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Maryland woman hunting for job becomes the hunted

Posted at 3:23 PM, Aug 15, 2018

BALTIMORE, Maryland — Tommie Tarsell, an experienced insurance agent with 40 plus years in the business, has spent months job hunting.

“You would think with all the credentials I have the CIC, CFP LUTC, all these,” said Tarsell.

She even owned an agency at one point.

“But two years ago, my health failed and I merged with a different agency, which is literally me selling my business,” Tarsell said.

She still has bills to pay, so when she was contacted about a job opportunity, she jumped at it.

“So up out of the blue came this email to me from Janelle. [It had] GC stationary heading, all that, and they had read my résumé and they felt I was qualified for the position,” Tarsell said.

Next steps would be an interview with Patrick Chng over Google Hangouts. Chng apologized for the “unseemly approach” but said it was to stay on top of advancing technologies.

Tarsell chatted for two hours providing detailed responses, and at the end, she was offered the Administrative Assistant/Data Entry position for $27.00 per hour.

“I have a little dog that I can’t take to the vet because I’m really strapped for funds. I started to cry and I’m not a person who cries easily,” said Tarsell.

She told her neighbor about the new job, and then her neighbor said it was really a job scam.

“I felt let down, disappointed, and ashamed,” she said.

Fortunately, Tarsell didn't lose any money, but Angie Barnett, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Greater Maryland said that's what they were after.

“'Alright, let's set you up for employment, we need a bank account,’” said Barnett. “They'll give you a check for $3,000, tell you use this website to buy your items, cash this check and when you do, you're cashing usually a bad check.”

Tarsell suspects the scammer knew how long she had been looking and saw her as easy prey.

“They might see how long a résumé’s been on file with Indeed and they might see that you’re really desperate. And desperation, you do a lot of things, and here I sit,” Tarsell said.

Employment scam red flags:

Barnett said video-conferencing for an interview is not uncommon, particularly if the job is in a different state, but before that happens there should be a phone conversation, email correspondence, and research done on the company.

“What happens is once we post those résumés, scam artists start coming out after us,” said Barnett. “One very big red flag is looking at the language from the grammar, punctuation, just the wording and how they respond to you when you apply.”

For more tips on how to spot an employment scam, click here.

And while the person supposedly found Tarsell's résumé on Indeed, they never contacted her through the site or had the job posted there.