Waterloo regional police is warning the public of employment scams targeting people in the area, especially as people continue to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Police say 28 people have fallen victim to an employment scam since Jan. 1.
According to police, scammers will post jobs online or respond to online resumes. Sometimes victims respond to fraudulent emails about jobs.
Officials say sometimes fraudsters will send the victim a cheque to “cover up-front expenses for supplies” and then ask for any extra fund back. Later, the victim finds out the cheque was fake and they’re out the money.
In another scenario, a scammer will act as a company representative and ask for personal or financial information for a background check. That personal information is then used to open bank accounts or file tax returns.
Police say one victim responded to a posting in a newspaper and was sent a cheque for $9,200. The victim was told to deposit the cheque and then withdraw $7,400, which would be transferred to Bitcoin. Officials say the victim was suspicious after they got two more cheques for $9,100 and another for $8,700 and tried to cash them.
Another victim was offered a job after responding to a posting on social media. The victim told police they were sent a cheque for $950 and told to buy office supplies so they could work from home. The victim says they were also told to buy eight $100 gift cards. They were suspicious after they were told to buy three other gift cards.
Police describe another incident where the victim received an email about a job and was asked to give their social insurance number. The job posting was fake and police say the personal information was used to file a tax return.
Anyone who has been a victim of a scam or lost money should contact police.
People who have seen a job posting that seems fraudulent should report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Police say job postings with work from home options with flexible work schedules with no experience necessary can be difficult to resist, but are often employment scams.
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