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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > February 2024 > Beware of job scams

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Beware of job scams

Beware of job offers that seem too good to be true.

Many job scams promise high pay with minimal effort, but they often result in fraudsters obtaining the job seeker’s personal information or access to their financial accounts. These scams may be advertisements on social media, email or text messages.

Many job scams use fake checks, where scammers send a check to cover equipment cost like a new computer. They instruct you to deposit the check into your bank account and then use a money-transfer service, gift card, or prepaid money card to send the same amount to a “vendor.” The check inevitably bounces, however, which means the money you sent to the fake vendor comes out of your pocket.

Before applying for any job posting, research the company thoroughly. Signs of potential job scams include the following red flags:
  • The posting includes vague job descriptions and claims you can make hundreds or thousands of dollars doing very little work.
  • Communication from company representatives uses free or personal email accounts, such as those from,, or
  • You’re hired without ever meeting anyone in person.
  • The company doesn’t have a website.
  • You receive a check before any work is performed.
  • You’re asked to wire-transfer money or purchase prepaid money cards.
Common scams include postal scams, mystery shopper scams, and offers for high-paying data entry jobs, often requiring upfront fees or sharing banking information.

Postal scams
Postal scams can be marketed as a convenient work from home opportunity. The job posting will list the job duties as repackaging and/or reshipping items. The compensation for the work is unusually high and even includes shipping costs. This “job” is actually a scam that allows the poster to use the applicant to ship stolen goods without receiving any compensation.

Mystery shopper. An applicant is selected for a “secret shopper” job and receives a check. The first assignment is to deposit the check and then wire-transfer a portion of the money to someone else using the wire-transfer service at a local retail store. In reality, the check the applicant has received is no good, and any money the person sends will be lost.

Running a web-based business. In exchange for an upfront fee from the applicant, a company promises to set up a web-based business that will generate income through advertising revenue or products sold online by other businesses. The claims are false and no money will be generated for the applicant.

High-paying data entry jobs
Scammers often advertise illegitimate data entry jobs. The job description will claim you can earn high wages for minimal work. The job listing may require you to pay up front for job training or equipment. It also may require you to share your banking information prior to employment. If you see a data entry job offering a wage that seems much higher than the market average, investigate the company. Verify the company is posting this position publicly for the wage stated before responding to the job offer.

Job seekers should be sure to research the companies by contacting the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the local Better Business Bureau. Additionally, search engines can help find reviews by searching the company’s name along with terms such as “complaint,” “scam,” or “review.”

Consumers who need help resolving a complaint against a business, or who suspect a scam or an unfair business practice, should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.