308 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

St. Louis (KSDK) - You probably know someone who's out of work and uses the internet in hopes of landing a job. But the FBI says beware who you give information.

A local woman who just wanted a job almost got scammed.

Megan Van Ben Schoten spends a good part of her day scouring the web for work. She lost her job a few weeks ago, then a few days ago she thought she'd hit the jackpot.

"I got a phone call from a lady who told me I was selected out of 1,500, there was 1,500 people selected in this area for a U.S. government grant from the treasury division," said Van Ben Schoten.

It started when she filled out an online questionnaire hoping to get money to go back to school.

"My award was $7,000 and I was then directed to call this other number," said Van Ben Schoten.

It's what happened next, that made her suspicious.

"He instructed me to go to the nearest Western Union, and what I would need to do is deposit a $330 deposit," said Van Ben Schoten. "And I'm like okay, what is this deposit for? And he says it's just standard and it's 100 percent refundable."

"I mean, a grant is a grant, so why would I have to pay for this?" said Van Ben Schoten, "But I still, wasn't convinced that it was a scam."

That's when she called 5 On Your Side.

"I watch channel five every day, "5 on Your Side," and I was like I was going to get the answers I need if I call," said Van Ben Schoten.

So 5 on Your Side paid a visit to the FBI and spoke to spokesperson Rebecca Wu.

"They like to use money transfer services because while you are specifically wiring money to let's say, for this case Washington D.C, you're saying okay I'm going to wire this money to Washington, D.C., the scammers can actually pick up that money anywhere in the world," said Wu.

And don't be fooled by a United States area code.

"Even though your caller ID may say area code 202, which you think oh that's Washington, D.C., scammers can also use programs to use that area code, but it's really not from 202," said Wu.

5 on Your Side's Mike Rush called the number, but once he started asking questions, the woman on the other end hung up.

He called again. Every person he spoke with had a strong accent.

"I was so hopeful, so hopeful, I'm such an optimist," said Van Ben Schoten. "And really I didn't know for sure, until I got a call back from channel five and told me this is scam."

Now her hopes of returning to school are on hold and it's back to the job search. She offers this advice: be careful about giving out information.

"I'm not a stupid person and I know if I can fall victim to this, I know that there are so many other people that could too," said Van Ben Schoten. "You know, so many other hopeful people that need it just like me."

If you're suspicious about a call, letter or email, a good resource to visit online is the Internet Crime Complaint Center, oric3.gov. It's a clearinghouse for cyber crimes and can educate you on trends and current scams being investigated by law enforcement.

308 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://on.ksdk.com/18wIvPh