GOLF MANOR, Ohio — With unemployment benefits ending, many people are trying to get back into full-time work.
But if you are looking for a professional job online, beware.
Lori Obermeyer is a freelance graphic designer who lost a lot of work during the pandemic at her Golf Manor, Ohio, business, Obermeyer and Associates in Design.
She recently started job-hunting on sites like LinkedIn, Indeed and Monster and found a company with a great-paying graphics position.
"They emailed me to say they saw my resume and wanted to do a meeting with me," Obermeyer said. "It ended up being a chat room meeting."
The company — Granite Construction of Lansing, Michigan — said she was perfect for the position.
"They said, 'Congratulations, we picked you for one of our graphics designers,'" Obermeyer said.
But they first needed her to send money for equipment.
"They were going to send me things to build a remote office, a Mac, and office furniture," she said.
Obermeyer found that strange, so she called the company and learned the job offer was fraudulent. No one at the company had ever spoken with her about a job.
How job scammers lure in victims
It used to be that job scammers would make up company names.
Now they use the names of legitimate businesses, their logo, and even link you to that company's website, according to the Better Business Bureau.
Sara Kemerer of the BBB said job-seekers should confirm any opening with the company before giving out personal info.
"When you are looking for a job on those professional websites like LinkedIn, Indeed or Monster, go to the company's official career page on their website," Kememer said. "See if you can match the job listing on there to the position you found on the employment website."
The BBB says warning signs of a scam include:
- The company wants to talk only via email or web chat, not in person or via Zoom.
- They offer you a position almost immediately after chatting.
- They ask for your Social Security number, bank account number or ask you to send money for supplies.
- The interviewer is not using an official company email address.
We contacted Granite Construction, where a spokeswoman told us the company is aware of the scam and has posted a warning on its employment page.
As for the officers who signed her employment agreement?
"The company said they had no clue who these people were," Obermeyer said.
Luckily, Obermeyer stopped before sending them money or giving a Social Security number.
One final thing to check when talking with a potential employer: Look at the email address of recruiters who contact you.
Obermeyer says her offer came from a Gmail address, not the company's email address, which was another red flag.
So don't waste your money.
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