The fake cheque scam is making the rounds again, targeting vulnerable Albertans facing tough times.
Leo Jones recently got a text from someone offering him $500 for six weeks — all he had to do was put a decal promoting medical marijuana on his vehicle.
“I thought, ‘Why not? I don’t have a job right now,'” Jones said. “I’m driving every day down the road. Why not just put up a poster on my car and create some more income, bring some food to the table?”
He thought it was a legitimate offer until the texts became more and more pushy, asking him repeatedly if he’d deposited the cheque they had sent him by courier.
When it arrived, he knew for sure something was fishy.
The amount was much more than he had been promised. He was then told what to do with that extra cash.
“I will be keeping $500 and returning to them $2,400.”
WATCH: Calgary woman warns others after being bilked out of thousands of dollars by scammers
He was instructed to take that extra money and go to various retailers — which they had chosen — and buy something called a Flexepin Voucher, a prepaid voucher that lets you top-up your accounts to make online payments.
Jones didn’t do that. Instead, he went to his bank and had them check the cheque he was sent.
“Two hours later they called me to say it’s a fraud.”
Global News contacted the B.C. college that supposedly issued the payment.
Officials at Pacific Link Education Centre (College) in Burnaby told us they have nothing to do with the scam.
They added they’re also investigating suspicious activity involving their cheques in the U.S.
Joanne Ruston owns Speedpro Signs in Calgary.
Her company has done a lot of decal work over the past 18 years, but this is the first time she’s every heard of such a scam involving decals.
“It sounds very strange, very strange,” Ruston said.
She advises anyone who is contacted about decal work to ask for the company name and then verify it.
“Even come to the location, ask for a reference from a customer,” she added.
Leo Jones believes they got his name and his cellphone number from his online ad that he posted looking for work.
He’s just glad he caught on before he was caught up in this latest scam.
“Those people would run away with real cash from my money.”