What Do You Do When The Contractor Scam Hits Close To Home?
I recently had a situation that left me wanting to write more than a couple of words on the topic. It was not a situation that I had encountered until recently. That situation is the "contractor" scam.
Someone reaches out to you with credentials that appear legitimate, they ask legitimate questions about your skillset, and finally, they let you know they would like to add you to their team. You finish the contract negotiations, sign things, and submit the necessary information to be a 1099 worker... just to be emailed a poorly altered copy of a check that states, "For mobile deposit only."
What do you do when the contractor scam comes knocking at your door?
Well, that is exactly what came to my virtual door yesterday and I spent quite a bit of time researching what steps I needed to take to protect my identity.
First, I gave the "company" the benefit of the doubt. It took a turn into fishy fast, so I tried to validate the check in the image using the unaltered information listed on it. It could not be validated.
When I couldn't validate the check, I quickly took action. This included a lot of research, which I hope to simplify for you.
My first stop was at Google to see what resources said to do. After all, I'm smart enough to be able to check through resources. There are two government pages (if you are in the US) that you need to bookmark. These are the two pages you want to visit:
These two pages will help protect you in this instance. The first protects you and tells you what you need to do in the event of exposed information. The second will allow you to submit a report about the fraudulent action that exposed your information.
If you are at risk, stop now and do something to protect yourself!
I wanted you to know what I did to protect myself because I want you to protect yourself from shady gigs that turn into simple information grabs. Freelancing is a little like the wild west. You never know who may step out of the shadows and shoot you in the back.