Be aware. There are many scams that take place online because it is easy for the perpetrators to mask IPs, create fake emails, forms, and generally hide behind their computer(s) from any place in the world with internet access.
If you are contacted in regard to a job:
NEVER give your SIN number out over the internet.
DO NOT ever provide bank information or credit card information.
Recently I was contacted by a company who had a model agency website still under construction, multiple email addresses. Initially they offered a modeling job! They sent along a model registration asking for info (email, phone, measurements, closest airport and passport number for booking the flight) … pretty standard stuff. Correspondence happened over the course of 2 months! Went through the procedures and they informed me since the first emails that everything would be paid for. Fantastic! They informed me they would send me a cheque for the amount of my flight and expenses. Even better!
“Tell us when the cheque arrives”.
Alrighty! So the cheque arrives! It looks like a real cheque! Odd it is from a “minerals” company yet the job is supposedly for a clothing photoshoot. The cheque goes in my bank account. It is for a rather large amount. Whoa! Must be putting me in a 5 star hotel! The bank puts a hold on first time cheque issuers usually, but since I am a member in good standing I convince them to only hold it for 1 day.
I email the client right away…
They instruct me to then turn around and deposit most of the money in a man’s account at TD bank with a generic name.
Now things seem odd; and instantly I think of money laundering. I get the suspicion it’s an elaborate scam but as an artist I am so stoked at the idea of booking a well-paid clothing contract!
When I took the cheque to the bank first I was adamant with them that I would require the money to book flights; they said the best they could do is clear the cheque in 1 business day. I left the bank, only to return later to see if I could actually make the withdraw; that is when BMO stepped in: “Ms. Longo this appears to be a common scam, it’s called a ‘job scam’, ” Cheers to my bank for alerting me to this. (Thanks BMO) The bank now will hold the cheque for 30 days to ensure it is really real …
In hindsight the scam became obvious!
Don’t be a victim to anything like this! If any company sends you funds in advance to cover expenses, they would NOT turn around and tell you to deposit much of that money into another bank account.
It just does NOT happen like that.
Some companies do pay in advance, the best companies cover flight and accommodation on professional assignments; however no company will ever tell you to turn around and deposit a cheque into another account. The money would surely be gone forever.
If you suspect someone is attempting to scam you over the internet:
1. Stop all responses/contact/communication.
2. Do NOT tell them you know they are a scammer. (They cut communication fast if they realize they have been caught.)
3. Save copies of emails or correspondence.
4. Contact local RCMP OR FBI. (If in Canada call the anti-fraud agency.) File a report.
5. Consider changing passwords and monitoring your online accounts/activity.
These types of scams can be highly sophisticated and elaborate.
Criminals speak with you for months to gain your trust.
Some scammers get people to send rent money prior to vacationing. Known as a “Rental Scam” – con artists go to extensive lengths like using an entire family with kids to pose on Skype video as the real host family.
Once the rent money is sent it is completely gone – and you won’t have the keys or a place to say.
I am lucky to have a diligent bank and a gut instinct to alert me to this potentially devastating scam. Hopefully this post serves as a reminder of the types of elaborate internet scams people try to pull off.
Comment below… have you ever been a victim of online theft or identity theft?