Work-at-Home Scam

By: Nichole Vrsansky
By: Nichole Vrsansky

High unemployment numbers in the stateline means people are looking for jobs wherever they can find them, but the pressure to find work leaves many vulnerable for scams, scams like the one that almost duped a local woman.

"I'm in trouble, that's honestly what I thought, I'm in trouble. If I do this I'm going to be in trouble,” says Darci Jentz.

Darci Jentz thought she found the perfect job, a work-at-home offer that would allow her to continue her studies in criminal justice.

She'd mail things for Smitham and Co. The plan was she'd first receive $50 for shipping and handling costs, but she got a lot more than that, five $100 dollar travelers checks and her first set of job instructions: send 90 percent of the money to Russia.

"It scares me. I don't want to have anything to do with it," says Jentz.

She called American Express only to find out the checks were indeed real.

"But are they stolen? Are they part of a check washing scam," says Dennis Horton of the Better Business Bureau.

Horton says companies don't normally trust a complete stranger with that kind of money. He has a feeling if Jentz would've participated, she could've been in a lot of trouble.

"If you are part of a check forgery group, even if you are unaware this is taking place, you could still be held accountable for it," cautions Horton.

Dennis Horton says he can't find a Smitham and Co. in any of the cities they say they're located.

"As far as I can see, Smitham and Co. doesn't even exist."

Bottom line, he says, is if an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Horton says red flags should go up anytime we're asked to send money overseas, especially if we can't find contact information for the company we're considering doing business with.


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