Craigslist employment scams targeting people in B.C.

B.C. RCMP Federal Commercial Crime Section (CCS) needs to warn you about a growing problem with "online jobs"

Online job searches are convenient, reach a wide audience quickly, and are often free. Unfortunately, the B.C. RCMP Federal Commercial Crime Section (CCS) needs to warn you about a growing problem with “online jobs” linked to the production and distribution of fraudulent cheques targeting victims across Canada and the United States.

On Tuesday, April 19, Federal RCMP CCS, working closely with the Richmond RCMP, identified a Lower Mainland man who was unwittingly responsible for distributing fraudulent cheques. In this instance, RCMP investigators determined that the unwitting suspect had posted a “job wanted” advertisement on Craigslist, and he was immediately contacted by a person offering a job as a “payment processor.” Through a series of emails, the inadvertent suspect was convinced that the job was legitimate. Over the course of weeks, the unaware suspect created hundreds of cheques using readily-available software. These cheques were then sent to victims who had been set up by the criminals via regular mail or courier services. The victims were expecting the cheques because they believed the money was legitimate payment. Sadly, the cheques are worthless and leave the depositor responsible for full repayment along with any associated bank fees and penalties.

“This incident is not unique. It plagues on-line bulletin boards such as Craigslist” says Cpl. Dave Cicierski of the “E” Division Commercial Crime Mass Marketing Task Force. “Criminals will go to creative lengths to appear legitimate; they will supply a telephone number and email that may appear genuine. These numbers are all too frequently associated to cell phones with a fictitious name or where ownership can’t be determined at all. Remember, criminals prefer using email addresses from free services such as hotmail, yahoo or gmail. Do your due diligence. Legitimate companies can always be easily contacted and should be checked with agencies like the Better Business Bureau.”

As always, the RCMP encourages you to be cautious especially when posting or responding to on-line ads. Report matters of concern to your local authorities. Additionally, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre www.antifraudcentre.ca maintains an informative website and encourages reporting of scams and frauds through the site or directly at 1-888-495-8501.

– Submitted by BC RCMP Federal Commercial Crime Section