KANSAS CITY, Kansas -- A recent college graduate has a warning for others after she thought she secured a new job. She got scammed instead.
Miranda Owens said it happened when she interviewed for a job at the end of last month, KMBC reported.
Now, she owes nearly $5,000 to her bank because a check she deposited from a prospective employer turned out to be fake.
"I'm not going to lie, it's really really tough," she said. "Because I didn't have that much money in my bank account when this all started, I was really banking on this new job."
Owens moved from France to pursue an education in Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri. She graduated in 2020 with a degree in psychology. Since she does not own a vehicle, she started applying for remote jobs.
She eventually fell for a scam that offered her a remote job with a fraudster posing as a well-respected company.
"I looked at the Better Business Bureau. They're legitimate," she said. "I looked up the people on Indeed, they're actually legitimate on LinkedIn."
Once Owens thought she secured the job, her fake prospective employer sent her a check to deposit into her bank to buy office supplies.
When it cleared, the scammer told her to send money through Zelle to buy the office supplies from a supply company she later found was fake.
That transaction got blocked, Owens said.
So, the scammer posing as the employer, instructed her to send $4,500 in Bitcoin from a machine at a Kansas City, Kansas, convenience store to that office supply company that turned out to be a fraud.
Owens told KMBC 9 Investigates she fully believed she had a secure and safe job offer. But she wanted to share her story as a warning as she works to recover the money now gone.
"We're the generation that should have been able to handle this the best. Yet, here I am," she said. "I just really want people like me to be careful."
Owens has also started a GoFundMe to help recover money to pay off her debt.
The Federal Trade Commission said that no legitimate employer will send you a check and then ask you to send that money somewhere else. The agency has tips about job scams, here.
A U.S. Bank spokesman sent a statement encouraging people to watch this video as they consider sending digital payments.
"Fraudsters may also attempt to trick an individual into processing the transaction themselves as part of a scam," said U.S. Bank spokesman Evan Lapiska. "The best protection against scams is to stay alert for telltale signs detailed in educational materials, call your financial institution immediately if you suspect something may be wrong, and do not send payments to individuals you do not know or trust."
A Zelle spokeswoman referred Owens' case to U.S. Bank for more research. She encouraged people to visit Zelle's resource page for more information.
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