Scammers target job seekers through newspaper ad
By Fatima Rahmatullah
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Scams seem to be on the rise, especially when people are looking for jobs in this economy.
Eyewitness News spoke to one man who says he's been laid off. He saw an ad in the classifieds sections in the paper for a construction job. When he called the contact number and after a few back and forth calls he realized it was a scam.
"You'll meet a guy by the name of Mike Dawson he will refund your money when you get there," says Gary Cox.
Cox knew something wasn't right when he was asked to wire money upfront for an interview. Cox called the company Friday after he saw an ad in the newspaper. On Saturday, he had a brief phone interview.
"Basically he asks some questions about my background, heavy construction, project manager and says he will get back with us. Within two hours he calls back and says you've made the short list," says Cox.
Cox made the short list without even sending a resume.
On Sunday, he got another phone call. This time, asking him to fly into Seattle for an in-person interview, but Cox was told he had to send the company money first.
"It's become corporate policy that we require a $184 that you'll be totally refunded once you make the trip to Seattle." says Cox.
Cox knew he shouldn't have to send the company money up front to help pay the airfare. So he contacted Eyewitness News.
Cox was told the company is headquartered in Seattle. We traced the number listed in the job ad to Florida, but couldn't find out what company or person it's registered to. We did find several ads for various jobs in other newspapers and posted online with the same phone number.
Eyewitness News contacted the Chattanooga Times-Free Press about the ad. The classified advertising manager checked it out and pulled the ad.
"That call on Monday was somebody trying to let us know we feel like this can be a scam ad and once we got that verification, we immediately followed up with the company phone number that was provided to us at that time. The phone number had been disconnected," says Nate Edwards, the Classified Advertising Manager.
Edwards says they have a screening process for new accounts and usually find out about scams before they make it to the newspaper.
"For new accounts we go ahead and get the individual's physical address, credible information and things like that. Then we go ahead and get the ad ready and get it processed and then we call out to the phone number that's provided," says Edwards.