NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s (TDCI) Division of Consumer Affairs is sharing a scam alert issued by the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South (BBB) warning consumers of a phony job offer scam making the rounds in Memphis.
BBB Accredited Business High Speed Delivery, a local Memphis courier service, has reported being the victim of business identity theft. The company recently became aware that emails using their name are being sent to job seekers who have posted their resumes on job search sites online. The scammers are emailing the job seekers saying they’ve seen the posted resume and want to offer the person a position in their company.
High Speed Delivery didn’t send those emails. The phony emails tell you to click on a link that takes you to a website where you can complete an application for a position as a freight forwarder. However, that website is fraudulent and does not belong to High Speed Delivery.
The phony site bears the company’s name, the owner’s name and the business address – all used without the permission of the legitimate company. A BBB investigation of the website found that it was recently created through a domain host in China. Even the registration of the fake URL uses the identity of the company and its owner, Denise Bond.
Bond told BBB she first learned of the scam when they were contacted by a victim who had responded to one of the bogus emails offering her a job. Since then, the company has fielded hundreds of calls from others inquiring about the jobs they applied for. Some of the callers are asking for payment for work they’ve done for the fake company. One caller started crying when Bond told her she’d been scammed.
“We’re not hiring freight forwarders and that is not our website,” Bond told BBB.
“Crooks often hijack a legitimate company’s name, using its reputation as a trustworthy facade to operate their scam,” said Randy Hutchinson, BBB of the Mid-South president. “Unfortunately, most of the time, the business doesn’t find out until after the fact, when angry people who’ve been duped by the fraudsters call up demanding explanations or reimbursements. In this case, they also hijacked the BBB logo.”
BBB spoke to one victim who clicked on the link in the email and landed on the fake website. There she noticed a BBB logo. When she clicked on the logo and searched for the company on bbb.org, she found a different phone number for them. She called that number and spoke with Bond, who told her the job solicitation and website were both phonies.
Other victims say the position involves receiving packages for the company, opening and inspecting those packages for damage, then repackaging and forwarding the items on to someone else. The fake company asks employees to pay for reshipping and then sends a check or money order to cover their salary and reimbursement of shipping expenses. Those checks are also fakes.
BBB tips for job seekers
- Although the job search site may be legitimate, all job offers listed on the site are not. Scammers advertise jobs where legitimate employers do, including online and in newspapers. Report phony job offers to the job search site.
- Posting your resume online may result in your email inbox being flooded with phony job offers. Scammers are counting on the unemployed to anxiously respond to emails that purport to offer them a position that’s been specially selected for them.
- Never pay for the promise of a job. If a potential employer asks you to pay a fee for certification, training materials, or other expenses, that may be a red flag that the job isn’t legitimate.
- Be wary of giving out personal or financial information when applying for a job. Legitimate employers only need your social security number when they are extending you an offer of employment. Putting it on every application you fill out could lead to identity theft.
- Beware of job descriptions that are vague or offer high pay for little work.
- Check out the company at bbb.org and contact the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs at 800-342-8385 to ask if complaints have been filed against the company.
- Search for the company online. Visit their official website to see if the job is posted there.
BBB tips for businesses targeted by business identity theft:
- Contact your local law enforcement authorities if you believe your company’s identity has been compromised.
- If your offer came through the mail, contact the U.S. Postal Inspector.
- Contact your financial institution to limit any further unauthorized transactions on your account. You may need to close the compromised account and open a new one.
- If you suspect your company’s name is attached to phony emails floating around the web, contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.
- Get the word out. Let the public know fraudsters are posing as your business. It could be as simple as posting a brief warning on your company’s website or Facebook page or alerting the media.
- Contact the Better Business Bureau at (901) 759-1300 or (800) 222-8754 or email@example.com. The BBB can help spread the word to consumers and businesses.
- Contact the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs at WeHelpConsumers.tn.gov to file a complaint online against the company.
For more consumer resources, visit tn.gov/consumer.
About the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance: TDCI is charged with protecting the interests of consumers while providing fair, efficient oversight and a level field of competition for a broad array of industries and professionals doing business in Tennessee. Our divisions include the Athletic Commission, Consumer Affairs, Tennessee Corrections Institute, Emergency Communications Board, Fire Prevention, Insurance, Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy, Peace Officers Standards and Training, Regulatory Boards, Securities, and TennCare Oversight. To check a license of a professional regulated by the Department, go to verify.tn.gov.