Consumer Alert: Job Scam
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - So many people go online to find a job these days. But a valley woman says after applying for a job, she fell victim to a scam. Contact 13's Tricia Kean has her warning to others in this consumer alert.
"After I put everything together, I'm upset with myself," says Zaquinca Billops.
She says she should have known better. She's right in the middle of trying to fix a big mess with her bank. And it all started when she applied for a job last month.
"I was looking for a second job. I was online and I was checking out different online companies," says Zaquinca.
She says she found a posting for an administrative assistant position and applied. And after only a few days, she was hired.
The company emailed her this paperwork to fill out as a new employee including a direct deposit form for getting her paycheck. Zaquinca says at the time, it all seemed very routine.
"Everybody knows if you want to get direct deposit to your bank, you have to give your bank account number," says Zaquinca.
But that's when the trouble started. Not long after giving the company her bank information, Zaquinca was shocked to find a deposit in her checking account for $9,500.
"I look and I'm like are you kidding me? Obviously something is wrong somebody deposited the wrong money," says Zaquinca.
But it was no mistake. Zaquinca's new boss actually made two really big deposits.
"I'm looking at everything and I notice there's another $9,000 in my account," says Zaquinca.
In all, more than $18,000 had been added to her account. And this is when Zaquinca realized this job was actually a scam. After the money was deposited, she got this email from her new boss. He told Zaquinca to keep five percent of the money for herself, and then transfer the rest.
"First you're going to withdraw the money in cash and then you're going to go to Western Union," says Zaquinca.
The email gives a list of people she's supposed to wire the money to in the Ukraine. But she didn't fall for that and emailed us instead. She knows from watching Contact 13 reports, never to wire money to someone you don't know.
"For any type of employment, any time you receive funds and they're wanting you to wire money else where, there's a problem," says Rhonda Mettler.
Rhonda with the Better Business Bureau says do your homework, especially when dealing with online companies.
"You definitely have to check out the company before you do business with them," says Rhonda.
Otherwise you could find yourself in trouble. In Zaquinca's case, she ran into a problem when trying to tell her bank what happened.
"When I get to the bank, they tell me, we're already holding all your funds," says Zaquinca.
This letter shows all three of Zaquinca's accounts are now frozen. The bank has cut off access to any of her money while it investigates these mysterious deposits. And when Zaquinca called her new boss to tell him what happened...
"He hung up. And ever since then I haven't gotten any phone call or anything," says Zaquinca.
And when Contact 13 called, the number was disconnected, and no one responded to our email.
So here's the Contact 13 bottom line: the BBB warns, while it's routine to give your bank account information for direct deposit, you should be suspicious of any money deposited in your account, before you've even started work. A good rule of thumb is, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you've been a victim of a scam, let us know. Email us at email@example.com. For Contact 13, I'm Tricia Kean.