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N4T Investigators: Online job scam uncovered - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Online job scam uncovered

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TUCSON -

Technology makes it easier than ever to find new job opportunities at the push of a button, but these conveniences also come with potential threats. Many con artists abuse this technology hoping to take advantage of the unsuspecting. 

"I've been hired through email before so this wasn't anything different."

"Amy" is a new Arizona resident who nearly got taken by a scam artist. She's still searching for a job so she asked us to conceal her identity.   
 
Amy applied for an office assistant position with a company that claimed to be opening a new location in Tucson. She had experience setting up new office locations in the past so it seemed like a good fit. 

"He just explained to me that the office would be opening on the 17th, that we would go over orientation, salary, job duties and he had asked me if I'd be okay running errands for him and I said yes."

Things played out over the next few weeks through a series of emails, but when Amy received a check in the mail she started questioning the legitimacy of her new job. 

"I have never ever had anyone send me a check for $4,700 to buy office supplies." 

Amy was instructed to deposit the check into her bank account. A short time later she was told to withdraw $4,500 out of her account and deposit the cash into a separate account to purchase furniture for the office. But the check hadn't cleared. 

"And he gave the name and the account number, I kind of laughed when I read that, and I just told my husband oh my gosh this is a really long time to scam someone."

We checked out the company in question, Bass Research Services Ltd, and at first glance it looked like a legitimate operation. The company had a professional looking website and job reviews on third-party sites. We tried to contact the company but our calls were not returned, and a week later the website disappeared. 

We also learned the company was not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and the BBB had already received complaints about the company running this type of scam. 

"If it sounds too good to be true it probably is, and if they're asking you to pull money from your account, there's a sign right there."

Susann Miller at the BBB in Tucson tells us this is an old scam being reinvented in new ways.

"We've had people just financially devastated," Miller said. 

Amy found the posting on the popular job site ZipRecruiter. We reached out to representatives for the site who told us anyone can post a job listing, and there is no strict verification process. Other job sites like Indeed and Monster operate in a similar way.

"Just because the job site itself is legitimate, Monster.com, doesn't mean the posting is legitimate," Miller said. "So really do your research on the company because that is where you're going to find out whether you should proceed or not." 

Amy still hasn't found a job but she says she's thankful she picked up on the warning signs before it was too late. 

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call 520-955-4444.

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