, it is definitely the perfect environment for scammers,” said Mead.