Business

Better Business Bureau says online scams on the rise

Online job scams are growing in number throughout the country.Paula Fleming, vice president of communications and marketing for the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in Massachusetts, says case studies stand as testament to this growing wave of cyber crime.For example, she offered the story of a job seeker who responded to an advertisement by the North American headquarters of T&T Corp. The phony company, supposedly doing business as Trust & Trade, claimed to be an auto parts manufacturer with offices in 41 countries.Here was the pitch: Hired as a “transfer processor,” the employee was asked to provide her checking account number, into which $2,080 was transferred shortly thereafter.”She was told to use the funds to send a moneygram from $1,980, which was less than her cost, to T&T’s office in Poland,” said Fleming. “She also received a Fedex package with three money orders to deposit into her checking account, and to ?transfer’ to another of the company’s officers.”Here was the truth: The money orders had already been cashed months ago.The BBB in Jacksonville, Fla. advised the woman that her fraudulent wire transfers could be recalled or “bounce” and not to draw any funds from the transfer. The woman was encouraged to close her bank account to prevent further access and loss.”The BBB also discovered that although the company sported a slick, sophisticated website, the phone numbers on the site and the number of its website registration were unlisted,” said Fleming. “The address for the entity registering the website turned out to be a hotel with no commercial offices.”Fleming offered another anecdote involving a resume posted online by an aspiring journalist.Here’s how that scam worked. The would-be journalist received an email from “the world’s fastest-growing news organization,” telling her she qualified to be an editor. The job seeker would be responsible for recruiting her own writers and collecting and sending their email addresses to the company. The writers would then be paid by the number of hits their stories received once posted on the news organization’s website.According to Fleming, the new “editor” heard no more from the news organization, but was soon besieged by a slew of spam.An investigation by the BBB in Washington, D.C. turned up the address listed on the organization’s website. It was a service that forwarded email for other businesses.”Rather than offering jobs, the phony news organization was a scheme to amass and sell personal contact information,” Fleming said.

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