I have been "hired" by Nissan Motor as a key account specialist.
My first assignment is to cash two checks that I have received. Both were written by a customer who has already received the engines. The total is $2500. I am to cash the checks, get the money, take out my bonus and any other related expenses and deposit into a Bitcoin ATM. Then make copy of receipt and electronically send to my "manager".
I contacted a lawyer, was told to talk to the Department of Labor, who said they will not get involved, as this is between me and my employer. Any advice?
Absolutely a scam 100% chance. This is one of the most common scams out there.
Here's how you will get ripped off.
They send you a check which will deposit in your account
Seeing the deposit went through everything looks peachy, you buy and transmit bitcoins.
The check bounces in a few weeks and you are out the money or owe the bank if that gives you a negative balance.
The person you sent the bitcoin to is long gone and you have no way to reverse or dispute the transfer.
If by some miracle they actually let you keep some of the money (the check is real), congrats you just committed a felony and have set yourself as the only accomplice the FBI is likely to be able to track down and arrest.
To avoid scams in the future always ask yourself one question. Why would a company pay someone, a complete stranger, to do virtually no work? If you can't understand their angle then there is no way it is legit. Don't let greed cloud your vision.
The added fact that they want you to send the money via an anonymous and irrevocable mechanism SCREAMS scam. No legitimate business is going to use bitcoin for transferring money for any number of reasons.
What bank account are you supposed to cash the check into?
My guess is "yours", and that's a complete and utter proof of scam. There is absolutely and categorically no way that a reputable company like Nissan would have checks cashed into anything except a business account of Nissan's.
It would be illegal and stupid to do so, and no legitimate company would ask a person to bank money into anything except an account of that business.
The bank will put a hold on all but $100 of the check amount.
After a few days, they will release the money, conditional on you making the money good if the check later bounces (read your bank agreement).
You will go "haha, check cleared, money in the bank!"
You will send the money onward via Bitcoin, which is irreversible.
The check will later bounce.
The bank will require you to make the money good Right Now, as agreed.
Optional: You are unable. ChexSystems blacklist. No banking for you for 7 years.
Scammer has your money, you are left holding the bag.
Money gets used for terror, human trafficking and other crime.
This works because scammers are really good at creating checks with routing information designed to make the check bounce around the international banking system for many weeks before being definitively declared a fake. Normal checks bounce or clear in just a few days, which is why the bank sets such a short time to releasing the money.
They want you to cash a check, which is a transaction that can be reversed such as if the check bounces.
Then give them money in bitcoin, which cant be reversed.
Most likely the check will bounce but you will already have given them the bitcoins and the bank will expect you to pay back that money you gave them while you will have no way of getting your money back.
Just to add some relevant information to the previous answers:
There are plenty of other ways the scam can work. It's possible that the check doesn't bounce - in such a case the source of the check is almost certainly illegally obtained funds, and what they are asking you to do is money laundering. Money laundering is a crime. Not knowing the law doesn't make it legal to break the law, so if the check doesn't bounce you're in even worse trouble.
Companies pay you with a check or direct deposit, after deducting taxes, they do not have you take your salary and bonus out of a check that you have cashed.
Companies do not have you take salary, expenses or bonuses out of a check you are depositing. Companies go to extraordinary lengths to clearly separate and document expenditures and income, to the extent that in some cases it cost them more to make a payment than the payment is actually worth. They do this so their books are clean and balanced which is worth the minor cost associated with doing so. I have personally received checks that were for amounts less than the cost of the stamp.
Hiring an employee or contracting with a firm to handle financial transactions are both fairly big deals. In the first case you would have gone to their offices, been interviewed by several people, met with HR, your co-workers and managers, signed paperwork and did a lot of things I’m sure you didn’t do...as for contracting...Unless you are in the business of doing cash to bitcoin conversions, they would not approach you to do this. And if you were in the business of doing so, you would have your standard terms which they would either accept or attempt to negotiate.
Nissan has a checking account somewhere, if they need funds deposited into their account, they will deposit the funds into their account.
If instead of being an employee, you were an independent contractor, you would be paid either in advance or after invoicing them (depending upon your contract with them). But Nissan is a billion dollar business and isn’t going to contract with some nobody to do check clearance and bitcoin conversions.
If Nissan needs bit coins for some reason, they aren’t going to get them in a way that involves paying fees to 2 independent middle men (in this case you and the atm operator).