I-Team investigates: Fake jobs on networking sites

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The Federal Trade Commission received more than 20,000 complaints about job scams just last year.

LinkedIn, Indeed and other job networking websites may seem like good places to find work, but the I-Team has found that these sites sometimes contain phony posts that could cost you thousands of dollars.

The Federal Trade Commission received more than 20,000 complaints about job scams just last year.

Karen Kettering, of Chicago's Mount Greenwood neighborhood, said her job search cost her $1,700.

She blames a job posting for a driver on Indeed. Her boyfriend responded to the ad.

"For it to come out fraudulent like this was a real big shock," Kettering said.

The employer, Dr. Peter Smith, sent Kettering a check for $2,355. He told her to deposit it into her checking account and to keep $355 for the first day's pay of driving the foreign doctor around Chicago.

The doctor then told Kettering and her boyfriend to then put the other $2,000 into the doctor's bank account to cover the "luxury car rental." At first the check cleared, but then bounced.

Indeed officials said, "Ensuring search results for job seekers are free of spam, predatory offers and misleading listings is central to Indeed's mission ... Indeed has an entire team dedicated to the search quality effort."

Indeed said they have a team saying that vets and pulls job postings.

The FTC said sites such as Indeed and LinkedIn are new spots for con artists.

"We would certainly like them to police the ads that are around their site, and the reason that the ... these ads are not facially deceptive in many instances when you look at them," said Todd Kossow, of the FTC Midwest office.

The FTC said many of the phony job reports fall into a category known as a "Mystery Shopping Scam."

Since January 2014, 300 of such scams were reported from LinkedIn and 40 reported from Indeed.

Kristina Fairly, of suburban Elk Grove Village, was almost fooled by a LinkedIn posting.

"It sounded legit because I trusted him," said Fairly, who thought she was going to be a mystery shopper for Microsoft after receiving an e-mail though a contact.

Before she learned that contact's account had been hacked, she deposited a check which initially cleared.

Thankfully, she never followed the scam artist's instructions to withdraw $2,000 and wire it as part of her "secret shopper assignment".

"I think there should be some kind of security that says this person is legit," she said.

LinkedIn says it takes steps to remove fraudulent posts to protect members and that when it one is detected they work quickly remove it and prevent reoccurrences.

LinkedIn also says it has taken action to address Fairley's scam and another posting that job-seeker Akiba Hightower responded to.

"They should verify job links," said Hightower, who had doubts and never deposited the check. "If you are going to have them putting up jobs on your site you should make sure they are legit."

Indeed, LinkedIn and consumer experts all say job seekers should never give out sensitive personal information, provide credit card or bank account information, or perform any sort of monetary transaction when applying to a job online.

Anyone who sees a suspected fraudulent posting should contact the website administrators to get it removed.

For Indeed users, submit questions or problems through the site's Help Center.

From LinkedIn users, for information about reporting messages or posts believed to be scams visit their Help Center and Safety Center.
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