TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A Tucson woman said she nearly got taken in a job scam while applying to be a receptionist at a law firm, and she has a warning for those applying online for work: be cautious and do your research.
The woman was surfing the popular job search-engine, Indeed, when she came across a job she felt was the perfect fit. Little did she know it was a scam to get her money.
"It's hard to find a job now a days as is, and then to have somebody come in and give you this offer of a job but actually it's all a lie, it's really frustrating," Samantha Thrall said.
Thrall was eager to apply to become a receptionist at the law offices of Steve Efthimiou. When she responded to the ad on-line, the law firm said her resume was exceptional but the current position had already been filled. That was when they offered her a personal assistant position instead.
"It was a really long email and seemed legit. He told me about how he was, 65 years old, was an entrepreneur and had traveled," Thrall said.
As Thrall continued to exchange emails about the job, she got a sinking feeling and stopped responding. Then a FedEx package came in the mail with a check written out to her for more than $3,000. It came with instructions to book Efthimiou a flight and hotel room.
"I thought, 'Oh, this is way too good to be true,' so I called the company on the check and they said it was fake," Thrall said.
Tucson News Now tracked down the real Steve Efthimiou, whose law office is actually located in Texas. He said he hasn't posted a job opening in six years and was confused when the phone started ringing.
"I start getting calls from mostly women for a receptionist job. I thought maybe it was a mistake, but then I got 10 to 15 calls within a week's period. It was people from Arizona and out of state," Efthimiou said.
"It's pretty frustrating because it's my name that's being damaged because some people may think I'm involved in this and they might get upset with me."
The fraudulent ad has been pulled from Indeed's site. Indeed told us they have a team dedicated to actively reviewing job postings to ensure they are registered companies or legitimate jobs. As for Thrall, she hopes others will be more cautious when searching for employment.
"Research the companies before you look into them. Because that was my mistake. I just applied. I didn't look into what this law firm was," Thrall said.
So how can you avoid falling victim to a job scam? The Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona says be suspicious of work-from-home or secret shopper positions.
Also watch out for on-the-spot offers, especially an offer made without an interview. And lastly, your potential employer should provide a complete contract that outlines the details of the job.