Target 2 Consumer Alert: The perfect job offer could be a scam

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Imagine landing the perfect job only to find out it's not real. That happened to a Fox Cities woman who uncovered a job offer scam.

Bridget Turner was trying to turn freelance work into a more consistent job.

"I went to school for graphic design and I love doing design work" says Bridget Turner.

Turner thought she found a good match.

"It was through ZipRecruiter. I get their automated emails for graphic-related positions," Turner tells Target 2.

A job listing popped up with a name she recognized: Rasmussen College in Green Bay.

"The names were really staff members who do work for or had worked for Rasmussen in the past," Turner said.

Bridget emailed her resume and samples of her work. She was quickly invited to interview via Google Hangouts.

"They wanted to do an online interview, which I did think was a little strange," Turner said.

Turner continued, "They explained Rasmussen's mission and values and the job description."

After the online interview, Bridget was offered the job. She felt that something wasn't right. The emails were coming from a Gmail account--not Rasmussen College.

"I really did think it was a real job. It was exciting, and obviously a big let down once I found out that it wasn't real," Turner says.

She had uncovered a cleverly designed scam.

Rasmussen College tells Target 2 that it's aware of several fraudulent job listings recently posted by scammers on social media, professional networking sites and online boards. Rasmussen College is working to prevent future listings that use their name and names of their leaders.

"They sort of hijack the identity of a real company to make themselves look more believable," says Susan Bach, Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin.

The BBB says scammers commonly try to snag job hunters.

"Scammers usually want one of three things from you: They want to steal either your money, your identity or they need your help in perpetration one of their scams," Bach says.

As online job searching grows in popularity, ZipRecruiter tells us they have a strict vetting process, but "no system is perfect."

FULL STATEMENT FROM ZIPRECRUITER:

"We at ZipRecruiter take great pride in our role as an employment marketplace which brings job seekers and employers together. We are also acutely aware that there are bad actors out there who, whether on job boards or on other platforms for internet commerce and communication, seek to use the cloak of anonymity provided by technology to take advantage of others. And while we are pleased that our growth has enabled a dramatic increase in both the number of people we can help and the quality of our service, we are also aware that we have become more visible not only to legitimate participants but also to bad actors.

That is why we have implemented, and continue to refine and improve, our systems to address this important issue. On the front end, we use proprietary detection software and have stringent client onboarding processes to vet potential posters and deny access for those who fail to pass our screens. On the back end, we re-run our detection software on job listings as they're posted and have customer service representatives available seven days a week to investigate and weed out suspicious posts.

Still, no system is perfect, no matter how sophisticated or well-intentioned. That is why we take steps to educate job seekers about how to spot suspicious activity and encourage reporting of all such activity to us so we can investigate and take prompt remedial action. Any such reports should be sent to our dedicated email address: trustandsafety@ziprecruiter.com"

FULL STATEMENT FROM RASMUSSEN COLLEGE:

"Rasmussen College is aware of several fraudulent job listings that were recently posted by scammers on social media, professional networking sites and online job boards. The fraudulent postings were for jobs that do not exist, and we believe the intent of the scammer(s) is to target potential victims for the purposes of identity theft, to obtain bank account information and/or to ask them to pay in advance for an application or a training program. Rasmussen College takes this situation seriously, and we are doing everything we can to combat this scam, including having the listings removed. It is important to note, the personal information of our students and employees is secure.

Unfortunately, this type of scam has become all too familiar. Fake job postings and similar solicitations such as phishing scams often include the name of a public figure, such as a college president or executive to add legitimacy to their scam. Rasmussen College is working to prevent future listings that use the College's name and the names of our leaders.
We recommend job seekers always be wary of unsolicited job offers. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), media outlets and job posting sites have posted warnings about this type of scam; information from the FTC can be found here: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0243-job-scams