Jobseeker claims she almost fell for scam during job interview

Scammers are always trying to find new ways to take other people's money, but one Valley woman says she didn't expect this attempt.

The woman says she was applying for a job, and everything seemed on the level until some major red flags were raised.

"I'm currently looking for employment," said the jobseeker, identified only as "Terri". FOX 10 is protecting her identity because she is still looking for a job, and doesn't want to be scammed again.

It started when Terri put her information on LinkedIn.

"One morning, when I first checked my email, I had an email that said 'Project Manager Opportunity'," Terri recounted. "It had my email address, so I assumed it must've come from LinkedIn, and it was Project Manager, which is what I'm looking for."

The first step was a screening process and chat with an online messenger. Terri had never had a job interview like that.

"Is this just via phone, or are we going to Skype, are we going to talk? And they said no, just to chat," said Terri. "I thought this was odd, and his name was Mr. Kahn Buffington, and I thought maybe this is just a new way."

After all, Terri was looking for some income.

"When you are job seeking, there's some tension and anxiety that's going on because you're seeking employment, so I'm taking all calls, all interest at that point in time to find employment, but it felt odd."

The conversation didn't feel like a scam at first. Actually, it felt like a regular interview.

"He started asking me project management questions," said Terri. "They were right on, sent me a job description, and everything seemed kosher."

It wasn't until the next set of questions that red flags were raised.

"And then, he started talking to me about compensation, and he said we're going to pay X amount per hour. I said I want more, and he said we can give you that," said Terri. "He goes now I just want to know if you want to be paid weekly, bi-weekly. I said bi-weekly, and he said well, where do you bank? And I said I'm not giving you that information."

That's when Terri pulled the plug.

"I sat there and thought it's time to end this, and then I thought oh no, what if they're trying to get into my computer somehow?" said Terri.

"So, the first thing you have to understand is that scammers are constantly changing their game," said Data Security expert Ken Colburn.

Colburn says that the tactics used in the fake interview sound similar to other successful scams.

"This sounds a lot like the work-at-home scams, where they convince you it's a great job and they'll do a direct deposit. What could be better? In order to do that, however, we need your information, your banking information."

There's no reason to expect the scams will slow down.

"Expect to see a lot more through social media, especially for job scams," said Colburn. "LinkedIn's a wonderful place for employers and employees to find opportunities, and the bad guys know that."

Thankfully, Terri didn't take the bait, and her fears about a scam were confirmed after a phone call.

"My husband called the company line, and they said no, we're not hiring Project Managers anywhere," said Terri.

"It's the same advice as always," said Colburn. "If it sounds too good to be to true, it probably is."

FBI officials say if you suspect you're a victim of an online hiring scam, you should report it to their Internet Crime Complaint Center.

FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)