Police warn about 'summer work' signs popping up in Mid-Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Police warn about 'summer work' signs popping up in Mid-Michigan

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Source: Clayton Township Police Department Source: Clayton Township Police Department

A Mid-Michigan police department is warning residents about signs promoting summer work.

The Clayton Township Police Department said in a Facebook post Tuesday that they were made aware the sign may be a scam or could “possibly be tied into human trafficking.”

However, on Wednesday the department said after an investigation the signs were found not to be connected to human trafficking or a deliberate scam.

The signs are connected to a group called Vector Marketing.  They solicit summer work at a base pay of $17.50 an hour. It also gives a phone number to text for more information.

“While this is not a deliberate scam, it appears to be a way to separate an unsuspecting person from their money using the idea that they will be able to profit from their business model. We urge you to research Vector Marketing/Cutco Knives online which will produce a significant amount of information regarding this company,” the department wrote on Facebook.

Officials said summer job scams are not a new thing.

“We urge everyone to be wary of signs posting summer work or online/classified ads that appear to offer job opportunities that are 'too good to be true.' Many of these ‘scams’ prey upon younger and less experienced job seekers,” the department said.

Police encourage parents to talk to their teenagers about what could happen if they respond to one of the signs.

"They seem to become very prevalent during the summertime," Clayton Township Police Sgt. Troy Belanger said. "While it's not an actual scam, it's more of a system designed to place you in a sales position after first fronting up money to obtain their products than to sell for your own profit."

Belanger said these signs had nothing to do with human trafficking, but he wants people to think before they make that phone call.

"Try not to trust anything that's posted on signs. If it's for a local handyman service or a local business that you're familiar with, then by all means that shouldn't be a problem," he said.

Some common warning signs include:

  • The business name is not easily identifiable and no clear business website is listed. Or, if there is a website, there is no substance to the content.
  • The email address of the ‘recruiter’ doesn’t point to a business website and/or is a gmail, yahoo, aol, etc. address. Another indicator is if their email domain name doesn’t match the business they claim to be working for.
  • The employer offers to send a check to you to deposit into your own account. You are told to keep a percentage of it for your own pay but are then asked to withdraw cash, using it to pay for various items that they ship to ‘clients’. Or you are asked to immediately transfer funds from your account to the ‘employers’ business accounts. After the check clears (which can take a few days to a few weeks), they are discovered to be fraudulent.
  • The job is advertised as high-paying, no experience necessary, work your own hours, work at home and so on – if it’s too good to be true, it probably is!
  • The job duties described are vague and/or the language is poor and full of grammatical errors.
  • Commonly the job duties entail clerical work at home, typing, shipping packages, and personal assistant/shopping duties. Oftentimes the employer is out of the country and never actually interviews of meets you face-to-face.
  • The employer requires you to pay money or a ‘membership fee’ in order to access opportunities.
  • The employer only interviews you through a Google Hangout or other online chat function. There is never a phone or in-person interview.

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