Aug. 14—CADILLAC — It's a short distance from the Haring Township Hall offices to the Turbo Quad Post business.
Both are located on Bell Avenue in Cadillac. Their addresses are a mere 419.9 feet apart, according to Google Maps.
Google Maps is the only place where Turbo Quad Post exists.
The Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan is warning job seekers of online employment scams. One of these involves Turbo Quad Post, which uses the address of 311 Bell Ave #3C, Cadillac, MI 49601.
"Turbo Quad Post claims it offers services including package forwarding," a release from the BBB said. "Its website lists an address in Cadillac, but according to Haring Township records, no such location exists."
The Cadillac Area Chamber of Commerce reported a recent increase in these types of scams and help people contacting their office.
"Almost every day, we hear sad stories about people who have been taken in by scammers," the Cadillac Area Chamber of Commerce said in an email statement. "With one single distracted moment, you can give a scammer what they need to steal from you. Scammers are using more and more sophisticated methods."
Employment is one of the top three scams according to the 2021 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report released in March.
Online purchase scams topped the list of riskiest scams, according to the report.
Online purchase fraud makes up 37.4% "of all scams reported to BBB Scam Tracker in 2021, with 74.9% reporting a monetary loss," according to https://www.bbbmarketplacetrust.org/riskreport.
Cryptocurrency scams jumped from No. 7 in 2020 to No. 2 in the 2021 list. Employment scams such as the one involving the business in Cadillac ranked No. 3 on the 2021 list.
"Be wary when a company reaches out to you with a job offer without an interview, as it is likely a scam," Lisa Frohnapfel, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Western Michigan, said in the release. "Do more research about the company before accepting the offer. If the job requires little work for a lot of pay, walk away."
"To protect yourself, your family and your business, please be very cautious," the Cadillac Chamber said in an email. "How can you tell if something is a scam? Like the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
The BBB has received several complaints about the employment scam since June, including the one with the phony Cadillac address.
The scam seems to follow a similar pattern.
Scammers apparently reach out to those job seekers looking for remote work on an employment website.
These potential employees are contacted by text message, asked to watch a short video about the company and asked to send personal information for a background check. The background check is quickly conducted and the employee hired.
In many instances — like the phony business with the Cadillac address, the new job consists of "receiving packages at home, checking the items for damage, then reshipping them," according to the release from the BBB. Victims are often offered a salary plus bonuses for each package processed. But these employees are never paid for work performed and are unable to communicate with the company.
As opposed to other online scams, victims are not out any money, but do lose control of their information as well as losing time spent working at the fraudulent position.
"In addition to losing your private information, people caught up in these reshipping jobs are often helping the scammers victimize others," Frohnapfel said in the release. "The items received in these reshipping scams are usually purchased with stolen credit cards. These 'employees' become a middle-man to help get the stolen products to the scammers."
To combat some of these employment scams, the BBB offers several tips including:
* Be cautious of work-from-home jobs involving receiving and reshipping packages.
* Be wary of job offers not requiring an interview. If a job offer is presented without a phone or in-person interview or is offered only via the internet, do some further investigating.
* Be skeptical of an employer promising really good wages for what seems like simple tasks such as reshipping packages, stuffing envelopes or answering phones.
* Research the actual company's website for contact information to verify the posting. Do an internet search with the name of the employer and the word 'scam' to see if there are reports of a possible scam.
* Check out the business at BBB.org.
* Examine email address of companies making an offer of a position to see if it matches other email addresses the business uses. Be wary of gmail accounts.
* Be leery of providing personal information such as address, birthdate and especially financial information in a resume or to unverified recruiters/online applications.
* Question vague job descriptions.
If someone thinks they are a victim of an employment or another scam, they should report the offense to the Better Business Bureau (www.BBB.org or BBB.org/scamtracker), Federal Trade Commission (www.reportfraud.ftc.gov or 1-877-FTC-Help) or Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov/complaint).