RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — With so many people unemployed and looking for any kind of work, experts say the unemployed need to be leery of work-at-home offers that promise great benefits, high salaries and other incentive s– because they could be scams.
The Better Business Bureau says employment scams are the most common ones they are seeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With many people working from home, a stay-at-home job makes sense, especially for the unemployed.
“I recently moved to North Carolina and lost my job,” said Michelle Dufort.
So, Dufort began posting resumes to well-known legitimate websites like Monster, LinkedIn and Zip Recruiter during her search for work.
When she got a response from a company looking for someone to work from home she was thrilled. What she didn’t know at the time is that the company didn’t use any of those sites to contact her.
“The pay was really good, about $3,000 a month to stay at home and do this,” she said.
Dufort’s job was to receive packages sent to her address and then resend them to a third party.
“You’re basically turning your home into a distribution center,” she said.
She was hired over the phone and the company soon inundated her with emails asking her to click all kinds of links for documents.
The firm also asked for a copy of her driver’s license and a bill to prove her address.
At first glance she said, it appeared the company was real.
“I had their emails and their website and it looked pretty legit,” Dufort said.
But things didn’t quite add up. The website for the California-based company said it was registered with the BBB at a Pennsylvania address.
“I Googled the address and it turned out to be a plumber,” she said.
That began to raise red flags for Dufort.
The company had sent her a W-9 form asking for her social security number. Before Dufort signed it, she called her point of contact at the company to ask a few questions like, what bank do you use for your 401-k?
She said the person she spoke with “got very uncomfortable and didn’t know how to answer the question.”
When she asked how the company found her, the point of contact said it was through a website called CompanyHiring.Com. But when she went on the internet to find it, she found a page that said there was there’s no such website.
Now there were too many red flags to be ignored, she said.
At that point she notified the company she would not work for them.
Even though she never went to work for the company, she said packages began showing up at her home, with the names of different people on them — but with her North Carolina address.
She realized that packages sent to her with many different names on them was shady.
“I’m just acting like a mule — sending them to someone else,” Dufort said.
Alyssa Parker, of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina warns, “When you start talking to these potential employers and you’re trying to find out if they are legit or not, be aware of what they are asking for.”
“Oftentimes they’ll ask for things that don’t feel right,” Parker added.
Although Dufort did not give the company her social security number they did get her driver’s license number and other personal information.
To try and combat any future problems, she said she’s frozen her credit with the three major credit bureaus.
Dufort says she hopes that will be the end of it, but she’s not sure.
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