71-year-old Florida woman loses $4K to job imposters

Checks from bogus employer let thieves drain victim’s bank account

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – After nearly 18 years as a scheduling coordinator for a Central Florida contractor, 71-year-old Claudia Baker was told it was time to retire.

The feisty Altamonte Springs woman told News 6 she still wanted to work from home and started posting her resume with online companies like ZipRecruiter and Indeed.

In October, Baker landed what she thought was the perfect at home job offer but it turned out to be a scheme she has seen dozens of times since.

“They contact me through an app called Telegram,” she said. “They want you to put the check in the bank and they want you to send them a deposit slip.”

Variations of that scheme have been seen thousands of times here in Florida and across the country.

According to the Better Business Bureau, in 2020 alone, 14 million people lost an estimated $2 billion to job imposters.

Unfortunately, Claudia’s first encounter in October 2021 cost her $4,000, which is why she is bringing her story to the forefront.

“They had all my information so they drained my bank account,” she said.

Since that financial trap door first opened last October, she has continued her online job searches with heightened security awareness.

“Every single one that I have reached out to has been bogus,” Baker said. “Rocket Mortgage sent me an email with a W-4.”

The letterhead said “Rocket Companies,” not Rocket Mortgage, and the Detroit address on Woodward Avenue is home to Quicken Loans.

As of last week, Baker told News 6 she received dozens of job offers for office administrator, data entry clerk and customer service representative.

“Anything you can do remotely from home,” she said.

The problem is the offers are all designed to gain access to your bank accounts and personal information.

Police say a prominent red flag is the faceless job recruiter, a tactic used with the online romance scams currently sweeping the country.

Despite the scheme attempts, Baker refuses to give up because she is convinced a real job offer will be available. In fact, she is still getting offers.

“Yes sir, there’s one sitting at my house as we speak,” Baker told News 6.

10 warning signs that the job offer is a scam

  • “No Experience Necessary” (Even if it’s an entry-level position, some experience is always necessary.)
  • Crazy Money (If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.)
  • Fees (Or depositing checks to purchase materials.)
  • Instant Hire
  • Requests for Personal Information
  • Typos in the Listing
  • After-Hours Calls
  • You Didn’t Apply
  • Multiple Openings
  • Mystery Company (Research before you go any further.)

If you have an unemployment issue, email makeendsmeet@wkmg.com or text the words “Make Ends Meet” to 407-676-7428.

About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.