Samantha Hayes ReportingIf you saw a job ad in the paper offering $17 an hour, would you respond? A lot of people have and they’ve lost money. It’s a scam the state's Consumer Fraud Department wants you to know about.
The ad is placed in the paper by a group called the "National Tracker Association". The job is to supposedly help people who are owed refunds by the government get their money, specifically HUD mortgage refunds.
The company requires a deposit to cover training for the job -- $98-$120 -- and bank account information. The callers are told they will be paid in U.S. Treasury checks. But when the information comes in the mail, only the public HUD web site address is given where names of people owed refunds are posted. Those people are supposed to be contacted and charged a fee for being informed of their refund.
But the website says "beware of people known as tracers offering to help collect their refund." The consumer who paid the desposit loses that money and discovers he is automatically enrolled in the Association for a $30 monthly fee.
Francine Giani, with the Department of Consumer Protection says if you are looking for a government job, check other resources.
Francine Giani: "Obviously, take some time and make some contacts on a local level or if it is the feds, most of them have job opportunity web sites and you can find out right there what's available and maybe avoid the loss in the first place."
And call the Division of Consumer Protection. The sooner investigators know about these scams, the faster they can shut them down.