SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns that employment scams in Texas shattered five-year records.
“The first three months of this year have been a serious attack on Texas victims,” said Jason Meza, the senior regional director for the San Antonio area BBB. “They’ve exploded.”
The BBB said to be suspicious if you get an offer for a high-paying work-from-home data entry position. One San Antonio man got just that offer after being laid for three months.
Data entry was not Eric Spence’s specialty after a career as a training manager, but he was open to the work and the paycheck it would bring. He said a job offer letter erased some major concerns.
“It’s just like you start thinking about bills,” he said. “So you’re just kind of open to the idea and you say, ‘All right, well, yeah, maybe I can develop some new skills or put what I know to good use there.'”
He was excited to show the offer letter he got to his wife.
“Hey, babe, you know, some good news,” he told her. “I got a lead. I showed her the offer letter and it looked legit. On it were the details of what the hours in the day were going to be, the work from home set up.”
Yet, she saw a red flag when she saw who signed the offer letter.
“She saw that the signature on the letter was from a CEO,” Spence said. “It seemed kind of sketchy to her. She looked up the name of the person that was the CEO of the actual company and apparently, he had kind of went off on his direction with another company.”
Catching it meant Spence avoided losing money.
“I did a search on the Internet and I came across a site where somebody else had the exact same one,” Spence said.
The next step would be to cash a check from the employer and buy equipment from an approved vendor.
“The offer letter, what it said is we don’t send the equipment directly to you, but we’ll send you a check for it and then you buy from one of our vendors,” Spence said.
Yet, that check would have likely bounced and he would have been out the money. The BBB said fake checks are a common employment scam tactic.
“It could take weeks or days for that check to bounce and in that time, the scammer is long gone,” said Meza. “You’ve purchased equipment. You returned the overage of what you didn’t spend to the company. Now you’ve opened a direct line to your bank account to the scammer.”
The BBB said what all reported job scams have in common is they are work-from-home positions, often with flexible working hours and hourly or monthly pay significantly higher than standard. Other red flags include contact only by text from the employer or an immediate offer to start.
“The key word is you’re automatically qualified,” Meza said.
Spence said as he continued his job search, he has had another six encounters with scammers.
“It’s a lot easier for me to catch them now,” he said.
His advice to other job seekers is:
“Make sure you are researching the company,” Spence said. “Go to the website and see if you can find the job posting. There should be something official that you’re applying to, not just working one-on-one with a recruiter or something in HR. Usually, it’s always go to our website or I’ll send you a link where you can actually see the job application form and go that route.”
“It’s important for people to go and find job requisition numbers, actual job numbers tied to the offer, and then you can reach out independently and verify does this offer exist?” Meza said.
Also, check BBB to make sure the business exists, call the phone number for the business to see if it is operating, and use Google Maps to look at the address to make sure it is not an empty building or lot.
Report job scams to the BBB's Scam Tracker.
Spence recently found a new job and completed his first few weeks of work.