Be on Watch for Scam Classifieds

A Texas newspaper pulled a help wanted ad after four days of publication when the staff learned the ad was a scam. Several reports of the scam were made to local law enforcement.
The ad read “Seeking a personal assistant. Apx 20-25 hours a week. Part of the work can be done from your home if you have a computer and phone. Must be organized, multi task oriented and flexible (sic) Send resume to … ”
The ad was sent through the newspaper’s online classified form with phone and credit card numbers and missed being flagged in the paper’s screening process.
One local resident told the newspaper that she sent her resume to the address in the ad and received a professional letter back. But a few minutes later she said she received another message with an unprofessional letter. The second letter told her she would receive a check in the mail and to deposit the $4,000 check and keep 10 percent and wire the rest to an unspecified location.
The Federal Trade Commission publishes “Screening Advertisements: A Guide for the Media” to help newspapers avoid possible scams.
The FTC lists the following as “buzz words” for possible scams:
• Anybody Can Do It􀃤
• Quick and Easy􀃤
• Big, Fast Profits􀃤
• No Experience Needed􀃤
• Work in the Comfort of Your Home􀃤
• Work in Your Spare Time􀃤
• Make Big Money Working as Your Own Boss􀃤
• No Risk􀃤
• You Purchase at Wholesale, Then Resell at a Huge Profit􀃤
• Absolutely Guaranteed 􀃤
• No Selling􀃤

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