Westlake man gets fake job offer, is scammed out of $22,000

Posted at 6:00 AM, Sep 14, 2017

You might be looking for a job, but scammers are looking to rip you off. It's happened in a devastating way to a young man from Westlake.

Police Captain Guy Turner said the young man was searching for work online. The supposed employer hired him after emails and a phone call. Capt. Turner said that is the first red flag.

"Nobody hires anybody without an in-person meeting,” he said. 

The victim, who didn't want to go on camera with us, thought he was going to be a project manager, but he first had to buy office equipment with his own money and pay in iTunes gift cards.

Those are red flags two and three.

"No employer should ever ask you to use your personal funds to support your job," said Capt. Turner. "(And) nobody does business with Apple iTunes cards."

However, the scammers reimbursed the man with checks. He thought they were legit.  So, the young man was excited driving in for his first day of work. The scammers told him to come to an office in downtown Cleveland that doesn't exist.

"And then, of course, they cut off contact with him,” said Capt. Turner. “Then the final coupe de Gras — they reversed all the reimbursements that they had provided to him so he ended up being out $22,000."

And, to add insult to injury, that supposed office where the victim went for his first day of work is located right across from the Justice Center. 

Is there anything victims can do?

Jon Miller Steiger from the Cleveland office of the Federal Trade Commission told us if you ever get scammed make sure you report it to the FTC. It might help get you justice.

"We share this with law enforcement in Ohio, the Ohio Attorney General's Office, criminal law enforcement all around the country look at the same database,” said Steiger.

The FTC also suggests that before you post any of your information on a job site, make sure you investigate that site first. Also, knock around the job offer with your family and friends before you make any decisions to accept.