Waterloo Regional Police Warn Residents about Employment Scams

Photo of someone apply for job on computer

Waterloo Region, Ontario The Waterloo Regional Police Service is issuing a warning regarding employment scams as part of the Fraud Awareness Campaign.

Since January 1, 2020, 28 people have fallen victim to the employment scam.

This scam involves victims either:

  • responding to a fraudulent employment ad posted online;
  • victims posting their resume online and fraudsters responding; or
  • victims receiving a fraudulent email about employment to which they responded.

Generally, employment scams follow one of three patterns:

A fraudster, posing as a new employer sends the victim a cheque to cover up-front expenses for supplies. The victim deposits the cheque and buys the necessary supplies. The victim is then instructed to wire/transfer any remaining funds back to the scammer. Weeks later, the victim discovers that the cheque was fake and they are out money.

A fraudster posing as a recruiter or new employer posts an ad offering guaranteed employment on the condition that the victim pays up-front costs for things like credit checks or application fees. The victim pays, but the job does not actually exist.

A fraudster poses as a company representative and requests personal and/or financial information under the appearance of doing a credit or background check. They then use the victims' information to open bank accounts or file tax returns.  

In one instance, a victim reported that they responded to an employment opportunity that they read in the newspaper. The victim was sent a cheque for $9,200.00. The victim was instructed to deposit the cheque into their personal account and withdraw $7,400.00, which was later to be deposited into a Bitcoin machine. The victim became suspicious after they received two additional cheques for $9,100.00 and one for $8,700.00, and attempted to cash them at the bank.

In another instance, a victim received a job posting via social media. The victim answered some questions and was offered the job. The victim was then sent a cheque for $950.00 and was instructed to cash it and purchase office supplies, as they would be working from home. The victim was also instructed to purchase eight $100.00 gift cards and provide the codes on the back of the cards. The victim became suspicious after they were instructed to purchase three additional gift cards. 

In another instance, the victim received an email regarding a job opportunity. The victim was instructed to provide personal information, including their Social Insurance Number. The victim later discovered that the job opportunity was fraudulent and their personal information was used to file a tax return.

If you have been a victim of a scam and suffered a financial loss, or believe your personal information was used without your knowledge, please report the incident on-line at www.wrps.on.ca/onlinereporting or call our non-emergency number at 519-570-9777. 

If you have responded to a similar ad, but did not experience a financial loss, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca

Job opportunities allowing you to work from home, have a flexible work schedule, or state that no experience is required, are often difficult to resist. However, these types of offers are often employment scams.  

#StopPauseThink and review the following safety tips to prevent becoming a victim of fraud:

  • Never send money for an employment opportunity or to an individual you have not met in person.
  • Never send funds from a cheque deposited into your account until it officially clears. Note this can take weeks and can be verified directly through your bank.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Research the company name with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed.
  • Follow your instincts. If something seems off about a job posting, trust your instincts.
  • Do not provide personal information (e.g. SIN, passport number, credit card numbers, or banking information) to anyone via email or over the phone, unless you can verify the recipient and confirm the legitimacy of the ad.    
  • Consider sharing this information with friends, neighbours, and family members who may not be connected to social media or who may have missed previous warnings in the news.

For additional resources and information pertaining to scams and frauds (also available in various languages), visit:

www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/corporate/security/protect-yourself-against-fraud.html

www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04333.html

www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm

Media Inquiries:

Ashley Dietrich
Constable #1305
Public Information Officer, Executive Branch
Waterloo Regional Police Service
519-570-9777 (WRPS) ext. 8285
ashley.dietrich@wrps.on.ca

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