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Recent college grad loses $4K after applying to fake graphic design job post

Posted at 12:02 PM, Jun 29, 2021

BAYSIDE, Wis. (WTMJ) -- Haley Flagstad, a recent graduate of Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, came across a posting on for a graphic design job at Gibson Guitars in Nashville and she was immediately drawn in.

The pay and benefits were what she was looking for and she would be able to work from home.

"I just graduated last year and it's been really difficult for me to find a position," Flagstad said.

"When I did apply, it said that the post was 30 plus days old. So, I thought that was a little strange," she added.

She was hired without an in-person or video interview. Soon, Flagstad learned the job opportunity was not real and she ended up losing about $4,000 in the process.

She filed a police report with her local department, Bayside police. The report says someone claiming to work for the company sent her a check for $4,356 to "... cover the expense of setting up an office in her home."

"They sent me this check for about four grand and they said that I needed to deposit this money into my account and pull it out in cash and put it into another account for the delivery distribution company," she explained.

Flagstad followed those instructions because she was promised her office equipment would be delivered as soon as she made the payment.

The police report reveals, the cashier's check bounced and now Flagstad is out all that money.

"From my end, it feels really dumb. But from my perspective, I felt like I had done all the proper research, like the woman I was talking to is a real woman who works for Gibson. She has a profile on LinkedIn and it says she works for the company," Flagstad said.

The I-Team contacted Gibson Guitars and we're waiting for a response. We also reached out to explaining what happened and asking if the job site screens for fraudulent posts. A spokesperson provided the below statement:

Indeed's mission is to help people get jobs, and the quality of the job advertisements posted by third parties on our site is central to our mission. Indeed has a team dedicated to the Search Quality effort, and employs a variety of techniques to review job advertisements to determine their suitability. Indeed reserves the right to remove any job postings that do not meet our standards and we encourage job seekers to report any suspect job advertisements to us, or if they feel it necessary, to make a report to the police. Jobseekers should never agree to send payment to a potential employer, and charging fees is a violation of Indeed's rules for companies posting on our site. We encourage job seekers to review our Guidelines for Safe Job Search.

Looking back on her case, Flagstad realizes it was a red flag when the alleged recruiter insisted on only using text or other messaging.

"I think that also makes it really confusing just with the whole COVID-19 thing because everyone has all of these different protocols and people are saying, 'Oh no it's better we just do it this way, I'll just give you my email, we don't really need to meet'," explained Flagstad.

For now, the recent grad is working part-time as a server at a local bar. She got that job after meeting the employer face to face.

This story originally reported by Kristin Byrne on