CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Many people have lost their jobs and will be looking for new ones in the coming months.
While searching, though, know that there also could be someone behind a computer looking for something from you. It is not your employment -- it is your money, or personal information.
The person on the other side of the computer could be a con artist.
"We have seen a little bit of a rise in scams during the pandemic," the Corpus Christi Better Business Bureau's Katie Galan said.
Scammers are out in full force right now, preying on those who are desperate to make ends meet during the most difficult time of their lives.
Larry Tucker, a man looking for a job during the start of the pandemic, was a target of one of these job scams. He started getting suspicious when he received an offer via text message from a company he had never heard of before.
"A lot of companies would at least have a contact number," Tucker said. "I was only being contacted through text, and the company didn't have a contact number."
When Tucker received a check from the company for deposit, he cut off contact. Unfortunately, some people do not cut off contact and fall victim to these scams.
Galan and Texas Workforce Commission spokesman Cisco Gamez said there are plenty of ways to tell if an online job offer is a scam.
"Getting a job without an interview is very suspicious," Gamez said.
Job offers without interviews, via text or no contact at all, is one of the key giveaways to a job scam. Galan and Gamez also point out that these scammers all use similar tactics.
"They may say they overpaid you and refund the difference and (have you) wire it back to them," Galan said. "Now they have all your bank information."
"In some situations they may be asking for you to pay money to apply for a potential job," Gamez said.
Looking for jobs online during the pandemic is going to be more prevalent than ever while we all continue to social distance. There are easy ways to avoid online job scams.
"Make sure that you are going through a reputable job site such as Indeed or LinkedIn."
The Texas Workforce Commission can point people in the right direction, and the Better Business Bureau's website also has a scam tracker. There you can check to see what companies are being complained about by the public for potential scams.
The tool also shows how many scam complaints are in your area.
Larry Tucker was lucky. He caught on to the scam before it was too late. Now he has one piece of advice for those looking for jobs.
"If it is too good to be true, bypass it, because it probably is," he said.