Scam artists hurting Texas job seekers

Scam artists are hurting hundreds of Texas job seekers using the state's own website.

Scam artists are hurting hundreds of Texas job seekers using the state's own website.

Scammers are posing as employers and getting access to hundreds of thousands of Texas resumes through the Texas Workforce Commission website.

They’re then contacting job seekers and offering them fake jobs in exchange for their information.

Robert Taliaferro usually works offshore in the oilfield business.

“Never know if you're going to work from one day to the next,” he said.

It's why an opportunity to work in Dallas for $25 an hour sounded so good.

“I get a text message from Mary Kraft,” said Taliaferro. “According to the text message, said she was representing an engineering company. They were building a new facility here in Fort Worth."

“This was a dream come true?” said FOX 4’s Lori Brown.

“Yes, it was,” said Taliaferro.

The text messages directed Taliaferro to a legitimate-looking website for a company based in Singapore.

The person calling herself Mary Kraft told Taliaferro the interview process would be faster through text and Google Talk.

After going through an interview online, he received a text offering him the job, but then "Kraft" started asking for Taliaferro's personal information so they could complete the hiring process, and Taliaferro became skeptical.

“Their response, you'll speak to a supervisor once you receive your work materials,” said Taliaferro.

A live person did finally call, but spoke in broken English.

“Then I told him I was going to contact the Texas Workforce Commission,” said Taliaferro. “He immediately asked, ‘Why are you going to do that?’ I said, ‘Well, you got my resume. I need to verify you are who you are, you know, to make sure this is all legit.’ Then he hung up."

The Texas Workforce told him they know there is a problem, but there's not a lot they can do about it right now.

“Was that response disappointing?" FOX 4’s Lori Brown asked.

“It was, absolutely,” said Taliaferro. “This is the state of Texas, and you're telling me you can't find a way to fix this? Immediately stop it? Send out email notices. I've never gotten one."

The Texas Workforce Commission pointed FOX 4 to a warning on its website.

It directs you to a news release about a different scheme from as far back as April.

The commission says it is working to make the website more secure, but the new software system won't be ready until this fall.

FOX 4 reached out to the people who offered Taliaferro the job, but we got no response.

“To prey on someone who's needing a job, to me, is the lowest of the low,” said Taliaferro.

The Texas Workforce Commission estimates it has received about 200 complaints about schemes like this since 2013 and admits many more cases probably go unreported.

FOX 4 reached out to the Texas lawmaker who oversees the Texas Workforce Commission. She was not aware of this latest scheme but said she will be looking into it.

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