While looking for a way to earn extra income, "David" comes across a company hiring a virtual assistant. The posting claims all work is done via email, and instructions will arrive each week, detailing a list of tasks to perform as part of the job. The company doesn't have a website, but there has been communication with what appears to be a local representative via email and telephone. David is instructed to deposit a $3,000 company check into his personal bank account. He is told to keep $500, which is his pay for the week, and withdraw the rest of the funds and deposit them into three other bank accounts at the employer's direction. David is convinced that he has started the job of his dreams, and believes he is performing routine tasks for the company. In reality, he is acting as a money mule and participating in a fraud scheme.
Unfortunately, David's experience is not uncommon. With the new world of widespread remote work, who wouldn't want an ideal employment situation with easy work and a generous salary? But, when you see an ad to work-from-home that involves using your personal bank account or money – stop and look out for red flags! Work-from-home scams involve thieves making false promises to job applicants in order to steal their money, confidential data, or both.
These scams are hard to recognize, since they often appear among legitimate employment postings. But there are some common red flags that could signal trouble.
- No company website where you can learn more about the business.
- Requests to transfer money from your bank account to other accounts.
- Promises of easy money for simple tasks like sending or receiving packages or money.
- Communication from a potential employer using a free email account, like Gmail.
- Instructions to deposit funds into your personal account for an amount that exceeds your regular pay.
Fraudsters may combine one or more tactics to complete their awful schemes. If you're hired for a work-from-home job that exhibits red flags, stop communicating with them. Contact your financial institution if you used your account to deposit or transfer money on behalf of the employer.
- Never pay for a promise of a job.
- Don't open new bank accounts at the direction of someone else.
- Research the company online before applying for the position.
- Reject positions in which you’re hired without an in-person, video, or phone interview.
- Speak with a Logix employee if your new employer sends you a paycheck overpayment and asks you to return the difference.
Remember that if an opportunity seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you suspect a work-from-home scam, report it to local law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission. Help spread the word to reduce this crime in your community!
*Logix Federal Credit Union is not affiliated with any of the external sources referenced in this article, and is a separate entity.
Please contact Logix at (800) 328-5328 or visit www.lfcu.com if you have any questions about this topic or would like to consider opening an account.