Alberta woman warns job seekers to be vigilant after suspicious job postings

Carla Lange of De Winton, Alta. was excited about going back to work after being unemployed for 10 months.

But that excitement was dashed after she said she was ghosted by an employer that had just hired her.

“I just knew,” she told Global News. “I just knew that it wasn’t right.”

Lange applied for an office administration job on a popular hiring site. The post stated it would be based in Calgary, but the company hiring was a BC-based company called Hermsen Construction Inc.

A man who called himself Keith Renner told her to set up the app Telegram to do the interview. Renner said he was the regional manager of the construction company and would be doing the hiring.

Lange said it went well and she was offered the job just 20 minutes later.

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“I got a text message saying that he had great news for me — I was hired!”

Contract sent to Carla Lange hiring her for job
Contract sent to Carla Lange hiring her for job. Global News

Curious to know where she would be working, Lange said she drove to the Calgary address listed on the employment contract. But when she arrived, she couldn’t find the office.

She said she then started to wonder if the job offer was legitimate and told Renner she would be having a lawyer look over the contract.

“Within seconds, the Telegram conversation was deleted and he was gone,” she added.

Read more: Scammers target online job seekers during COVID-19 pandemic

Global News tried to reach out to Renner by email and phone several times but did not get a response. The phone number on the employment contract went to a fax machine.

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We also went to the company’s website, which was provided to Lange in an email from Renner. The website had the name Hermsen Construction and gave an address in Saanich, BC.

But when Global News dug deeper, we were told Hermsen Construction — located in the village of Saanichton, B.C.– doesn’t have a website and its owners are not currently hiring.

“No, no. Not our company whatsoever,” Liz Hermsen told Global News.

Liz and husband Gary who run the small family-based business on Vancouver Island, said they have been inundated with calls and emails about the job postings — which have shown up across the country.

“They’re asking if we have multiple locations, if we’re hiring for various positions. No we haven’t posted anything,” Hermsen added.

“Someone is slandering our business name and doing this. I don’t know how or what can be done about it. It’s consuming and I wish it would stop.”

The Hermsen’s put out a warning on their company Facebook page. It advised that they do not know Keith Renner, they are not hiring and they do not have any other locations.

They also had this advice for any job seeker who has, or are thinking of, applying to any of the postings.

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“Just do your homework and if you feel there are red flags — dig a little deeper.”

Read more: Calgary photographer warns others after being targeted by ‘overpayment scam’

Alberta woman warns others of suspicious job posts
Alberta woman warns others of suspicious job posts. Global News

Lange said she is glad she trusted her instincts and questioned the offer. She added while she’s disappointed her much needed job did not pan out, she’s grateful she hadn’t been asked for any money or financial information before all communication stopped.

“I’m so grateful that I was aware of these kinds of scams but not everybody else is,” she said. These are desperate times.”

Global News reached out to the Alberta RCMP but were told no complaints have been made about this company or Keith Renner.

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