Live 5 Scambusters: Be aware of work-at-home scams

Live 5 Scambusters: Be aware of work-at-home scams

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Anyone looking for seasonal jobs or the chance to work from home needs to be aware of employment scams.

Fake job offers may be mixed in with legitimate employers and it can be hard to spot the difference. The wrong job choice could take money from your bank account instead of putting it in.

Susan Garcia of North Charleston is getting paychecks in the mail and those checks also come with instructions.

“They told me they wanted me to buy equipment with it,” Garcia said.

This happened twice in April. Garcia’s been searching for work-at-home jobs through a variety of employment websites. When she showed interest, she got responses by email. Some of those seemed to be legitimate, but others raised red flags.

“They would send me emails telling me, you have a package coming from, like, FedEx,” Garcia said.

She also received emails claiming to be from real companies, but the emails were from individual Gmail accounts.

Garcia also received checks for $4,390 and $4,930 from two potential employers before she’d ever done any work. The checks came with instructions on what to do next.

“They basically wanted me to spend like $600 to $700 out of it and send the rest back to them,” Garcia said.

This is a textbook scam maneuver. Scammers will send a check for you to deposit. You’ll be instructed to spend a portion of the money on supplies, or it may be your salary. Then, you’ll be instructed to send the remaining money back. This all happens before the bank realizes the check is no good. Once that happens, the money deposited is gone and so is the money you spent and sent back to the supposed employer.

Garcia’s bank caught one check before she ever spent any money. The check came from an empty account. It only cost her $10 for the returned check. She never deposited the second check because she assumed it would be the same thing.

These employment scams can turn up even on trusted websites. Scams masquerading as job site advertisements may also show up based on your personal search history. Make sure you do your homework before giving out personal information to apply for a job online.

If you have a scam story to share, email Kyle Jordan at

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