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How job opportunity scams work

You're desperately looking for a new job. One day, you get an email out of the blue offering you a position, if you want it.

It takes you by surprise, but you're so interested in getting a job that you don't worry about it. The company tells you that you are going to need special software to do the job, but then you can just work from home.

Plus, they say, don't worry about buying the software. They send you a check for $500, and they tell you to just use that money to download the software.

You put the money in the bank, go to the website they directed you to, and buy the software -- or other materials -- with your own money. The $500 is actually more than you need, so you feel good. You're going to make money and get a new job, all at the same time.

Then the scam becomes obvious, because the bank calls. After all, it typically takes a little while for a check to go through, perhaps as long as a week. And that $500 check they mailed you didn't clear.

Now you don't have a job, and it's obvious that the software was just a scam to get you to send in $400 of your own money. It's never going to be replaced.

This is a scam that has been running for years. It preys on the way people, especially those who just got out of college, are so desperate for employment that they'll act without thinking. If you have been scammed, it's critical to know what legal options you may have.

Source: Digital Trends, "Job offer scams targeting college students can rip them off, ruin their credit," Bruce Brown, accessed May 17, 2017

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