An employment scam uses the name of a legitimate local company to trick job seekers into revealing personal information.
Job hunter Johanna Matroni posted her resume on a variety of job sites. Recently she received an email from someone claiming to be part of an actual medical technology company with encouraging buzz words: "congratulations,” "next step," “your resume was shortlisted," "we look forward to having you on the team."
She received an offer of employment letter with salary, bonus and stock option information. The logos and the picture of the company's headquarters looked like the real thing.
“And they said they had reviewed my resume and I was to download Google hangouts and then I was to invite a certain person to talk to me, which I did,” Matroni said.
She answered a list of questions and was asked to fill out a W-4 and email it back, which she also did, sending the scammers personal information that puts her at risk for identity theft.
The so-called recruiter sent Matroni a check with instructions to deposit it, keep $100 for herself and use the remaining funds to buy computer software for the job.
“Well, I questioned it at that point,” she said.
Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information
And so did her bank.
“I called the bank manager, and she said absolutely that's a scam, they would not process it,” Matroni said.
The legitimate company didn't respond to News4’s requests, but it does have a "recruiting alert" on its homepage, alerting job seekers to be on the lookout for fraudulent recruiters.
“Like any job board that you would apply to, there is inherently a risk that something could go wrong,” said Charlie Hunt, labor exchange administrator at America Job Center in Frederick, Maryland.
Hunt said working with an agency like his takes the guesswork out of job searching and lessens the chance of getting scammed.
“We do check out the employers that are in our system that are preferred,” he said. “We've checked their FENI number. It's like an SSN for an individual to make sure that in the state of Maryland they recognize it.”
There are red flags to alert you're dealing with a job scam:
- The so-called recruiter wants to do an online interview.
- The manager invites you to chat over an instant messenger service.
- They want to hire you without meeting you in person first.
And don't ever deposit a check without first verifying it's legitimate through your bank.