NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Scammers are targeting job seekers more frequently during the pandemic, according to the Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky.
With unemployment rates hitting new highs during the lockdown, scammers turned to employer scams, promising jobs, and stealing money.
"The consumer is seeing a letter in the mail with a guaranteed position and a guaranteed job opportunity," said Robyn Householder, President & CEO of BBB of Middle Tennessee. "It's coming with a check. The ploy there is this is set up money to help you offset any setup charges you might have to work from home."
It happened to Dustin Delaney, of Southern Kentucky.
He's been jobless for about two years now. He's been desperately trying to find employment to support his wife and two kids. When he received a message that an employer had seen his resume on an online job forum, he jumped at the opportunity.
Delaney said he didn't put his resume on this particular website.
"I went ahead with the interview, but it was nothing but text in chat in Zoom," he said. "So, that was the first red flag. The interview went good and everything."
The person sent him a letter with letterhead from a real company, offering him a data entry position. The only problem was, that person didn't represent the company at all.
Eventually, the person sent Delaney a check and instructed him to keep $350 for himself as a bonus.
"The rest, I was supposed to send him proof that I deposited it," said Delaney. "They say that you can block out all of your personal information. They just want the teller receipt that you deposited, which I never sent to him."
Delaney figured out it was a scam, and when he confronted the person who contacted him, they stopped responding.
Householder said it checks all the boxes of an employment scam.
"The number one red flag on a work from home scheme is one that has you paying them," she said.
Delaney said he's back on the job hunt, but his options are slim.