“Earn from Home without Stress!”
“Work from Home with No Stress!”
The BBB is warning consumers to be on the alert for phony newspaper ads offering work-at-home opportunities like this. These two offers allegedly came from an organization in Memphis called St. Patrick’s Mission. The “job” they were offering was a part time position as a “cash representative” and paid qualified applicants $150 per job. It involved receiving payments on the company’s behalf in the form of checks, then cashing them and remitting the funds to one of their representatives via money order.
A Dallas TX woman answered one of these ads she found in the Dallas Morning News. The response she received surprised her. “They immediately sent me a check for $2235 and wanted me to deposit it, keep $235 and send the rest to one of their associates,” the woman told the BBB. “It just seemed weird.”
When she contacted the company for more information, she was told that St. Patrick’s Mission “is an Irish Organization. This is 100% legal. We have just a single office here in the United States…. It is a charity home where we take care of homeless, orphans and the less privileged.”
The address they gave for St. Patrick’s Mission is an apartment in East Memphis. There is no St. Patrick’s Mission registered with the State of TN Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming.
The woman said the check came from Virage Logic Corporation in Pataskala OH; however the company actually located at that address is a travel company named Please Go Travel/Cruise Cottage. The envelope bore a postmark from a Boca Raton FL post office and the associate she was to forward the money order to was in Smyrna GA.
“This has all the earmarks of a scam,” said Randy Hutchinson. “The addresses and company names don’t match up and the email contains several grammatical errors. Another red flag is the request to deposit the check and wire some of it back to the company.”
A similar job offer caught the attention of Jan Fulenwider of Memphis. He responded to an ad last month for an executive assistant with experience with QuickBooks, accounts payable and inventory.
“My background is in accounting and bookkeeping, so this looked like a perfect fit,” Fulenwider told the BBB. “I emailed my resume as instructed and was hired.”
The job would take just two hours a week, Fulenwider was told, and he would be purchasing items for the owner, who said he was out of the country. Fulenwider received four money orders totaling $3800 and was instructed to deposit them in his bank account and await further instructions. The instructions finally arrived.
“He wanted me to purchase a $200 iPod for his son, keep $250 for my weekly salary and Western Union $3350 to one of his part-time employees in Birmingham AL, all ASAP,” Fulenwider said. “It just didn’t smell right.”
The job posting claimed the position was with a “growing international business.” However, a Google search for the company – Reynolds Durfee, Inc. – only turned up job listings in multiple cities and states. The BBB could find no information to verify that this is a legitimate company.
In both of these instances, the “employees” were asked to deposit funds into their bank accounts and wire the money to someone else. When the checks they deposited bounced, they would have been out the money they wired. Both were too savvy to fall for the pitch.
“There’s no legitimate reason for anyone sending you money to ask you to wire some back,” said Hutchinson. “And you should never wire money to someone you don’t know.”
The BBB recommends that job seekers keep the following tips in mind:
- Just because an offer appears on a legitimate job-hunting site like Career Builder or Monster.com doesn’t mean the job itself is legitimate.
- Beware of vague job descriptions or postings littered with grammatical errors.
- Be wary of any job that offers high pay for little work.
- Don’t ever allow your bank account to be used for wiring funds.
- Posting your resume on job-seeker websites may result in scam emails and text messages.