Scammer clones job placement website to prey on the unemployed for cash and personal information

Ariel Schur, CEO of ABS Staffing Solutions, says her company has been targeted by an online scammer since the coronavirus outbreak.
Ariel Schur, CEO of ABS Staffing Solutions, says her company has been targeted by an online scammer since the coronavirus outbreak.(Courtesy of Ariel Schur)

A scammer preying on people unemployed by the coronavirus crisis has targeted at least one job placement agency in a scheme to steal cash and personal data, the Daily News has learned.

Ariel Schur, the CEO of ABS Staffing Solutions, said she first learned of the phishing scam in mid-March when prospective employees reached out to her company about receiving suspicious text messages alerting them about job opportunities.

The messages included a link to a website that looked almost exactly like Schur’s. The only problem — it was a fake.

A handful of people who received the texts noticed that the website address they received was different from that of the actual ABS site, so they reached out to Schur’s company directly.

“Whoever the scammer is would send a text message from a 1-800 number, and there was no number to text back. It would just relay that we have an immediate opportunity,” Schur said. “The text message would have the dummy link, and I’m sure multiple people just clicked on it and adhered to whatever information was requested.”

Among those unfortunate job seekers is a Florida woman, who was lured into sharing her social security number, date of birth and address – all under the guise of having to fill out employment forms for her new gig, Schur explained.

“We had two people that we spoke to in depth. One actually fell for the scam and lost money and went to the police,” she said. “One was more cognizant and gave us a lot of details pertaining to what happened to her.”

The Florida woman was also convinced to send money to a bogus client, Schur told The News. After securing what turned out to be a phony job as an executive assistant at a property management firm, the victim was allegedly told to transfer money to a “client". Then, when her first paycheck from P&G Realty, Inc. arrived, it bounced, Schur said.

Schur reported the scam to Wix, the company that hosted the scammer’s website, and the FBI.

Wix removed the dummy site twice, she said.

Neither WIX nor the FBI immediately responded to requests for comment.

ABS has continued to field questions about the shady texts and websites. On April 25, Schur got a message about a text that said: “STAFFING SOLUTIONS: Hi, we have a Job opening for a Part-Time Personal Assistant. Earn $30 per hour. No experience required."

“I want to know if this is illegitimate,” the job seeker asked.

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