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Job center makes changes after scammer gets through net

By Adam Schrager, aschrager@wisctv.com
Published On: May 09 2013 09:10:59 PM CDT
Updated On: May 09 2013 11:19:53 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. -

Wisconsin's Job Center website is taking stronger measures to protect job seekers from potential scams after a News 3 Call For Action investigation.

Last week, emails were sent to nearly 1,400 Wisconsin job seekers warning them about a "scammer" who attempted to obtain personal banking information. That came after someone purporting to represent a British computer company registered with the state website and immediately began contacting job seekers, offering a $13-per-hour computer position working from home.

State workers pulled the information within a couple hours after complaints from job seekers, but did not reach out to those who were contacted by the scammers until News 3 contacted them.

It took one email and less than half an hour for News 3 to reach the head of the British company in question, who denied posting the ad. The representative used a personal Yahoo email account, which is supposed to be a red flag that requires independent verification, but that process was not undertaken by the state.

Department of Workforce Development Communications Director John Dipko released the new guidelines to be followed for verifying potential employers wanting to post jobs on the state site. Instead of having one person vet all employer registrations, a "team of specialists" will now complete the task, Dipko said.

"We are studying technology enhancements that could automatically identify and elevate potential scam attempts to staff's attention," he wrote in an email to News 3. "We will make warnings and tips more visible on JobCenterofWisconsin.com so job seekers can safeguard themselves against online scam attempts involving any job board."

The department also pledged to "issue timely contacts to job seekers who may have been contacted and make referrals to outside agencies for potential investigation, in the rare event a scam does occur."

Lisa Gehle is one of the job seekers who was approached by the scammers. She contacted the Call For Action volunteers about the problem because she "just want(ed) people in Wisconsin who use the Job Center, if they find this on the [Internet], don't go for it because it's too good to be true."

If you have a consumer problem you want the Call For Action volunteers to help solve, call on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 608-270-2833. If those times don't work, you can file a report any time of the day online at http://www.channel3000.com/callforaction.

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