(NC) Most people know to scroll past that email from a Nigerian Prince, or avoid clicking on that article about one weird weight-loss tip doctors just hate, but some scams can be harder to recognize, and harder still to refuse.
Job and business scams present an especially tempting prospect to their victims because on the surface, they look like just that — a job. Some of these jobs can land you in a lot of trouble. Here are five ways you’ll want to keep an eye out for.
1. Work-from-home scams. One common scam presents itself as a job offer for you to become a “secret shopper”, testing a money transfer service. The scammers send you, the victim, cheques to wire back using the service and tell you to take a commission. Since the cheques are fake, it leaves you on the hook.
2. CEO scams. The CEO scam is one of the bolder scams that targets employees in large organizations. The fraudsters send you a convincing imitation of an email from a high-ranking executive in the company. They send out urgent requests for wire transfers for seemingly legitimate expenses, like securing contracts. Worse still, the scammers usually wait until the executive is travelling or otherwise hard to reach. When the boss gets back, you learn the request was a scam and that the organization’s money is gone.
3. Guaranteed employment/income scams. These claims to guarantee you a job or provide a certain level of income. The scammers usually contact you by spam email, and require money from you up-front for legitimate-sounding materials like software or their business plan. But once they have your money, the con artists vanish, leaving you worse than when you started.
4. Fake business opportunities. These seemingly lucrative business opportunities require up-front payments, often for something that doesn’t work or isn’t what you expected. Some even offer incentives for recruiting more people into the “company.”
5. Business directory scams. This fraud targets mid-to-large businesses more than individuals. The scammer sends a business an invoice for advertising or a listing in a particular magazine or journal that nobody authorized. The business’ accounting department pays the bill without realizing the company never agreed to pay for an ad or listing.