Consumer Watch: Watch out for side job scams

Scammer can ripoff the names of legitimate businesses when they are trying to lure victims to take their money. (Photo: MGN Online)

It seems like we hear of a new scam or attempted scam every day, and there are a lot of them. The BBB scam tracker shows more than 113-thousand reported scams nationwide. Scammers often prey on people under stress, and needing more money is a high stress situation.

One Oklahoma City woman says she revived a convincing looking check for nearly $3000, but after some thought she grew suspicious, and rightfully so, because it turned out to be fake.

When you have a full-time job, but you’re barely making the bills it is a stressful time. Unfortunately, this type of problem is not especially uncommon for many Americans. To get out of this tough financial situation, you could try looking for a side gig-- a part-time job. When you are looking you also must watch for red flags.

Mystery shopping is the real deal, but there are scammers stealing the logos of legitimate companies to trick you.

“When you really have the great need for a job, you are desperate. so, you are willing to overlook some of the things that we would normally notice, “says Elaine Dodd, EVP of the fraud division with the Oklahoma Bankers Association.

The woman who gave Fox 25 Consumer Watch the information she had received, didn't want to be named. She did say the company name used is legitimate, but the people who sent it to her were not. She googled the company, and called their listed number on their legitimate website, and asked about the job and how the legitimate company hires people and does business. That's when she learned the job wasn't real.

Dodd says the Oklahoma City woman did the right thing.

“You can call them and say do you hire people online? Does this make any sense, and usually they will say no-- not us, “says Dodd.

If real money is deposited into your account, a scammer could be using you to launder money. When police catch you-- you're left holding the bag.

Here is what you need to know: Actual secret shopping companies don't generally pay you in advance, and certainly not thousands of dollars. Another red flag is if you are ever asked to return money because too much has been deposited. Before making a move, talk to your bank because it could be a money laundering operation.

Legitimate companies are not able to stop scammers from misusing their information, so your best bet is to double check by calling a phone-number available through a company’s real website.

If you have already been the victim of a fake mystery shopping scam, you can file a claim to the Federal Trade Commission to try to get your money back.

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