FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Summer is here, and with it comes the search for a summer job.
Larissa Royster says she was looking for a side job when she came across a post in a mom’s group on Facebook.
The post asked moms what they did to make extra money.
Among the dozens of comments, one caught Royster’s eye.
“She goes ‘I get paid every two weeks. All I do is process payroll checks for this guy,'” said Royster. “I asked her to send me info and she said ‘all you do is apply at this link.'”
It seems like the perfect fit at the perfect time.
“We were so far behind on rent and bills, it was like.. we need the money.”
Adding to the stress, Royster’s daughter had fallen ill and was hospitalized twice.
“We didn’t know what was wrong with her,” said Royster. With so many doctor’s appointments, Royster was looking for a job with a flexible schedule.
Soon after, a man contacted her asking for her resume. Once she was hired he told her she needed to buy the paper for the payroll checks. “I was like ‘if this is your business you should supply it.’ He said ‘well I’ll reimburse you for it.'”
That was the first red flag.
Once Royster printed the checks, she noticed several irregularities. She said her boss repeatedly asked her how the checks looked and pestered her to send them quickly. Before doing anything she called the bank and the company on the checks; both businesses confirmed the checks were not legitimate.
The Better Business Bureau office in Fort Worth says employment scams are the most common ripoff reported to them.
This year alone the office has received 130 reports with close to $40,000 in losses.
“This is a lot of money being lost in our community,” says BBB regional director Amy Rasor.
She says doing your own research is critical before accepting any job offer, especially ones that originate online or through texts.
“Look into the company, see what their reputation is, see if they have a rating with the BBB,” said Rasor. “See if the position you’re applying for is actually a job posting.”
Rasor says the most common victims of employment scams are military families and people living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Other BBB tips include:
-Check into the person doing the hiring. Make sure they are really an employee.
-Don’t agree to any “work from home” or secret shopper jobs without confirming the position by phone or in person.
-Be wary of job offers that promise a pay raise or benefits after the first month.
Royster says her mistake cost her family hundreds of dollars; now she’s warning others. “Be skeptical,” she said. “Don’t work for a job where you have to spend your own money first.”