Kalamazoo woman warning others after nearly falling prey to bogus job scam
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A Kalamazoo woman is warning would-be-victims about a bogus job opportunity that nearly cost her thousands, and led to a huge headache with her bank.
An email offer under the guise of Starbucks sounded like a sweet deal to Martha James--cash to wrap her car with an advertisement.
"When this came up it was a Starbucks Energy Double Shot car wrap. Vinyl wrap that was supposed to go on my car. Originally they told me it would be $300 a week, the check would come to me, and I would have a two-week paycheck," she said.
The school bus driver thought she had found a lucrative opportunity.
That was until the scammers started to ramp up pressure and demand she mail them roughly $2,000 dollars to begin the process--money James told them she didn't have--but in a twist the company sent her this check anyway.
"I am not naive but I guess I was on this one, because I took the check down and deposited it in my account Tuesday morning," she said.
Reeled into the fraudulent deal, her bank flagged the counterfeit check, charged her fees, deactivated her bank card, and closed her account.
"And they said, we get scams like this all the time. This is a fake check. So we waited for it to come through. But before I had known it was a possible scam, I had used 20 something dollars of it. It put my account in the negative," James said.
James emailed the company behind the operation a stern warning.
"I am livid; you are a thief, the credit union just called me, the check is fake, and because of that fake check my account is in the negative balance," she recalled.
Phil Catlett, with the Better Business Bureau says this is a prevalent scheme circulating.
"Be wary of unsolicited emails, phone calls, texts, letters, website pop ups, and those kind of things, and never respond to messages that ask for those kind of things or financial information," he said.
For her part, James calls this experience a lesson learned.
"I am a trusting person and very giving, but when I went into the credit union and talked to them it was like somebody slapped me upside the head with a stupid board. People have tried to scam me and this one, I fell for. I am just glad it stopped where it was," she said.
After meeting with police and bank officials, it was determined James did not try to defraud the bank, and reopened a new account.
Meanwhile, we have attached a link to the Better Business Bureau in hopes people will be more vigilant about scams. https://www.bbb.org/western-michigan/