Scam Artists Target Inexperienced Employees During Summer Months

Posted at 5:51 PM, May 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-14 19:19:03-04

With summer right around the corner, school's almost out and teens are scrambling for summer work, but the increase of young inexperienced workers may put businesses at risk of summer scams.

It recently happened at a Cici's Pizza in Smyrna. A teen employee fell victim to a thief claiming to be an FBI agent asking her to wire money. 

"She was very upset," said Sgt. Bobby Gibson. She thought she was doing her job.

"She was the only lead on the shift at the time. The manager not on duty at that time," said Gibson. 

He said the teen took a call from someone posing as an FBI agent working a criminal case at the restaurant and needed help.

"Of course she was nervous and he did a good job of representing himself and verbal intimidation making her think it was a federal official," said Gibson. "He gave her specific instructions to follow on how to pull money out of the cash reserves there on hand."

She did just that, and in an instant it was gone.

"Imposter scams are on the rise," said Brandi Zaccardi with the  Better Business Bureau and she said this is not an isolated case.

Younger, inexperienced employees are often targeted by scam artists posing as law enforcement or bosses on the phone.

Several cases have been reported in the middle Tennessee area.

"Obviously with the young at heart they want to do well with their new employer so when the boss says something they are apt to jump and get it done," said Zaccardi. 

Scammers know the names of bosses and when they are not around.

"They do their research before they target victims," said Zaccardi. 

All types of employees have been victimized, but especially the newest employees.

Police say always check with your manager on matters of money.

The bottom line is you don't give money to anyone, your boss or law enforcement, unless you are absolutely sure you know who it is. 

Police do say it is very difficult to catch the scam artists because they do business primarily by phone and arrange for the money to be wired electronically.