Maine Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette is warning job seekers about a scam that Department of Labor staff detected over the past week. The scammer used the Maine JobLink account of a legitimate Maine employer to target at least four job seekers, posing as a real Texas hospital system to recruit them for an administrative assistant position. The scammer contacted them by email, indicating how to follow up. This included an interview through Google Hangout with the hospital president.
A concerned applicant contacted her local CareerCenter after participating in the Google Hangout interview. After the interview, she called the Texas hospital; staff there advised her that no one from the hospital had participated in the interview and this was likely a scam.
“Job seekers should continue to register with Maine JobLink and continue to use legitimate online job banks to search for work, because that is the modern method of job hunting,” Paquette said. “Working remotely is also a legitimate form of employment. However, when an ‘employer’ is asking you to buy equipment or saying they will send you money prior to filling out any paperwork, does not bother with a face-to-face interview or wants to interview you through a messaging system, you should be suspicious.”
The department has investigated this incident and a second similar email and reported them to the America’s Job Link Alliance, the 16-state consortium that manages the data network of which Maine JobLink is a part, as well as the U.S. Department of Labor and the Maine State Police.
The initial email sent to job seekers from the account “firstname.lastname@example.org” says (errors in original):
“Our recruitment team viewed your resume published on (www.joblink.maine.gov) Application :Front Desk Receptionist / Office Assistant, Data Entry / Customer Service Representative, Administrative Assistant- Full Time/ Part Time) and we are pleased with your qualifications, we believe you have the required qualifications to undergo an online interview.
“Your resume was shortlisted for an online interview with the President and Chief Executive Officer, Seton Family of Hospitals, and Chief Operating Officer, Ascension’s Texas Ministry Michelle L. Robertson, RN via G-mail Hangout or Google talk with the following email address (email@example.com). Add Her to your buddy list and message Her, She will be online waiting for you ASAP to conduct the interview with you.”
During the interview, the scammer told the job seeker that she would be sent her employment paperwork once she had bought the equipment with the money the “employer” was going to send and was ready the start training (errors in original): “Yes, You get all the required document once you have all your working equipment.” The scammer also told the job seeker to report for work via Google Hangout.
Although this job seeker did not follow through to receive the payment for the equipment, officials believe the next step in the scam would have created a situation for the scammer to access the job seeker’s bank account and other personal and financial information.
Maine JobLink’s registered job seekers include people filing for unemployment. Because individuals who are unemployed may be in difficult financial circumstances, scammers play on the need for work to entice people into overlooking what they might find concerning in other situations. The offer of what appears to be a good job that starts soon may be hard to pass up for a job seeker in financial stress.
“If you have questions about a job posting, do not hesitate to contact the Department of Labor or your local CareerCenter to find out more information about that job or to report a suspicious posting,” Paquette said. “Protect yourself by asking to meet a potential employer in person at their office or in a public place like a restaurant or library before agreeing to work for them and never give out your personal information over the phone or email to an unverified person.”
People who have seen similar emails relating to any job application from any job board, not just Maine JobLink, should call the Maine Department of Labor at 623-7900 (TTY users should dial Maine Relay 711).
Maine JobLink, free for both employers and job seekers, is available at maine.gov/joblink. Job seekers looking for additional assistance in finding their next job or training should visit their local CareerCenter or go to mainecareercenter.com.