National News

Local woman nearly scammed by fake job ad

Posted August 16

— Crystal Ezekiel was almost ready to sign her name on the dotted line.

"I thought I hit the jackpot," Ezekiel said. "This is the job of a lifetime."

Last week, the 27-year-old got an email about a customer service job at Servier Pharmaceutical Company.

"They pulled my resume," she said. "I seem like a good candidate for the position."

She thought the pay sounded great: $21 an hour.

"Good benefits, 401(k), health, dental," she said.

The best part was that she'd be working from home and would be able to recover from painful foot surgery which has kept her out of work for months.

"It hurts really bad," Ezekiel said. "I was in a cast for six weeks."

On Aug. 7, she had an interview using the app Google Hangouts.

She was hired that day and was told she'd receive a check to buy what she needed for the job.

"I was supposed to purchase the laptop and the software," she said.

She got a cashier's check from the company for $3,150 and was told to deposit it at her bank's ATM, but she didn't.

"This just doesn't seem right," she thought to herself.

Instead, she reached out to the Better Business Bureau.

"It was just somebody's name dot Gmail dot com," said Lechelle Yates, director of communications and investigations for BBB of Central NC.

Yates says Servier Pharmaceutical Company doesn't exist, but there is a Servier Inc.

Yates says even though the check looks legit, it probably would have bounced after Ezekiel bought the equipment.

"The bank is going to come to you and want that money back," Yates said.

Yates says one thing to check for is a legitimate email address.

"They're going to send you an email from the company's real domain," she said.

She says employers will also want to meet you face to face.

"If they want to interview you by Google Hangouts, that's another tip off," Yates said.

And if it still seems fishy, Yates says call them directly.

"Call their HR department," she said.

It was a gut instinct Ezekiel is glad she followed.

"It just sucks that it's not real," Ezekiel said.

FOX8 sent emails to Servier Pharmaceutical Company and did not get a response. ?

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