Looking for a summer job?
Think twice about that online job posting, warns Kathleen Makuch of Buffalo Grove.
The single mom of two high-schoolers was looking for work on the popular job search site, Indeed, when she fell for what appeared to be a legitimate post. That move would cost her $2,700.
“I did my research immediately,” Makuch said. “How can there be such evil people in the world?”
Makuch said she inquired about a front office position. She received an email from someone claiming to be Mark Andrew, an artist and owner of Mark Andrew Allen Studio, that a part-time assistant position was available. He said he was traveling abroad and Makuch could work from home.
Makuch received a mailed $2,800 check, which she said cleared her bank, to cover expenses. Errands included sending money orders and purchasing iTunes gift cards. When her new employer asked her to open up a bank account, Makuch said a siren went off.
“I was just like – I don’t think this seems right,” Makuch said.
She never heard from him again. Days later, the initial $2,800 check that the employer sent Makuch to run errands bounced, leaving her with the bill.
At the same time, across the country, the real Mark Andrew Allen was dealing with his own problems.
“I’ve been getting almost a call a day on this,” Allen said.
The Los Angeles-based artist said he has never posted a job online but that he is fielding calls daily about job seekers inquiring about a position at his studio. Allen has had to put up a disclaimer on his website, which reads in part, “there is someone using my information on this website to scam people looking for part-time jobs. The guy is a con…”
Allen said he also feels victimized.
“Robbing your identity, robbing everything you’ve built and using that, it’s easy to build a site anywhere and say you are somebody else,” Allen said. “This is not only happening to me. This is obviously happening to other businesses.”
An online search turned up a forum on Indeed’s website from job seekers detailing a similar scam.
A spokeswoman for Indeed sent a statement, saying “the quality of the job advertisements by third parties on our site is central to our mission. Indeed has a team dedicated to the Search Quality effort, and employs a variety of techniques to review job advertisements to determine their suitability.”
The spokeswoman directed job seekers to guidelines for a safe job search, which include never accepting money upfront for work not performed and insisting on an in-person meeting – things Makuch said she should’ve done in hindsight.
“I have a son going to college next year,” Makuch said. “What they did to me, they took all my money.”