March 25, 2015 6:38 pm

Scammers target job seekers


Young job seekers are fertile targets for scammers. Just ask Matt Burns of Toronto, a 27-year-old recent university graduate.

“I feel stupid,” Burns told Global News. “I’m mad at myself for putting myself in this position.”

Earlier this month, Burns saw a Craigslist ad from an American telecommunications company searching for an administrative assistant in Toronto. The job paid $20 an hour and required someone to perform data entry from home.

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Burns had an interview on a Yahoo! chat site with the company’s so-called human resources representative, Luciana Oliveira. Days after the interview, Burns was offered the job.

“Up to the last few days, I thought I was getting a position with the company,” Burns said.

Burns said he received a cheque from the company for $2,450. He deposited the cheque in his bank account without issue. He later transferred almost $2,000 to a third-party vendor, as requested, in order to get “software and hardware” necessary for work.

But after sending the money, Burns got bad news from his bank. The original cheque from the company bounced because of insufficient funds. He was now out the money he sent away.

“I don’t like to hear it but it’s not exactly surprising,” said Peter Harris, editor-in-chief of Workopolis in Toronto. “That’s the trouble with the free sites. There’s absolutely no filtering, no screening, anyone could post anything.”

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Harris says the biggest red flag in cases like this is being asked to pay for services or products.

“Watch out for any job that’s asking you to send money up front. If you have to send a money transfer or they want your credit card number, that’s probably a scam,” said Harris.

Burns says he’s learned an expensive lesson and hopes his experience may save someone else from the same fate.

“If I can stop them making the same mistake something positive may come out of this.”

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