RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – You're hired. That's what many people without work want to hear. But job seekers beware - the Better Business Bureau says the weak economy is a prime-time for job scams. Crooks look to earn big off of your desperation.
Myrna Ashley points out the now obvious red flags of an email she received, but admits when it first hit her email box, she thought she had landed a job. Ashley says, "I fell for it."
The pitch, click a link and pay $30 for a credit report. She never heard back from the company. She knows her money is gone along with all her personal information.
"It upset me and it scared me because I am living on a very low income and I can't afford it, number one if it was legitimate, I can't afford to spend $30 every time I want an interview with a law firm or whatever," she said.
A glance at the email and we spotted the signs that something wasn't quite right. It came from a personal Hotmail account, and there was no phone number or address to contact anyone. Out of $30 and frustrated Myrna called 12.
"That is when I decided to start researching and I called y'all to see had you heard of any of this kind of scamming going on," said Myrna.
Myrna got at least four of these phony emails. The BBB says the crooks are good, its message, never let down your guard.
"When you start thinking about the potential for injury, it's huge. It's absolutely huge and if you are applying for jobs on Craiglist, I am sure there are jobs there but you want to see people face to face and then double check around," said Tom Gallagher with the BBB.
Gallagher says once you've been scammed, there is a target on your back.
"Once you give them some money, your name has value to it, the bad guys know you are going to fall for scams," he said.
If you are in the same boat as Myrna - the BBB has some advice.
"You just have to watch all of your bills, check your credit report and remember you can get free credit reports," Tom said.
Myrna fears she could now be a victim of I. D. theft. While she's hoping to land the right job - she's now working now to protect her identity.
Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.