NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – What looked like a legitimate job listing on Indeed.com turned out to be a scam involving Special Olympics of Tennessee.
“This is a new one for me,” said Amy Parker, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Special Olympics Tennessee.
The job posting listed qualifications, complete with a pay scale up to $23 an hour.
“Someone has really gone to some extreme lengths,” said Parker. “They used language from our website. They used photos from our website.”
The scammer even used an email address including Parker’s first initial and last name.
“The email came from someone by the name ‘aparker’ and some numbers at indeed.com,” said Parker.
Stephanie Bonito, 29, found herself at the center of that scam. “I said, ‘this cannot be happening to me. This was not real.'”
Bonito thought she’d finally found the gig of her dreams after replying to a post on Indeed.com.
“I’ve been looking for a job around the clock for the last 5-6 months,” she said. “So, I thought, ‘this is great!’ My brother is autistic. This is a great company that we are affiliated with. We used to do Special Olympics when we were younger and I was like ‘this is perfect!'”
The scam was so detailed that it looked and read like a real full-time job.
“They went so far to tell her what her compensation was going to be, what her benefits were going to be,” said Parker. “So, the dots were connecting for her.”
Bonito was then told she’d made it to the final round of hiring, and was instructed to fill out intake paperwork.
“It asked me for my driver’s license, front and back, and a photocopy of me. So, I went ahead and I did it,” said Bonito. “Right after doing it I said, ‘something is not right.’ I had this gut feeling that this doesn’t seem accurate.”
The scammers were able to get away with Bonito’s social security number, banking info, and address. She reported the case to her local law enforcement.
Parker said at least five people reached out to Special Olympics Tennessee inquiring about the fake job post.
“Disheartening is a word we were all using,” said Parker. “We’re an organization that prides our self on supporting vulnerable populations, those with intellectual disabilities. And to use our name that we’ve worked so hard to build a reputation around integrity, of someone that does support the community, to use that in a way to take advantage of someone else in a time where people are looking for jobs…they do need employment.”
So far, there is no word on if or how much actual money was stolen.