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One of Thompson's bogus job offers was called "pay it forward," said Barb Grieman, vice president of the Better Business Bureau in St. Paul. Someone claiming to be from an international firm doing business in the United States said that it needs a domestic bank account to handle cash transfers to its headquarters. If you sign on, you get a big check in the mail. You deposit it in a bank, and send off another check to the company for the amount -- minus your 10 to 15 percent. The problem is that the original check is a forgery, which the bank notices a few days later, and you're stuck covering it, Grieman said.
Bogus jobs that involve merchandise work like this, Grieman said: The company buys goods with a stolen credit card and has them sent to you. Then, you are supposed to repackage the items and send them on to the company. The problem is, when the manufacturer realizes the credit card is bogus, you're the one who received the stolen goods.
It's happening so often that banks and retailers are now pressing charges against the victims for bank fraud and receiving stolen goods, Dixon said.
The Minnesotaworks.net site, the state's job bank, has one advantage over commercial sites, said Brian Lambie, program specialist there. It doesn't allow any employers access until confirming -- through the state's own unemployment tax database -- that it is a Minnesota-based employer, Lambie said.
Because for-profit job boards make their money through volume, their greater incentive is to add names to their databases, not screen them out, Dixon said.
"The problem is, their business model doesn't lend itself to great security practices," she said. "Some websites are better than others, but there is no such thing as a safe résumé database."
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