How to Avoid Government Shutdown Scams
The woman, a furloughed government worker living in Mississippi, needed fast cash to pay her bills. So she went to an online job board and found a temporary work-at-home gig as a "secret shopper."
Her new "employer" sent her a check for more than $1,700 and told her to deposit it in her bank account. Her job: To go directly to a Walmart to buy gift cards totaling somewhat less than the $1,700 check, photograph the cards' activation codes, and text them to the employer. For her efforts, she could keep the remainder of the cash.
Lucky for her, a friend suggested she call the branch of the Better Business Bureau in Jackson, Miss., before depositing the check. John O'Hara, executive director of the BBB office, picked up the phone.
"I told her, 'That check’s probably going to bounce,' " says O'Hara, recounting the woman's call. "You’ll then have spent your money buying those gift cards and be out all that cash."