CLEVELAND - Work at home employment scams are victimizing job seekers in Northeast Ohio and across the country, bilking them out of thousands of dollars.
Larry Davis of Cleveland contacted News 5 after he was the victim of an international job scam that left him with more than $47,000 in credit card charges.
Davis said he was offered a job by LAE Leader Logistics Advisors out of Switzerland, with offices in New York City. Davis said the company had multiple contacts and an extensive website, along with payroll forms and a company checking account.
"Well I was very excited to work for them," Davis said.
Davis said he was required to purchase a wide variety of U.S. goods and ship them via U.S. Mail Service to several countries in Europe, Russia and Asia.
At first, Davis reported he was using the company checking account to pay off purchases he made with his credit card accounts.
"I was getting reimbursed on a regular basis. However, I still had not been paid, and I kept being promised that," Davis said. "But then their website was shutdown, and thousands in company checks were returned for insufficient funds."
Now, he said all phone calls to the company go right to voicemail from an automated system, and no one is responding to his emails.
Cleveland Better Business Bureau President Sue McConnell said employment scams are a big issue across the county, with nearly 3,800 reported in just the past year. McConnell warned consumers to never use any of their own money while getting started with a work-from-home job.
"They may have a lot of things to look legitimate, but if they want you to use your own bank account or your own credit card, or send money in advance, that's a red flag," McConnell said.
Meanwhile, Davis is trying to claim some of the scam debt using his credit card company fraud insurance.
"It's devastating, and it's also embarrassing because I'd like to think I'm an intelligent person, that I did a thorough background check," Davis said. "Never put any of your own money at risk."
Employment scams using the U.S. Postal Service involving multiple countries should be reported to U.S. postal inspectors, the FTC and the FBI Cyber crimes website.