Scam artists take aim at job hunters

Job seekers should beware of a new scam linked to a popular Web site, according to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Madigan's office received two complaints, and reports from other states, indicating scam artists contacted job hunters through CareerBuilder.com regarding a "donations handler" position with an international housing charity, according to a release from Madigan's office.

Two Illinois residents had posted their listings on the Web site and received messages from the scam operators, according to Gail O'Conner, deputy press secretary for Madigan.

The message from the scam artists claimed that the charity was in Norway and described the organization as being very similar to Habitat for Humanity. The job description said the donations handler would be responsible for accepting donation checks, depositing them into a personal bank account and then sending payment to the charity.

O'Conner said people who accepted the bogus job received cashiers' checks in the mail from Atlanta. The people were instructed to deposit the checks into their personal bank accounts and wait until the funds were available, then withdraw a portion of the money and wire it to an account in the Ukraine.

"It's a big red flag any time they are asking a consumer to send a check overseas," O'Conner said.

The victims found out a few days later that the cashiers' checks were fraudulent and that the deposited money would be removed from their accounts. By this time, they already had withdrawn money and sent it to the fake charity account in the Ukraine, O'Conner said.

The victims reported losing between $500 and $2,000 in this scheme.

"The cashiers' checks will go through in two days and the bank will clear it and put money into the bank account, but it takes more than two days for the bank to realize that the cashiers' checks are no good," O'Conner said.

The scam operators have apparently used different charity names.

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