4 Investigates Alert: Businesses cloned, job hunters scammed
June 28, 2019 11:46 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - They look and sound real, but the truth is scammers are posing as legitimate businesses to rip you off.
Timothy Borror runs Sierra Hacienda Builders out of Albuquerque, and he says his business was cloned.
"We do building and developing, mostly new construction, we do a lot of commercial too," he said.
A few weeks ago, Borror found out that his business was targeted by scammers. They were using it as a front for their own shady dealings trying to con desperate job seekers.
"I wasn’t aware of it until I got a couple of phone calls that people telling me, 'Hey you hired us, and we're waiting for instructions to start' and I said 'Well, I would be the person to do that and I haven't hired you'," he said.
Confused, Borror thought it was just a misunderstanding until more so-called "new hires" reached out to him looking for answers.
"Then they said well you mailed us a check for $4,500 and I said, 'No. I would have approved that and it didn't happen'. So what was happening I found out later from them is the checks were no good, and they had to give their banking information for direct deposit for future payroll, or whatever, and so whoever it was, was zeroing out their account and writing them a dead piece of paper," Borror said.
Matthew Mora with the Better Business Bureau says they investigated this scam and it's something they haven't seen in New Mexico before.
"What these scammers did was they built upon an online presence that had already existed to gain the trust of their victims," said Mora.
The scammers even went further, creating a phony website using the real company's name: sierrahaciendabuilder.com.
The scammers added real information about Borror's company, displayed good photos, and had a nice layout with no misspellings or grammatical errors on the site.
Everything looks like it would come from the owner except the contact information belong to the thieves.
"They took everything from our company and stuck it on their website," said Borror.
Sadly, he says at least one woman cashed the check and gave out her banking information to the thieves.
"What's bad is people looking for a job, obviously they’re in a position where they're either unemployed or looking for something better and turns out that they get completely screwed in the whole situation," Borror said.
Borror also says he's tried to get in touch with the scammers but hasn't had any luck. He also tried to get that website taken down but it's still up.
"This could give us bad publicity or just put us in a bad situation, and we did nothing," he said.
Mora says all business owners should get into the habit of keeping an eye on their digital footprint.
"In any business it's important to Google yourself, to see normal business type stuff. But also to see if anyone has stolen your name, or used your name on some sort of website," Mora said.
Here are some tips for both the business owner and job seeker to make sure you're dealing with a legitimate source:
- Business Owners: Set Google alerts for your company name. If it pops up somewhere on the web, you'll get an alert and you can check it out. If it's not you, you can then take steps to get it removed.
- Job Hunters: Always try to speak with someone over the phone. Job experts say it's really unlikely you'll get paid before you do any work, so if you're sent a check for doing nothing, that's a red flag. It's likely a bad check. Also, never give out banking information without verifying it's a legitimate business.
Updated: June 28, 2019 11:46 PM
Created: June 28, 2019 11:25 AM
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