KAKE News investigates: Job scammers spoofing local businesses

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

If the new year means a new job then we have a scam alert you need to hear. Crooks are now using the good names of local businesses to lure you in. here's what to look for before you apply.

After a few weeks on the job hunt Josie Morgan of Wichita came across a listing that got her hopes up.

"It just seemed like, wow, this would be a really good fit," Morgan said.

The job? Administrative Assistant for Salina based company, Choices Network. She applied and they immediately welcomed her to the team.

"They help handicap people find work, they're in their homes, you know and that really appealed to me....I thought, wow, I can make a difference in that...that would be great."

Except, while Choices Network is a legitimate business helping disabled Kansans, the listing was not.

"I was really bummed out. I mean, not just because the job was fake but just you know...that they would do that."

Denise Groene of the Better Business Bureau says that job scams have skyrocketed in just the last year, climbing from 2,426 complaints in 2017 to more than 4,607 in 2018.

"No longer can you rely on a legit resume type website because con artists have shown that they are on there, too," Groene told KAKE News Investigates.

Even more scary are the lengths these scammers will go through, to earn your trust.

"In this case, we saw the consumer who received a contract from the business. Luckily the consumer had experience with contracts and was able to quickly identify that this is bogus."

But the contract, with it's generic language and incorrect salary information was just one of many red flags that popped up for Morgan after they hired her.

"And then this person texted me. And when she texted me, my first thought was employers usually email or they call...I knew right away. So I got on the phone with Choices and she said, yes we've been hacked," Morgan said.

Choice's Network Human Resources manager Matt Garretson talked to KAKE News Investigates by phone.

"It's frustrating especially being around the holidays. we had several people calling, several people emailing...you feel bad for them because they're being told that they're getting a job offer...we just try to apologize to them."

So how can you be 100% sure that perfect job is legit? Pick up the phone and call the company. A good rule of thumb Morgan is aiming to follow.

"That's why I called you guys because I don't want this to happened to someone else. I feel like if it's a legit company, you can call and say, hey I saw this ad, are you? and if they are, they'll tell you...yes we are."

If you'd like to see where job scams are happening in Kansas, the better business bureau has a scam tracker where you can learn about local scams and who is involved.