NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) is warning the public to be cautious when looking for jobs, as scammers are taking advantage of the unemployment surge caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a CCSO report, one woman seeking work on Indeed.com, a reputable site, found a “work from home” opportunity and contacted the employer. The employer sent her a check, which he directed her to use to purchase supplies, like a printer and paper, to be used for her job.
The employer also instructed the woman to donate $1,600 to “an unknown charity through Western Union.”
The woman followed the instructions and then found that the check had bounced and the $500 that she originally had in her bank account was gone.
She contacted her employer, who sent her another check. He then instructed her to buy five $100 Google Play gift cards, and send him photos of the cards.
According to the report, at this point the woman suspected fraud, but still bought the gift cards. She confronted the employer, but he stopped responding.
The woman was able to cancel the office supplies order, and is contacting Google to “find the best possible solution on getting her money back from the gift cards.”
CCSO says that in order to avoid scams, you should:
- Verify the employer: do your research on the employer or contact their corporate office
- Be on the lookout for gift card requests
- Be leery of overly persistent or coercive requests for funds from you. If the person seems insistent on hiring you, it may be a scam.