Job seekers getting caught up in online scams

ByGio Benitez WABC logo
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Online job searches and scams; know the signs
ABC's Gio Benitez has the story

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Hundreds of millions of people use online job search sites, and some are falling victim to a malicious scam that tricks users into thinking they got a job before ripping them off.

It turns out some of those so-called employers are actually scammers, hiding behind a screen.

Sara Wade of St. Louis says one of these crooks sent her a job opportunity on LinkedIn that initially looked legit.

"I went ahead and sent my resume to the email he had told me to send it to," she said. "With LinkedIn, I had so much luck finding jobs in the past, I didn't suspect this to be a scam at all."

Experts say the crook sends a desperate job seeker a check, a signing bonus of sorts. Then, there's a catch. The check comes with instructions to send most of the money back in the form of a gift card or wire transfer. The scammer tells them it's a one-time fee but never divulges that the check is fake. Now, the job seeker's money is in the hands of the scammer.

Wade received a check for $2,400, but she didn't play the game.

"I ended up calling the bank," she said. "They proceeded to let me know that it was fake and to make sure I didn't deposit it."

Experts say this is the just the latest way scammers are using technology.

"As technology changes, the way that predators seek out people who are looking for these types of opportunities will change," said Rhonda Perkins, of the Federal Trade Commission.

A statement from LinkedIn read, "When this type of activity is detected, we work to quickly remove it and prevent future reoccurrences. We have taken action of Sara's issue."

The scams aren't exclusive to LinkedIn.

Karen Kettering told Chicago's WLS that she was scammed while using the job search site Indeed. She tried to deposit a check for almost $2,400. The check bounced, and she sent $2,000 to a scammer.

"For it to come out fraudulent like this was a really big shock," Kettering said.

Indeed spoke to ABC News on Wednesday, saying, "Indeed has an entire team dedicated to the search quality effort and we do everything we can to determine a job's suitability."