With millions of people still out of work across the country, scammers are trying to take advantage.
Jacob Moore, 26, was looking for a new job on Indeed when he came across what seemed to be a legit opportunity at Sentara Healthcare.
The job was a data entry position that can be done remotely, which was seemingly perfect for the tech-savvy Lee’s Summit, Missouri resident.
“I was already a little suspicious,” Moore said.
He became suspicious after immediately receiving a text message on Monday telling him to download the instant messaging platform, Telegram to do an interview.
Moore, however, went through with the interview anyway and grew even more leery after they asked him where he banked.
“I saw a lot of grammatical errors and it just seemed unprofessional,” said Moore. “At the end she was like, ‘Oh you did great. I’m going to talk to my superiors,’ and within 10 minutes I was hired. By then I knew it was completely fake.”
Moore, along with several others who were nearly deceived by the con artists, notified Sentara.
Sentara Healthcare then put out a warning to job seekers about a recruitment scam that is happening with employers nationwide.
“Any job offer is going to be verbal,” said Dale Gauding, a spokesperson for Sentara Healthcare. “It will not be texting; it will not be an email, and nobody from Sentara will ever ask you for your personal, financial information.”
The employment scheme isn’t unique to Sentara.
Gauding said scammers are posting fictitious jobs with various companies including Sentara and when people apply, the scammers ask them by email or text for their checking account information to purchase so-called ‘training materials.’
According to the BBB, employment scams are common and are the rise across the country, especially during the COVID pandemic where many people are struggling to find work and are vulnerable. Victims may end up giving personal information that can be used for identity theft.
A 2020 Better Business Bureau report found 65 percent of fake online job postings are related to package reshipment. Employment scams are on the rise with an average exposure of 7.5 percent.
Employment scams were the number one riskiest scam in both 2018 and 2019, according to BBB. An estimated 14 million people are exposed to employment scams with more than $2 billion lost per year. The risk of the scam continues to rise with preliminary 2020 data showing a similar trend.
BBB experts said to beware of fake job postings and recruiter emails and work-at-home cons using real company names and asking for money upfront for training.
Sentara suggests checking their website directly for job opportunities.
“That way you know you’re dealing directly with the company not some third party who may or may not be genuine,” Gauding said.
Lucky for Moore, his gut instinct kicked in and he didn’t give the scammer any personal information.
“It’s terrible,” he said. “To get scammed or have potential life-ruining aspects happen to your life at that time, it’s heartbreaking.”
The BBB also warns people to watch out for on-the-spot job offers and always do background research. For more tips, click here.
Here are some tips on how to be sure you are seeking a job with Sentara:
- Apply through www.sentaracareers.com or navigate to the careers page through www.sentara.com.
- Before you click on a job board link, search for errors in spelling or grammar that look unprofessional.
- Beware of pay and benefits claims that look too good to be true.
- Sentara recruiters will never ask applicants for their personal banking information.
- Be sure emails you receive about the job are from a Sentara email address, which is @sentara.com.
- Job offers are made verbally by Sentara recruiters, not by email or text.