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‘I want that money back’: Toronto woman loses $5K to fake job scam

An Ontario single mother who was looking for a side-hustle to make more money to help her two children is devastated after losing thousands of dollars to an employment scam.

“I feel very sad. I’m going through so much right now,” Amandeep Gill of Scarborough, told CTV News Toronto.

Gill, who drives a school bus, said while she was looking for a second job, she was contacted by someone who said they were moving from Vancouver and needed a caregiver for their child.

They sent Gill photos of their family and said they would send her cheques to pay for their expenses before they arrived, which she deposited.

“I thought, ‘This is not my money, this is their money,’ so I thought I should [buy] what they wanted me to,” said Gill.

After paying for their moving costs, household items and other expenses, Gill said the cheques bounced and she was scammed out of $5,120.

“I want that money back in my account because it is my hard earned money,” said Gill.

Similarly, Toronto resident Luis Vargas said he thought he had secured a job as a virtual assistant and was also asked to deposit cheques.

“They said, ‘We want you to run some errands for us,’ and so deposit this money and take it out and start buying stuff,” Vargas told CTV News Toronto.

However, the cheques bounced, and Vargas was also scammed out of $2,800.

“Usually no one gives you money like that, but I was on the contract with them, so I thought it was part of the job,” Vargas said.

According to The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), in 2022, job scams cost Canadians $7,218,534 in losses. In 2023, job scam losses amounted to $27,682,309.

Jeff Horncastle, with CAFC, said criminals are counting on banks to take their time before noticing a cheque is fake, adding banks will not necessarily reimburse customers who have been caught in a job scam.

“If you receive funds, you should never be requested to send them elsewhere,” said Horncastle. “Depending on the financial institution, it can take up to two weeks for the cheque to clear the bank as fraudulent or NSF.”

CAFC also advises to never accept cheques and send money in advance, or take a job offer based on only texts or emails.

Vargas says he plans to be much more careful searching for a job online.

“I’m still looking for a job, but I would only take something in person, not remotely,” he said.  

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