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Berks man loses thousands in online search for job

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 09 2014 04:42:53 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 09 2014 05:43:57 PM CDT

Job seekers beware. One Berks County man was job hunting online and ended up falling victim to a scam.

Job seekers beware. One Berks County man was job hunting online and ended up falling victim to a scam.

Max Hirneisen is just a few months shy of graduating from DeVry University with a bachelors degree in sales and marketing, so you can imagine he is anxious to land his first job, submitting multiple applications to companies on the Internet.

Hirneisen thought he caught a break when he heard back from Savannah Bee Company for a personal assistant job.

"It was a three-part interview process and at the end of that I got an email saying I was hired. After that, I got in contact with the guy I would be working for and he let me know he would be sending me a package in the mail," said Hirneisen.

That package contained a check for $3,000. His employer told him to deposit the check into his account at Wells Fargo, wait for it to clear, then buy prepaid debit cards for a donation to a local orphanage.

After sending the codes from the debit cards to his employer, he got a call from Wells Fargo saying the check was no good and he would be on the hook for $3,000.

"He never asked me for any personal information. It never popped up on my radar because he paid up front. I got the money posted to my account. I could physically see the money and I physically took the money out and I had the actual cash," said Hirneisen.

But what Hirneisen did not realize was that, although the bank had cleared the check, it had not yet collected the money. It is best to call the bank and verify it has collected the money before spending it.

The Western Berks Regional police chief said his department is investigating the case, but it is often hard to track people down because they use fictitious names, company names and prepaid cell phones.

Managers at Pa. Careerlink said one should avoid ads that offer "work from home" and offers requiring money up front. They also said you should check a company's references.

"Be careful. Do not trust anyone for their word," said Hirneisen.