Finding a job can be a full-time job of its own. So the day you finally hear the words "you're hired" can be exciting. But don't let you're emotions get the best of you. We have a Contact 13 Consumer Alert from a valley woman who learned that lesson the hard way.
"I'm just disappointed," says Joy Cook.
She's the victim of a job scam.
"I think probably my defenses were down a little bit, just because I was not fully employed," says Joy.
She posted her resume on several websites, looking for a position as an executive assistant. One of the companies to finally reach out, was based overseas.
"I wasn't thrilled that they were in India, but a lot of companies and organizations are overseas," says Joy.
She checked out the company's website and communicated through instant messaging.
"I even spoke to him on the phone... I mean we had a conversation. He made me feel comfortable," says Joy.
So she was thrilled when they offered her the job. But working for this company meant Joy would need special software. So they sent this check for $3,900. Joy was instructed to deposit the money in her account, withdrawal the cash, then put it in another account to pay for the software. But a couple days later...
"He said I've just been notified that there's not enough money," says Joy.
They sent her a second check, this time for $4,800 and just like last time, she paid the software vendor. But Joy wasn't ready for what happened next.
"I get a letter from the bank saying that this came back, it looks to be counterfeit," says Joy.
Both checks were fake, and she was out almost $9,000. She contacted her new employer right away, but of course he disappeared. So what did Joy do wrong?
"You have to actually do research," says Rhonda Mettler with the Better Business Bureau. She says contact the company and confirm everything. Joy may have looked at their website, but she stopped there. Also beware of any company sending you money.
"Nobody's going to pay you in advance," says Rhonda Mettler.
If you do accept a check, wait until your bank confirms that its cleared. Your bank will always make the funds available right away for your convenience. But it could take a few days, or even weeks, to confirm the money is actually there. Joy says she wants others to learn from her mistake.
"I just want people to be cautious... Basically you can't trust anyone, and that's pretty sad," says Joy.
So here's the Contact 13 bottom line. If you deposit a fake check, just like Joy, you'll be responsible for paying that money back to your bank. And if you're the target of an online job scam, be sure to file a complaint with the FBI.