Consumer alert: Scammers targeting job seekers in Chicago area

In a FOX 32 special report - a sophisticated scheme is targeting Chicago job seekers.

A Hoffman Estate's woman says she almost fell for a scam that could have cost her thousands of dollars.

Lakiesha Cowans was on the hunt for the perfect job. She has a business degree and project management experience. So when she saw a post on Indeed for a project manager at Kraft Heinz, she thought she would be a good fit for the role.

Cowans applied and soon received an email requesting a phone interview.

She then got a call from a Pittsburgh phone number where Kraft Heinz is headquartered. Days later, Cowans got an offer letter in the mail.

The offer also came with a check for $8300 to cover training expenses. But something about that check didn't sit right.

“I need to verify this. Until I get a solid, yes, you're hired, and confirmation, I’m not signing anything or depositing anything,” Cowans said.

She did more research and found a phone number for the Kraft Heinz HR Department and explained what happened.

“Then he kind of said, wow, well I’m sorry to tell you this but it was a scam,” Cowans said.

Cowans was disappointed, but her gut was right.

The Federal Trade Commission says scammers usually send fake checks, hoping you'll deposit the money and send some of it back.

FOX 32 reached out to Kraft Heinz. The company told us it's shocked and disappointed by the scheme and immediately reported it to the FBI, and that it posts legit opportunities directly on its corporate website.

We also asked indeed how it verifies job ads. The company says it employs a “variety of techniques to review job advertisements,” but wouldn't explain how it vets job postings.

Indeed encourages job seekers to report suspicious posts.

A reminder: if you're on the market for a new job, verify any posting on company's corporate website before you apply. 

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