Consumers are being urged to be on the lookout for scams when searching for jobs on the Internet -- including questionable online ads for part-time "modeling jobs." "Con artists are using online message forums, email ads or bogus websites to circulate job offers that require consumers to respond quickly for high-paying opportunities," said Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett. "These crooks are hoping that the attraction of work as a model, along with a paid trip to New York or other exciting locations, will get consumers to respond quickly and send money before verifying that the offer is legitimate." Corbett explained that the exact details of these job scams can change, but all share common themes:

• "Easy money" for a small amount of work.

• The need to respond immediately.

• Difficulty meeting prospective employers face-to-face.

• Most importantly, at some point during these scams, victims will be asked to wire-transfer money to another person.

Fleecing the consumer

Corbett said that in the case of a modeling scam, victims might get a check as advance payment for their "photo session," but they are then asked to transfer some of that money to a photographer, a studio or a booking agent in order to secure the job. "In reality, these scams are elaborate stories designed to convince consumers to deposit counterfeit checks and then wire-transfer money to scam artists, who are typically located outside the United States," Corbett said. "Victims generally learn they have been scammed when their banks notify them that the checks they have deposited are worthless, which may not happen until days or weeks after consumers have electronically transferred money to the thieves behind these schemes." Be on guard Corbett cautioned consumers to be wary of online job offers that seem "too good to be true," especially any situation where you are being asked to wire-transfer money, pay up-front fees or reveal personal information to strangers. "Scam artists are only interested in two things -- getting you to respond quickly and convincing you to send them money," Corbett said. "Everything they say or do is going to be focused on getting their hands on your money as quickly as possible." Other possible warning signs of a scam include:

• Poor grammar or misspelled words in ads or email messages.

• The use of "generic" email addresses, like Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail, rather than a specific business email address.

• A lack of details about the actual job.

• Stories that change frequently.

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