Officials warn those looking for new jobs about scams; local college student says her case is an example of what to look out for

Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 8:38 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A Euclid woman has a warning for the thousands of people looking for a new job right now.

Shalena Mitchell, a student at Walsh University in North Canton, said a scammer made her situation worse this holiday season.

Mitchell - who is working on her MBA - said she received what she thought was a legitimate job offer at her college email address. It seemed credible because it appeared to come from a school staff member.

“I thought it was perfectly OK,” Mitchell said.

Although she wasn’t necessarily looking for another job, she jumped at the opportunity to make a little more cash.

She says the email appeared to be from the school’s soccer coach offering a paid part-time position with the “Child’s Dream Foundation.”

“I thought, ‘OK. They are just looking for additional help,’” she said. “Of course I am down for fundraisers, and I was like, ‘It’s extra money.’”

Mitchell sent in her resume, including personal information like her address and phone numbers.

She got an email back, she said, congratulating her on securing a “remote position due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Then got a check in the mail for more than a thousand dollars. She says she was told to keep some of it and use the rest to complete her assigned tasks.

“Once I saw the check, and they said I needed to deduct the $300 ... and they need to see a payslip with my account number on it I said, ‘Oh no. I’m not doing that.’”

It was good she trusted her gut. That request is a common scheme scammers use.

The Cuyahoga County Scam Squad is warning the hundreds of people looking for a new job about...
The Cuyahoga County Scam Squad is warning the hundreds of people looking for a new job about employment offer scams.(Cuyahoga County)

Mitchell got in touch with our partners at the Cuyahoga County Scam Squad. They’ve explained the check scheme to us in the past.

Scammers send a counterfeit check. Someone deposits it and thinks they’re keeping some money for themselves and transferrs the rest money wherever the scammer requests. Then, the check bounces and since the victim’s already sent out the chunk of money, they’re left with a negative account balance.

Mitchell said she can’t believe how close the scammers came to getting her this month.

“I just want to let people out there know I am a 27-year-old educated woman, and I was influenced by it,” she said “Don’t just think it’s older people. It can be anybody.”

Thankful she didn’t lose any money. Now she’s concerned about the information someone out there does have on her.

“It kind of made me feel scared,” she said.

Another mystery for her is that the original email the scammer sent her is gone from her inbox.

“No it’s just gone. It’s not in any inbox or sent. It’s just gone,” she said.

That has left her wondering if the college’s IT cleared it or if someone has unauthorized access to her account.

Our Partners at the Cuyahoga County Scam Squad say that even though Mitchell didn’t lose any money she did the right thing by reporting the scam.

If you need to report something similar you can contact the scam squad at 216-443-7035.

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