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N4T Investigators: Classified fraud - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Classified fraud

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Tucson - Greg Bowman thought he landed a job paying much more than the $11 an hour he makes at a call center. "Well I was pretty jazzed. I'm going, 'Wow,' 28 bucks an hour, this is great," Bowman told the News 4 Tucson Investigators. 

The 53-year old Tucson resident is working on his master's degree in counseling and has spent a lot of time searching online job sites. He applied for a work-at-home customer service position he saw on ZipRecruiter.

He acknowledges the $28 an hour is a lot of money for a customer service job. He wanted to believe it was real. 

Bowman was told by email that he landed the job with Abiomed,  a provider of medical devices. He then received a welcome packet in the mail that included a "check", containing the company's name, supposedly to pay for his office supplies. 

"They wanted me to deposit the check," Bowman said. "And then when the funds were available to get back to them. They figured the funds would be available the next day."

Greg deposited the check the next day at the Chase Bank near his east side apartment. But the bank did not make the money available, recognizing the check was a fake and saving Greg from having to repay the $3400. Greg also called Abiomed and found out (after depositing the check) that the job posting was phony.

Instead of landing a job, Bowman was the intended victim of a con job. 

"It was frustrating because I had applied for several jobs,and I turned some jobs down, because I thought I might have this one," Bowman said.

Fortunately, Greg did not quit his current job. He also found another fake posting on ZipRecruiter at a health care company, Fresenius, worded exactly the same as the Abiomed ad to which he replied. Both say: "The information below is a briefing about our company; the job and instructions to assist you get aboard our working team."  

The two companies and ZipRecruiter are all victims here. Abiomed has posted a warning on its website about fraudulent job offers, and tells us it has reported this to the FBI. 

Scott Garner, ZipRecruiter's Corporate Communications Manager, emailed us this statement:

 "We at ZipRecruiter take great pride in our role in bringing together job seekers and employers.  We are also acutely aware that there are bad actors out there who, whether on job boards or on other platforms for internet commerce and communication, seek to use the cloak of anonymity provided by  technology to take advantage of others.  And while we are pleased that our growth has enabled a dramatic increase in both the number of people we  can help and the quality of our service, we are also cognizant that we have become more visible not only to legitimate participants but also to bad actors.

That is why we have implemented, and continue to refine and improve, our systems to address this important issue.  On the front end, we use  proprietary detection software and have stringent client on-boarding processes to vet potential posters and deny access for those who fail to pass our  screens. On the back end, we re-run our detection software on job listings as they're posted and have customer service representatives available seven days a week to investigate and weed out suspicious posts. 

 Still, no system is perfect, no matter how sophisticated or well intentioned.  That is why we take steps to educate job seekers about how to spot     suspicious activity and encourage reporting of all such activity to us so we can investigate and take prompt remedial action.  Any such reports        should be sent to our dedicated e-mail address:  trustandsafety@ziprecruiter.com." 

Susann Miller, spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona, said the fake check scam is the most common job scam going on now. "It's something that we get reported on quite often," Miller said. "No legitimate organization is going to send you a check and ask for part of it to be sent back," she said. Or to be used for "office supplies."

If you are interested in an opening that is advertised on a job search website, you should take these steps:

-Go to the company's website to see if it's posted there.

-Call the company to confirm the opening.

-Never deposit a check you receive upfront unless you have a signed contract confirmed with the real company.

As Greg Bowman said, "There's scammers that are all over the place, and you just have to be careful." 

Remember, a legitimate company may send you a check upfront, say for moving expenses, but only after a contract has been signed and all the details worked out between you and actual company.

Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission to avoid being a victim of the fake check scam and other job scams.

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0243-job-scams

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

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