Military spouses and veterans seeking extra income are being warned to beware of overly high-paying job online job offers and other suspect income-generating schemes, Stars and Stripes reported.
Online scammers are increasingly imitating recognizable national brands like Walmart, Target and Best Buy to offer jobs with high pay or remote work with flexible hours, according to the report.
In particular, many scammers are frequently targeting military spouses aiming to defraud new victims under  “mystery shopper” schemes, a scam the Federal Trade Commission recently highlighted.
Targets are sent phony money orders or checks and are instructed to deposit the funds into their bank accounts, then later victims are instructed to withdraw hundreds or thousands of dollars and put that money into gift cards or send funds through Western Union, the FTC warns. Eventually, the victim will absorb the loss once the fake check eventually bounces, according to the FTC.
Consumers are warned to “never wire money or buy gift cards for a mystery shopping assignment or any job opportunity. Those are sure signs of a scam,” the FTC says.
Other scams targeting the military community have included offers to display a sign on a car or truck where victims have initially received a check and are later told to send back some bank funds to cover undisclosed costs. As in other scams, the initial check is phony and the victim absorbs the loss.
Another scam involves offers to buy materials for working from home where an email claims a job seeker’s resume has been found on, then the employer sends another email saying it will send funds for home office materials. The email instructions include depositing the forthcoming fraudulent funds, then withdrawing up to thousands in personal funds and depositing them into a different bank.
A final online scam involves online or on-the-spot interviews. Recently victims report doing a phony interview through Google Hangouts or another video chat service, or falling prey to on-the-spot job offers that don’t involve an interview, according to the report report.