A business in Huntsville became the victim of a scam after people across the country were giving out their personal information to someone who wasn't who they said they were. WAAY 31 spoke with one woman who almost fell for the scam and learned how you can protect yourself from being in her shoes.
“First, you’ve got to understand that I really want a job. Then I get this thing saying, ‘We may have a position for you,'" said Laurie Sickles who has been searching for a job for a while. So, naturally, when she received an email for a position at the Huntsville branch of the international company, Panalpina, she was excited. “And they look real. I mean, they use the logo. It all looks realistic," Sickles said. But, unfortunately. in this case, the application was fake.
“Any job application should ask for your basic information, and really keying on how to contact you and your skills," said Paul Brashier with Snelling job placement agency. But this application that Sickles received asked for much more—including a birth date, passport-sized photo, and the name of her father or husband.
“Any time you get into information like a birth date or a photo I-D, you could be getting into a discriminatory practice, and so that should be a red flag," Brashier said. He says a company would only ask you those questions after accepting a job. He said a legitimate company would never ask a first-time applicant for such personal information.
Brashier says two of the biggest reasons behind job application scams are identity theft and financial fraud. "A lot of times, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," he said. And, luckily, Sickles realized that before it was too late. "Be careful, take precautions, double check before you go ahead and send anything in. And don’t be afraid to ask questions or call and do your homework," Sickles said.
The Better Business Bureau says it’s important to speak to the company directly when you receive an application like this. Huntsville police say if you’ve received any similar or suspicious emails, contact them immediately.