Turn to Tara: Job offer too good to be true? Employment scams are spiking. Here's how to avoid them.

Is that job offer too good to be true? Experts say maybe, as employment scams spike across the tri-state area. One woman Turned to Tara after she fell victim to an online employment scam.
Satina Graham says she was excited to retire last year, but as prices started to rise in the shaky pandemic economy, she started looking for a job in January. "I went job searching online, of course," says Graham. She says she found the perfect job for her - fully remote and great benefits. According to Graham, a few days after she was hired by a company that represented itself as ICON PLC, she received a check close to $5,000 to buy home office items such as a computer and fax machine. She was then instructed to send money through the cash app Venmo to a third-party installer to set up her equipment. She says eventually her bank told her the check she received was fraudulent. "I felt lost, hurt ... It was really unexpected," says Graham.
As Turn to Tara found out, Graham's story is not unique. The Better Business Bureau says employment scams involving fake check schemes were actually the second-most reported scam in the tri-state this past year. "With the start of the pandemic, they really spiked. I view it as particularly dangerous because they're often victims of identity theft after the fact," says Brian Bauer, of the BBB. "They're usually in conjunction with the job, they're giving them things like driver's license information, bank account information."
According to the BBB, there are ways to avoid getting scammed:
Create a Separate Bank Account
Use the account for companies you haven't dealt with before, this way if you deposit a fake check, you're not putting your primary account at risk.
Don't Let Your Guard Down
Even if a company sends a bank check, Rauer says the checks can be forged.
Upfront Payment Could Be a Scam
Rauer says any employer that asks for upfront payment for anything - training or equipment - it is almost always a scam.
NOTE: Fraudsters are known to use a company’s name without its knowledge, and the company in question has no control over this. Companies like ICON usually alert people to such scams on their websites.
Got a problem? You should Turn to Tara. HERE'S HOW.