Fake job scams: How to avoid a 'side hustle' swindle

NEW YORK (WABC) -- It's exciting to get hired for a job or an internship opportunity, except some jobs out there are scams designed to bury your bank account.

You won't see it coming because these phony employers are placing ads where many of us are looking for work.

The newest swindle we're seeing is a sneaky side hustle involving designer goods.

A con artist convinces you to buy designer sneakers or handbags, and then ships them out. They explain that once the products are received, they'll flip the items and send you a check with a fat profit.

But the funds never arrive and you're now swindled out of hundreds of dollars.

And it's not just students who are getting schooled with fake summer jobs and internships.

It starts with you receiving a legitimate-looking cashier's check.

You are asked to just cash the check, buy supplies and send back the money left over, typically by wire or gift cards. However, weeks later, the check bounces and you're left owing the bank big bucks.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, common examples include asking people to pay upfront for credit reports and background checks for work-at-home start-up kits or software.

If an employer or employment service firm wants you to pay, even if they say it's for certification training material or other company expenses, don't do business with them.

The sitting service Care.com is warning its clients to stay away from nanny-for-hire schemers.

They say these scam artists reach out off the website by emailing or texting, and offering to hire you to babysit their kids without ever having met in person.

They offer to pay for several weeks or months upfront. They'll send a big check and then ask you to either return some of the money or buy items and ship them off.

Then after the check turns to rubber, you're out of all the money you've spent for this fake family.

The big takeaway: Anytime you're asked to pay upfront to get a job, it's a scam. You should never have to spend money to earn money.

Also, never surrender your bank account or credit card information.

One ruse might be that the employers say they need this information to set up your direct deposit.

And remember, trust your gut. If the pay is so good and the job is too easy, it's a good bet that this job is too good to be true.


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