Job Hunting

Fake Jobs Trick San Diegans into Depositing Fake Checks

NBC 7 Responds looks at how fake jobs are targeting San Diegans searching for a higher paying jobs

NBC Universal, Inc.

The high cost of living is stretching budgets as the price of food, fuel and housing are all increasing. That has some people searching for higher paying jobs, and people are taking advantage of that to try and steal your money.

"I was completely devastated," said Maritess Burgos, who was targeted by one of these fake jobs. "I didn't believe something like this could happen."

Burgos says she was looking for a job online when she fell right into a trap, losing $3,800.

It all happened because she deposited a check into her account that her supposed new employer sent her to pay for equipment to work from home. Then her new job also gave her the name of a sales vendor to buy the equipment from, and told her to send the cashier's check right away. But a few days later, the original check bounced, leaving her on the hook.

Burgos turned to her bank for help, but was denied because of how the money was sent.

"The way they ended was, 'you take a hit, we take a hit,'" said Burgos. "That broke my heart because I had been so loyal to them and that was all I had to my name."

Wells Fargo told NBC 7 they denied Burgos' claim. In a statement they said:
”If you deposit a bad check on behalf of a scammer and transfer the funds to the scammer’s account before the check is returned unpaid by the paying bank, you will be responsible for funds withdrawn and related fees on the unpaid check. It's important to know that if a bank allows you to withdraw funds from a check immediately after its deposit, it does not necessarily mean the check is 'good.' It may take up to 10 business days for a check to be discovered as counterfeit — or longer, depending on the specifics of the scam — and returned unpaid. We encourage customers to contact us with any questions.” 

With a negative bank balance in the thousands, Burgos says she is struggling.

"I have done nothing but work really hard to try and make an honest living," said Burgos.

The San Diego Better Business Bureau warns that these types of scams are growing increasingly common, and it is almost impossible to get your money back.

Some red flags to watch out for include:

  • A company that offers you a job quickly without a formal interview
  • Anyone who sends you a check for supplies, then asks you to buy them before the check clears
  • Anyone who offers you a job through text message without a video or in-person interview
  • If you are told to make the deposit and then quickly send the money using an immediate form of payment such as money orders, cashier's checks, gift cards, or cryptocurrency
  • If the person who sent the check keeps asking when you're going to send the money

With all of the remote work still happening, the BBB recommends taking a close look at any job offer you receive. If you believe you've fallen for a scam, report it to the FTC or the California Attorney General's office.

"People, learn from my story," said Burgos. "Maybe ask questions more."

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