Scammer Cons WIN Job Centers, Job Applicants

Jackson, Miss. Mississippi's attorney general is warning consumers to be aware of a con-artist, wanted by authorities, who has a clever employment scam going in the state.

According to Attorney general Jim Hood, the con, who identified himself as Brandon Williams with “Wipe Out Windows”, actually filed job orders with WIN Job Centers in Vicksburg, Greenwood and Forest.

Williams claimed to be needing general laborers to work at $12.50 per hour. The Greenwood agency referred 29 applicants to Williams, while Vicksburg referred 10 and Forest referred three. An additional 16 people were referred to Williams by the WIN center applicants.

The A.G. says Williams contacted the applicants after 5 p.m. Aug. 23 and told them they had the job and just needed to pay a fee of $61.95 by 6 p.m. Aug. 25 to cover the expense of a shirt and a Transportation Industry Card.

Williams then told the applicants to show up at the WIN job center Monday morning ready to report to work. In total, 40 people paid the requested “fee” to Williams for a total of $2,478. Some of these applicants also provided their Social Security numbers to Williams.

"The Mississippi Department of Employment Security immediately reported this issue to us and is working to provide our office with information that will hopefully lead us to this con," said Hood. "These type of scammers almost always choose to prey on the vulnerable, in this case, folks needing a job."

Hood warns Mississippians to never, ever let their guard down and offers the following tips:

· Never feel pressured to pay an “up front fee” by a certain deadline. Most legitimate companies will not use such pressure tactics and will certainly understand your need to verify facts.

· Do not give out your personal information over the phone.

· Do not be afraid to ask questions of anyone claiming to make you a job offer without ever meeting you in person.

Anyone with information about this scammer or who thinks they may have fallen victim to this scam is encouraged to call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-281-4418.