Internet scams can affect anyone, anywhere. A local woman fell victim to a scam through a job she found on Craigslist.
The catch? The scammers not only fooled her, but also the Better Business Bureau.
Scammers hijacked the company's website, www.itserveplus.com, and have been employing those looking for work but not compensating them. What's worse? The company itself has been out of business for years.
Connie Sonnenberg, 47, of Rigby has been unemployed for two years. Desperate for work, she began searching for employment online. Research led her to an ad on Craigslist for a customer service manager position at IT Serve Plus, a web development business based out of Pennsylvania. After receiving approval from the Better Business Bureau, Connie took the job.
"The company had been in business since 2006, they had an A-plus rating, no complaints," said Sonnenberg. "The gal (at the BBB) said everything looked above board and congratulations on my new job."
Connie worked for the online company for around two and a half weeks but did not receive a paycheck. After dozens of emails and unanswered phone calls with the company's HR department, Connie realized she had been scammed.
The BBB in Idaho Falls did further research on the company and discovered IT Serve Plus had been out of business for a couple of years and its website was hijacked by scammers overseas.
"Scam artists capitalize on people rushing in and Connie was smart in doing that initial research, but as we see, scam artists are getting smarter and smarter, so doing additional research is a good way to be a step ahead of them," said Dale Dixon, president of the BBB in the Snake River Region.
"If something seems too good to be true, it probably is and that's a great idea or premise to go on. However, this whole job was not beyond the realm of reality," said Sonnenberg.
The BBB says contacting the local Chamber of Commerce as well could help you avoid becoming a victim.