GIBSON CITY, Ill. (WCIA) — Hiring managers all over central Illinois are searching for employees, but some business owners say there’s a scam going around — and some job postings aren’t real.
Nicole Miller owns a family business in Gibson City: Pioletti’s Catering Tasting Room and Take and Bake.
“We’re not in a position to be able to hire any additional help right now,” she says.
When she got a Facebook message from a teenager asking about the status of an application, she knew something was wrong.
“I knew that there must have been a mistake and asked her to screenshot all of the information that she had and send it to me,” Miller says. “It was then that we realized someone was posing as the owner of my business and posting fake jobs.
She did some sleuthing of her own.
“I actually applied for the position out of curiosity and made it several minutes into the conversation when the gentleman asked for a copy of my driver’s license and social security number,” says Miller.
Mark Toalson is the City of Champaign IT Director.
“There is not any personal information I would feel comfortable giving out,” he says.
Before applying for a job through social media, he says to take steps to protect yourself.
“Look at where it’s from. Who it’s from,” Toalson says. “If that looks suspicious, chances are it’s not valid.”
If you’re in doubt about the posting that you see, pick up the phone and call to see if it’s legitimate.
“Anything online look at with a degree of suspicion because the scams are out there all over the place,” Toalson says.
“I really feared that kids specifically in the area that would be applying for this position like the one that reached out to me may have given their information out,” Miller says.
Miller never did. She wants others to be cautious too.
“If it seems fishy, it probably is,” she says.
If you have fallen victim to an online scam, you should change your passwords on any accounts you use — particularly banking.
The owner of the restaurant says she notified the police and the state’s attorney.