A job scam on the BYU-Idaho Help Wanted Job Board claimed two victims last week.
Rexburg Police Captain Randy Lewis said the victim of the first request was emailed about a job to be an assistant for a child abuse group. He received a fraudulent $2,000 check on Sept. 22, and was asked to wire money back to the false employer.
BYU-I Media Relations and Campus Communications Manager, Brett Crandell, was unavailable to comment on the possible scam Monday afternoon.
A similar request on Sept. 26 happened when a second victim also received a fraudulent $2,000 check and was asked to send back cash via MoneyGram.
Ninety percent of the Americans who have searched for a job in the past two years have looked online and 84 percent have applied to a job online, according to Pew Research Center.
Employment scams become more common this time of year as the holiday season approaches, according to Local News 8.
“Being a nanny — that’s one of the big ones,” said Lewis.
He said the more common scams are rentals, being a nanny and mystery shoppers.
Students should be cautious when considering employment opportunities.
Carson Roberts, a sophomore studying agronomy, said there are some signs that help to identify and avoid scams.
“First thing you have to avoid is if they’re asking for money, that’s a big red flag,” Roberts said. “Before you give any money to anybody, you have to make sure the check goes through.”
There have been 13,445 reports of job scams in the United States during 2016, according to econsumer.gov. Of those scams, 3,946 happened via phone call, 2,549 via email and 456 in person. Lewis said the scams become a problem when people want money for free.
“It’s all about the money,” Lewis said.
He said banks are not responsible when a fraud happens so the victims are completely liable for the consequences of the scams.
Lewis said the police normally cannot do anything about scams because the suspects are normally from different countries, where it is almost impossible to track them down.
Jacob Carmack, a junior studying economics, said he has had friends that have been victims of online scams.
“People have to be careful,” Carmack said. “If a job on Craigslist or some product on Ebay seems too good to be true, then it probably is.”
Lewis said students can avoid being scammed if they ignore advertisements that require them to deposit money to the advertiser.
“Quit accepting checks,” he said.
*Editor’s note: Reporters Katie Hildreth and Jordan Henrie contributed to this article.