Stephanie – May 02, 2020
Victim Location 23451
Type of a scam Employment
Senior Customer Service Representative job posted on ZipRecruiter.com with Renaissance Pharmaceuticals, Wednesday, April 29, 2020. I applied and was contacted on my email same day with job post attached as a PDF doc. Body of email stated I would have interview April 30, 2020, 8 am PST (for me 11 am EST). Contact person in Human Resources was Heather Colianni. Instructions said to use Wire app platform and @heathercolianni1.
I looked up online Renaissance Pharmaceuticals’ website and general information about the organization which showed up as legitimate. I looked up online Heather Colianni which showed up on LinkedIn as Human Resources Manager for Renaissance Pharmaceuticals. I followed through with interview. The Wire platform offers video conference, voice call, and text. I was ready to do video conference, but "Heather" said that we would only text at this point of the interview since it was a preliminary check on my qualifications. We started the interview by introducing ourselves. I had to state my name, sex, and location which I shared since ZipRecruiter provides this information to employers. My thought was, once a person has your name they can go online and see all of this information with the "magic" of the internet. This was followed by the "briefing" of position details and responsibilities. Then moving on to the Q&A, common in interviews including two references with name and email address to contact them.
When interview finished, "Heather" said she was going to send all the information to Head Quarters to see if I would be qualified for the position. Later, same day, April 30, 2020 I received an email saying I got the job. She included my Employee ID # and added, "Do proceed with getting signed into the companies database." I went to Renaissance Pharmaceuticals website, but could not find a place for employees to "sign up". Later that afternoon "Heather" emails me to ask me to connect to Wire platform. Since it was close to 5 pm EST I replied that it would be best to get in touch next day, Friday, May 1, and at what time was best. Before the end of the day I checked my email, but did not have a reply yet.
May 1, morning "Heather" emailed me and directed me to contact her on Wire. I got myself ready for a conference call, but once again when I contacted "Heather" on Wire, she said only text and that once I was set up with the Home Office I would use their software and we would start communicating through conference calls. At this point the red flags started "CHIMING" in my head. My intuition was more than just uneasy. This said, somehow the fact that I have students loans to pay, that keep growing by the day, from a Master of Science degree and still today I have not found a job after being a Stay-at-Home parent for a decade, made me overlook the red flags. I NEED a job and things have not looked good since I graduated and even worse now with the pandemic. So I complied with the instructions so nervous with the whole situation that I could not think straight.
May 1, Wire platform communication was all about providing "Heather" my name, physical address, phone number, and email so it could be "sent" to Renaissance headquarters to get my account set up. Again I provided the information since anyone can have access to this by looking it up online. They said they already had all this information and that it was just a formality and to make sure it was me. Then Heather emailed me with an attached check as PDF doc. Check amount was $2,435.00 which was to be deposited in my bank account by using my Online Mobile deposit feature. I had to confirm receipt of check (which I did) and needed to deposit it before 5 pm EST. At 5:09 pm EST "Heather" texted my cellphone. Her number was 434-262-0132. She asked if I had deposited the check. At this point I texted back that I was aiming to do this before 7 pm EST which is the cutoff time for same day deposit I was told over the phone when I talked to a banker on my ********** bank. "Heather" said she would text me at 6:30 pm EST to confirm deposit and then I would receive the information to buy the office equipment.
According to "Heather" the timeline would be Friday, May 1 deposit check, Saturday, May 2 I would order office equipment, Monday, May 4, equipment would arrive, Tuesday, May 5, she would send a person to install equipment and W2 would be given to me, Wednesday May 6 I would start my training. The pressure "Heather" kept putting on me to deposit the check made me text her back saying that we could resume contact on Monday, May 1. (This last text is still on my cellphone which is how "Heather" got in touch with me this time with the phone number I provided above).
Thanks to God the check was not deposited in my account. The check’s head was, "City of Conway" 1201 Oak Street Conway, AR 72032 from Centennial Bank. Front of check was signed by Bart Castleberry and Michael O. Garrett. The check had my name and address on it. I looked up the names on the check which ended up being the Mayor of the City of Conway and the Treasury Secretary.
Today May 2, "Heather" got in touch to tell me that my official job offer letter would be sent to me by the end of the day and that we were still up for getting in touch Monday May 4 at 8 am EST.