Minnesota woman duped by fake medical records job offer

- With two children at home and another on the way, Melissa Holt of St. Paul Park, Minn. was exploring jobs that would put her closer to home.

When she searched for “medical record” and “health information management” jobs in the Twin Cities, a link to openings at UnitedHealth Group popped up. Unfortunately for Holt, the site was a fake.

“The logos are the same, the address is the same, the phone number is the same,” she said.

Thinking she was applying at UnitedHealth Group, she submitted her resume. After an hour long phone interview, she received an offer letter for a work-at-home position.

Shortly after putting in her two week’s notice at her current job, she started to get suspicious.

“They said they would be sending me a check,” said Holt. “Money to pay for the equipment—that I wouldn’t need to use any personal funds to pay for computer and printer.”

When they told her to take the money from the cashed check and deposit it at another bank, she knew it was a scam. But it was too late, her company had already filled the position she gave up one day earlier.

“I came in the next morning to tell them everything that went on,” said Holt. “They told me they already found an internal candidate for my position.”

Dan Hendrickson of the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota says he hasn’t been made aware of this specific scam, but that job scams have been common since the start of the recession.

“We knew that scammers create websites, we’ve heard of this. But to walk them through this faux process, that’s organized,” said Hendrickson.

The Better Business Bureau says before interviewing for a job you should Google the company, call the company directly, and pay attention to details like phone numbers and email addresses. He also warns against a job offer that isn’t preceded by an in-person meeting.

“No matter what company or how qualified you are, they are always going to want to see you face to face.”

A spokesperson for UnitedHealth Group said as one of the top employers in Minnesota, they are unfortunately a target of scam artists from time to time.

UnitedHealth Group said it will never request a person to download software or pay a fee of any sort to explore employment. The company encourages people to contact them directly if they want to confirm job offers or communication from someone claiming to be with the company.

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