“Often the text is in broken English, so that’s a telltale,” he said.
If the victim responds, Young said, they’ll get more emails, including messages offering to send a check to pay start-up costs and a salary for the work. Accepting that money — a fraudulent check — is where someone might really get in trouble.
“Once you cash that check, you are responsible for that money,” Young said.
Young said anyone who’s gotten far enough along in the scam to cash a check should contact DPS.
“If they’ve been victimized financially, there may be things we can do,” he said.
Otherwise, Young recommended deleting suspicious emails and even just destroying any check received through this kind of process.
“We just ask that they don’t cash it, move on, sever ties with the company,” he said.
DPS is ready to help people who’ve been affected by the scam, Young said, but getting to the root of the problem is tough.
“It becomes hard to investigate because it’s usually international,” Young said.
Sandra Jones, senior vice president of member communications for the State Employees’ Credit Union, said she wasn’t familiar with this specific scam, but the credit union tries to be proactive and often notifies its members about possible scams.
“All financial institutions have probably had some type of similar scam that has affected their members or their customers,” she said.
Jones said people can contact local authorities or financial institutions if they’re worried about potential scams. She recommended not responding to suspicious emails because that can help scammers steal personal information.
“Unfortunately, scammers are always looking for new ways to take advantage,” she said.
Overall, just be careful.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it generally is,” Jones said.