BBB warns of scams targeting people looking for jobs

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico’s historically good job numbers on job growth means more people are at risk of falling victim to employment scams, the BBB says.

“New Mexico was at 3.5% unemployment, right around the national level,” said Brian Baca, of the local Better Business Bureau.

Baca adds most of the time scams can look legit.

“70% of these scam victims are getting official job offer letters with letterheads from these companies telling them that they have jobs,” Baca explained.

The median amount of money lost is $1,500. In New Mexico, victims have lost far more than that.

“We saw one consumer lose $6,000. Another one lost $4,000,” Baca said.

Here’s how the scam works:

The scammer mails you a check and tells you to deposit the money into your account to cover the cost of equipment for a work-from-home setup.

The next day, the scammer says they already ordered the equipment for you. Then, they request you send back the money through mobile payment services, like Zelle or Venmo.

However, that check they send you in the first place is fake – and it can take weeks before the bank realizes it’s counterfeit.

The consequences of depositing a fake check, even if you’re the victim, could be costly. That includes overdraft fees and potential damage to your credit score.

“You want to make sure of avoiding giving any personal information,” Baca stated.

When in doubt, you can also look up known scams on the BBB’s website and report them. That way, you can protect yourself and others.