DEFOREST, Wis. - A DeForest teenager and her mother have a warning for others after scoring a side job that ended up costing them thousands.
Tierra Nauman was 18 years old when she signed on to ZipRecruiter, an online employment website, to find a second job. The first one she found seemed perfect, at $14 an hour.
"It was for this job as a secretary, and it was a stay-at-home job and that was really great,” she said.
The job entailed some unusual tasks, though. Nauman’s boss would transfer money into her bank account via direct-deposit checks, then have her send the money to a man named Jake Stewarts through Moneygram or Western Union.
Nauman said she had no idea anything illegitimate was happening.
"Not until I got an email from Heartland Credit Union saying my account had been frozen,” Nauman said.
The three checks deposited into her account, equaling nearly $6,300, were fraudulent. Nauman’s bank gave her 20 days to return the money in cash.
"They were going to sue,” said Nauman’s mother, Samantha. “If they didn't get that money back, she was going to sue us. Period. Nothing they could do.”
According to Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the Naumans were indeed on the line for that money.
"Once you cash that check ... the responsibility of paying that money back to the bank is on the consumer,” DATCP administrator Frank Frassetto said.
The family ultimately had to take out a loan to repay the money.
DATCP has some suggestions to stay away from fake jobs like this one. First and foremost – do your research.
"You're going to want to independently verify the name, the address and the telephone numbers of any of these organizations you might be dealing with," Frassetto said.
Also, if someone asks you to wire money, that's a big red flag that should tell you to back away immediately.
DATCP also recommends asking for a check from a bank with a local branch.
"You (want to) make sure that it's somebody you're looking face-to-face with," Frassetto said.
Nauman’s bank issued a statement to News 3 on her case, saying while employees empathize with the situation, consumers are still responsible to cover any losses when they fall for a scam like this.
ZipRecruiter also issued a statement, saying it continues to refine its fraud detection software to try to keep bad actors off its site.
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