BBB warns students of employment scam

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Students, busy trying to earn grades instead of cash, seem to be most likely to need easy money.

Scammers are taking advantage.

Welcome to the Employment Scam.

“I have never seen anything like this ever come out that’s good, never,” says Marjorie Stephens, President/CEO of the Better Business serving Northern Indiana.

This version came to our attention when an email was sent to a student at Purdue in West Lafayette, reading “Purdue State University Job Placement & Student Services has selected you as a Secret Shopper.”

It promised to pay up to $1,000 a week.

Students seem likely to trust an email that comes to their school account.

“They’re students,” says Stephens. “They need money for books. They need money for recreation. They’re a very easy target.”

A couple clicks and a few days later, a letter arrives with a check for $980 made out to the student. They are told to deposit the check, buy $750 of video game gift cards, email the card codes to the company, and keep the remaining $230.

In today’s instant “on demand” world, many students are stunned to learn that a bank will instantly make money from the check available – only to want the money back five days later when the bank determines the check-writer didn’t have sufficient money in his account to cover the check.

Stephens says most banks will gladly help customers spot bad checks before the check is cashed or deposited. But when the check bounces, the customer owes that money back.

The BBB says if you’ve been scammed, you should file a police report, although you likely won’t see the money again.

“I would never deal with anyone or take a job with someone that I have not met face to face,” warns Stephens. “That’s really the number one red flag.”

“Number two: no one’s ever going to send you a check prior to your employment, tell you to put it in the bank, deposit it and then to send them some money back.”

To add insult to injury, you’re not only out of money, but often you get put on a “suckers list” and will find even more scams headed your way.

And of course, you can always contact the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana at (800) 552-4631.

WANE 15 contacted Purdue at West Lafayette but the school has not issued a statement.

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