Beware of babysitter job scam

By Alan Bligh

BBB has received calls from consumers regarding a babysitting advertisement in newspapers.

The help wanted ad is for a babysitter for young children. When consumers respond to the ad, they are told the position has been filled, but they will pass along their information to another "friend" who is looking for a babysitter.

The "friend" contacts the victim explaining they are in a foreign country and will come over to the U.S. They explain they will start sending the employee checks, which they are supposed to deposit and then wire a portion back to their employer.

As I am sure you have guessed, the checks are fake and once a consumer deposits the check, they are responsible for returning that money to their bank.

The job listing is an illegal scam and considered money laundering.

DOG LOVERS BEWARE

Dog lovers should be suspicious of anyone promising to ship them free purebred puppies from the African continent or any foreign country. The thieves typically agree to ship American Kennel Club-registered puppies in exchange for help in paying the cost of transporting the animals.

But once the money is wired to the bogus sellers, no puppies are delivered and the money is gone.

Often the schemer passes himself as a missionary who has come across the puppies by accident.

Don't be rushed into making a decision and don't be fooled by touching stories or photos of animals.

The BBB also suggests that media representatives be wary of accepting any ads for free or low-cost puppy adoptions from anyone outside the U.S. These are almost always scams.

MAGAZINE SCAMS

It's good to know who's knocking at your door. If it's a magazine sales person, be careful. Many times the company will use kids to come to your door saying they are trying to win a prize or earn money for school.

The kids aren't the scammers. They have been promised good money, which usually doesn't come to pass. Some of the techniques that are used in the scam are:

Charging full publisher's price for the subscription when the publisher has multi-year or promotional discounts

Quoting prices per week even though some of the magazines they offer you may only be published monthly, and

Failing to quote the total cost of the subscription order.

Of course, there are good companies. To be safe check at bbb.org for a company report.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Victoria Advocate for publishing our columns. It now has been more than a year since we started. Several consumers and business people have commented on the column and we trust that folks have avoided some of the scams out there and have become better informed consumers.

If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, contact me at abligh@corpuschristi.bbb.org.

Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him by e-mail at abligh@corpus christi.bbb.org.