DENVER, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - A fake check scam continues to target North Carolina residents.
Mary Reynolds was excited when she received a job offer to be a personal assistant. The position paid $400 a week.
"My husband's out of work permanently for disability," said Reynolds. "And if something were to happen, I'd lose my house."
Reynolds posted her resume on the popular job seeking website Indeed.com. A man, named Edgar Andres, contacted her claiming to be the owner of a marketing company called ArtClusive Design.
"I didn't think anything of it," said Reynolds. "You wouldn't have thought anything of it because it all said, 'Indeed,' 'I found you on Indeed.'"
In emails, Andres said he was going to send a "certified check" for $1650. Reynolds was instructed to "deposit the payment" into her bank account. Her first "assignment," she was told, was to return $1220 back to Andres, so he could donate it to "the Orphanage home."
"I am donating it to the orphans," he wrote. "I contacted the orphanage home, and I was given the list of the items to be bought, the items that are much and will cost a lot to get them shipped, so we have reached an accord, They will be getting the items themselves."
Andres does not mention the name of the orphanage.
Experts say this is likely an "overpayment scam." The scheme usually works like this: a crook sends the victim a fake check to deposit into their bank account, usually at an ATM. Until the bank realizes the check is fake, the "funds" can show up as available. The thief will ask for a portion of that money to be returned to them, usually in the form of untraceable gift cards, and give various excuses as to why they need the money back. When the scammer's phony check bounces, the "funds" are withdrawn and the victim is left on the hook to repay the money to the bank.
The victim is also out the money "repaid" to the scammer.
Reynolds was suspicious of all of this because she watched a FOX 46 report last week about a similar fake check scam.
FOX 46 investigative reporter Matt Grant called Andres and left a message but never heard back.
Indeed says it reserves the right to remove job ads that don't meet its standards. The Federal Trade Commission says if someone sends you a check, and asks for money back, it's a scam.
Luckily, Reynolds didn't lose any money. But she did lose something else.
"I'm scared. I don't trust anybody now," she said.
The former identity theft victim, who just moved to North Carolina, said she has a message for the person behind this latest scheme.
"Thanks for ruining my faith in humanity," she said.
FOX 46 passed along the information to Indeed.com. A spokesperson would not say if the company will remove Andres' job posting but did release the following statement:
Indeed's mission is to help people get jobs, and the quality of the job advertisements posted by third parties on our site is central to our mission. Indeed has a team dedicated to the Search Quality effort, and employs a variety of techniques to review job advertisements to determine their suitability. Indeed reserves the right to remove any job postings that do not meet our standards and we encourage job seekers to report any suspect job advertisements to us, or if they feel it necessary to make a report to the police. Job seekers should never agree to send payment to a potential employer, and charging fees is a violation of Indeed's rules for companies posting on our site. We encourage job seekers to review our Guidelines for Safe Job Search.
What to Watch For
The Federal Trade Commission has warned about the "overpayment scam" and recommends the following:
- Don't deposit a check, wire money or send money back in any way to people you don't know.
- If a check you deposit bounces - even after it seemed to clear - you are responsible for repaying the bank.
- Money orders and cashier's checks can also be counterfeited.
- If someone sent you a check and asked you to send some money back it's a scam.
- Banks have to make deposited funds available quickly by law. But the bank may not learn for days that the check was bad. By then, the scammer will have your money. Just because a check has cleared does not mean it is good.
- Be wary. Talk to someone you trust and contact your bank before you act.
- Never take a check for more than your selling price if you are selling an item.
- If you are selling an item online, consider using an escrow or online payment service.
- Never send money back to someone who sent you a check.
- Report fake check scams to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint