Ken Paxton
Consumer Protection

Phony Job Offer Targeting Unemployed Flight Attendants Requires Applicants to Front Money for Travel

Our office has learned of a scam that has cost job applicants hundreds of dollars. Unemployed flight attendants answered newspaper ads for employment and were told that they would have to travel to an exotic location for an interview. Applicants were instructed to send half the cost of their airfare, supposedly to cover their travel expenses and ensure that they were serious applicants. They were told that the money would be reimbursed. However, the money was never refunded, the interview was cancelled and the trip never took place.

I urge you to exercise caution when answering ads for employment anytime you are asked to pay money up front. It would be extremely unusual for a reputable employer to ask for large sums of money from applicants. At a minimum, find out about the company from an independent source of information before you make arrangements to spend money to travel to an interview.

ABOUT CONSUMER ALERTS - The Office of the Attorney General accepts consumer complaints about businesses. When a pattern of complaints warrants intervention, the Attorney General can file a civil lawsuit under consumer protection statutes, sometimes with the result that a company is required to pay restitution to consumers -- see our Major Lawsuits page. However, when a consumer is swindled by a con artist, filing a complaint cannot help. Civil litigation can sometimes put a very unscrupulous business out of action, but often cannot produce restitution.

Individual con artists generally fall under the jurisdiction of a criminal prosecutor -- in Texas, this is the district or county attorney. But even when they are charged and convicted, these individuals usually have spent the money as fast as they have stolen it. A person who is the victim of fraud should report the incident to the police or sheriff. But by far the best thing is for consumers to be aware of fraud, so they are not swindled in the first place. For this reason, the Office of the Attorney General posts these Consumer Alerts about possible scams and schemes that come to our attention through citizen contacts to our office or other sources.