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Police: Kirkwood Employment Scam 'First of Kind'

A new twist on a common scam means job seekers looking in classified ads are at risk.

If you’re looking for jobs in the classifieds, watch out. There’s a new scam in town.

say a resident was recently targeted after answering a classified advertisement in a local newspaper. The resident received a check from the perspective employer, cashed it and wired money back using Western Union.

Turns out, the employer didn’t exist and the check was a fraud. Kirkwood detectives are investigating.

“This is the first of its kind reported in Kirkwood,” said Detective Dave Smith.

Police have heard reports of scams before, but never one that targeted job seekers looking in the classifieds.

“This is the first one where somebody has actually taken an ad out in a classified for employment,” Smith said.

Police haven’t heard any reports from any additional victims, but Smith said Kirkwood police have seen similar scams in classified ads for real estate.

“But we haven’t had any of those in some time,” Smith said.

“Just a new twist, I guess.”

The Federal Trade Commission offers these tips for avoiding check scams:

  • Never wire money to strangers. Once funds are sent through wire transfer services, the recipient can pick up the money anywhere in the country, but it’s nearly impossible for the sender to identify or locate the recipient.
  • Wait until a check clears before withdrawing money. If the check is bad, you are responsible for the funds you withdraw.
  • If you accept a check, ask for one drawn on a local bank or by a bank with a local branch. Visit the bank personally to make sure the check is valid. Get the bank’s location and contact information from a source you trust, not from the person writing the check.
  • Don’t “act now.” Resist the pressure to jump on an opportunity. If the offer is good now, it should be good after the check clears.

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