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Employment Scams / Secret Shopper Scam

Beware of employment opportunities that promise you’ll get rich quick.

How it works

Scam artists often target people looking for employment online or through text message. You may be offered a job as a secret shopper, or be hired to promote a company or product by wrapping your car in advertisements. Job seekers may also be targeted through online employment sites. If you have uploaded your resume online, you may be at more risk. Scammers target people who have posted their resume or contact information online.

Regardless of how they reach you and what kind of job they offer, the scammers gather personal and financial information from you, saying it is needed to complete your employment or to pay you by direct deposit.

At some point, after you are “hired,” the scammer sends you money or a cheque to deposit into your bank account. The scammer then directs you to withdraw all or some of the money from your bank account and forward it back to them or to a third party using wire transfer (like Western Union), cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin) or gift cards (like iTune cards). Whatever story they tell the ending is the same—there is no job, the cheque is a fake, and you are on the hook for the money after the cheque bounces.

How to protect yourself

  • Never provide personal information, credit card information, or cheques without first verifying the authenticity of the person or company asking for it.
  • Never respond to an unsolicited text or email about a job offer.
  • Do your research. Search online for the name of the company and a followup with them directly to make sure they’re really hiring.
  • If you receive a cheque or money deposited to your account in response to a job and are asked to forward the funds elsewhere, advise your financial institution immediately. If you are asked to cash a cheque or withdraw and forward funds elsewhere, do not do it.

How to report it

If you suspect you’re a victim of an employment scam, or attempted employment scam, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and your local police or RCMP.

FCNB administers and enforces legislation in the mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, cooperatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. If your complaint relates to an area outside of FCNB’s regulated areas, we may refer you to the appropriate reporting agency or organization.