PHOENIX — As COVID cases are on the rise again, there are still people out of work from the last wave.
Denise has been searching for graphic design work since last April, and she recently found two job postings that looked interesting, so she started applying.
"10 or 15 minutes later I received an email supposedly from the boss," Denise says.
It was a $40 an hour remote job for Atlas Construction.
Denise says she filled out a questionnaire, sent it in, and then turned her attention to the other job at Landmark Construction in Flagstaff. And she got some good news the next day.
"You're among the candidates listed for a virtual meeting," Denise reads in an email.
She sent answers to questions which she says seemed appropriate for the job.
So, Denise had no real concerns until she got emails the next day.
"It said congratulations you got the job. I didn't speak to anybody. All I did was a questionnaire. I got a couple of emails and all of a sudden I have a job?," she asks.
It made no sense. That's when Denise turned investigator.
She found Atlas Construction in Hawaii and called them.
"He said you're the 5th person who has called and we don't have any opening like that," Denise says.
Was it the wrong Atlas? She found another in Miami, Florida and she finds Ray, the name of the man who contacted her.
"I found him on Facebook. He is the owner of an Atlas Construction. I thought great," she says.
Denise called Ray about the job.
"He said 'I don't know what you're talking about.' They were using his name, they were using his logo for the company," she says.
Ray said he had no idea it was going on. Next up, that Landmark job. And Denise says she actually found the person who contacted her, Eric, on LinkedIn.
She has high hopes since Eric is in the construction industry.
She calls but finds again, there is no job. It's another fake listing.
All of this shows scammers upping their game. They are not only using legitimate business names, but also the names of real owners to lure you in and get your information.
"You give them your Social Security number, you give them your banking for direct deposits. I feel that's what they were fishing for," Denise says.
And she says she'll never treat online job listings the same way.
"I will actually go to that company's website, go to the career page and see if that job is posted," Denise says.
She'll also call the legitimate company to check out the opening.
If you're looking for work online, there are some scam warning signs:
-pay much higher than the norm
-if you're hired by email or text and not having talked with someone
-getting a check upfront
-being asked for financial and personal information immediately
Denise also thinks she was led to a sound alike LinkedIn site.
Make sure you are on a legitimate site when communicating with anyone.