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Better Business Bureau: Online job scam

By By Alan Bligh
April 13, 2013 at midnight
Updated April 12, 2013 at 11:13 p.m.


Better Business Bureau is again warning job seekers to be on the lookout for scammers contacting them through career websites.

The Better Business Bureau is receiving calls from consumers who allege the soliciting company offers a work-from-home quality control position.

The company ships upward of 50 products - including electronics and auto parts - to consumers.

The consumers are instructed to either assemble or categorize the shipments they receive and then ship the products to their final destination, usually overseas.

When it comes time for the consumer to receive payment, the company ends communication. We believe this is a reshipping scam in which the scammers use stolen credit cards and banking information to purchase products from retailers or manufactures.

The Better Business Bureau further believes the company may be operating under several names, including Quality Management Group, LTD, B2B Control Solutions or Techno Line Management.

Some of the websites display a dynamic bureau accreditation seal. The seal links to a phony business review, making consumers and job seekers believe the business is accredited with the bureau and upholding high standards.

It's no mystery when a mystery-shopping job offer asks the prospective shopper to cash a money order and wire most of the money to a third party. It's a scam.

An actual mystery-shopping job is much less mysterious: Some retailers hire companies that recruit mystery shoppers to check in-store service. The shopper buys an item in the store or restaurant then documents the experience.

An actual mystery shopper is reimbursed and sometimes paid. If you are interested in mystery shopping, the Federal Trade Commission suggests a visit to the Mystery Shopping Providers Association website (mysteryshop.org), which maintains a database of mystery-shopper assignments. And the commission says consumers should ignore mystery-shopper job offers that:

Arrive by email or are posted in "help wanted" sections of a newspaper or online.

Demand payment for "certification."

Charge a fee.

Sell directories of companies that hire mystery shoppers.

Ask the shopper to deposit a check or money order and return some of all of the money to a third party.

Of course, checks sent by schemers are fake. One major reason the scams work so well is that banks, by federal law, must make funds available from a deposited check or money order within days. It could take weeks to determine if it's a fake.

If you're seeking true love by using an area or online dating service, you need to be aware of potential scams as well as the pitfalls involved with some matchmaking services. The bureau received more than 2,900 complaints about dating services nationwide last year. Nearly a third of the complaints were about billing and collection issues.

Poor customer service, refund or exchange issues, advertising or sales practices also prompted complaints. While some consumers have found happiness using a dating service, others have been disappointed in the quality of matches or the number of dates they were able to make using the service.

And then there are people whose matches turned out to be scammers seeking money or personal information that could be used to commit fraud. Beware of demands by a match to send money. Some scams that match men with foreign women typically include a request to send money to pay for a trip to the United States using a wire service like MoneyGram or Western Union. The woman never makes the trip, and the money can't be recovered.

Do your homework. Ask to speak to other members or customers of the service about their experiences. Check a Better Business Bureau business review of the service.

Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him by email at abligh@corpuschristi.bbb.org.

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