[Scammer and fraudsters want to separate you from your money – but ABC News can help stop them. Each day of National Consumer Protection Week, The ABC News Fixer will highlight a new scam, con or bamboozle and teach you how to keep from becoming a victim. And if you have a consumer problem that needs fixing, tell us about it HERE.]

What’s worse than being unemployed?

Being unemployed and losing your money to a scam artist.

One of the scams making the rounds involves online ads for clerical or bookkeeping jobs you can do from home. After you apply for the job and are hired, your new “boss” suddenly has a strange task: He needs you to deposit a check in your bank account and then forward some money to a third party.

He might tell you he has to travel overseas for business, and that’s why you need to do this. And he might sweeten the task by letting you keep $100 of the money after you wire the rest.

The trouble is, even though the check looks authentic and will be accepted for deposit by your bank, it’s actually a fake. The scam artist has taken a stolen check and printed up copies, which he uses for the scam.

The check you deposit will show as “available funds” in your bank account right away. But it hasn’t “cleared” the bank yet.

After a couple of weeks, the bank will discover the fraud. But by then it’s too late because you’ve already wired the funds to the third party – someone who’s in cahoots with the scammer.

And you will be liable for the loss. You’ll still be out of work, and you will have lost money, too.

Don’t fall for this scam. Here are the red flags:

  • You’re hired for the job without ever interviewing in person.


  • Your new boss sends you a check almost immediately.


  • He’s in a big hurry for you to deposit and forward the money.


It can sound tempting to work from home. But if a job offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.



Got a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.

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Stephanie Zimmermann

Most people groan at the thought of spending hours on the phone with a customer service call center, but Stephanie Zimmermann relishes the chance to slice through red tape.

Before joining ABC News, Stephanie untangled consumer problems at the Chicago Sun-Times, where her popular column recovered more than $1.4 million in refunds, credits, and merchandise for consumers in the Windy City.

Stephanie, who lives in Chicago, has also worked at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and has bachelor's and master's degrees from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. But most of all, Stephanie is a consumer who hates to see anyone else get ripped off.