A JOBSEEKER from South Tyneside who was conned out of cash has warned others not to fall for internet con artists.
Tracey Jobling was conned out of £50 by someone who put an advert on the internet claiming to be from a legitimate cleaning firm.
Mrs Jobling, 42, was overjoyed when she was told her application had been successful, but was told that before she could start, she had to send a £50 UKash voucher to pay for a CRB check.
The voucher was cashed, but she heard no more. When Mrs Jobling made enquiries about the job, she found out it did not exist.
Mrs Jobling, who has been out of work since January, said: “I had seen the job on an internet jobsite, and applied.
“I received an e-mail from them to say I had been successful, but had to send them a Ukash voucher for £50 before I could start.
“I also had to send them a copy of my passport. I sent them the voucher but, when I heard nothing from them after a couple of weeks, I contacted the company.
“No one knew anything about my application or about the money I had sent. They advised me to speak to trading standards.
“They looked into it and they said it was a scam.”
She added: “I thought it was a great opportunity and after months of searching for a job I had finally found one.
“I don’t get any dole money. Luckily my husband works, but what would have happened if I was on my own and that was all the money I had?”
As well as losing £50, the experience also made Mrs Jobling dubious about applying for other jobs.
Mrs Jobling added: “Before this happened I was sending out loads of applications. Now, I’m a lot more cautious. I would encourage anyone who is looking for a job not to send any money. I will never see that money again.” The con is one which South Tyneside Council’s trading standards officials say they have seen repeatedly.
They are now calling on people to think twice if they are asked for payment by money transfer such as Western Union or Ukash voucher, because it can be impossible to trace the cash.
The warning comes as part of National Scam Awareness Month being held throughout May.
Coun Tracey Dixon, South Tyneside’s lead member for area management and community safety, said: “We would encourage our residents to resist the urge to apply, and walk away from any job ads that ask for money in advance.”
If you have been a scam victim or think someone has tried to scam you, report it to Action Fraud on 03000 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk/contact-us or the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506 or visit www.southtyneside.info/tradingstandards for more information.