TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - A scam targeting people looking for a job is spreading and it’s hitting victims right here in Southern Arizona.
“You’re pretending to be someone else. That’s Fraud 101 right there," said Troy Martin.
Martin was stuck right in the middle of not one, but two employment scams last week, in his search for a position that would let him work from home.
“My wife has arthritis and I think if I could just be home, it would be a lot easier on her," said Martin.
The graphic designer said he was contacted by two companies who claimed to be out of Washington, D.C., who appeared to have connections to a company that he had already applied to.
Working through the process, Martin found red flags.
“There were a few things I thought were a little odd," said Martin, like the interviewer being late, bad grammar in messages and a request for bank information.
“This is where she says you will receive a payment," Martin explained as he showed KOLD News 13 the messages from the more than two-hour interview Wednesday.
The scammer told Martin he would need to buy thousands of dollars in equipment to upgrade his home office for the position. Martin opted to receive the check in the mail.
“Here it is. I have not opened this, I am leaving it for the Sheriff’s Department to open in case they can get any good data off the check itself," said Martin.
According to the BBB, the fake checks are going out across the country. With the employment scam ranked as the ‘riskiest’ in 2018.
While employment scams ranked high on exposure, BBB said not many lost money and were able to catch the problem, like Martin. But, for those who didn’t, the amount of money they lost tended to be high.
“Here I am trying to better myself. Make a better situation for my household and these guys come along and make my job that much harder, make me that much more discouraged,” said Martin.
Martin said the ‘fake’ employers are still messaging him, in an attempt to pressure him to fall for the bogus position. He hopes sharing his story will alert others looking at applications for similar positions, that may seem just too good to be true.
“In the back of my mind, I’ve always thought there was always a chance, even as circumspect that I try to be. Someone can catch me off guard, and this is as close as anyone ever got,” Martin said.
Employment Scams in Tucson:
- 22 reported cases last year through Scam Tracker
- Total loss of more than $11,240
- The median loss reported was $2,140
- Most people were contacted through email
The Pima County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.