Job seekers fall victim to scam artist

PASADENA, TX The scam artist told the victims they were hired. The victims didn't realize they'd been fooled until they showed up for work.

Pasadena police say more than a dozen people fell victim to what they are now calling a job scam. They say the job scheme started two weeks ago when a man who claimed to be a recruiter for Lyondell walked into a store in the Pasadena Town Square Mall and asked a woman if she wanted a refinery job. That woman gave us a picture from a security camera of the man she says claimed to be that recruiter.

The woman, who didn't want to be identified, says she did not need a job, but her husband did.

She said, "He gave me his number and I gave him my husband's number and they started talking afterward, and he basically said he was a supervisor of the plants."

According to the woman, the recruiter said her husband was hired but needed to wire $125 to cover the cost of a drug test and criminal background check. The suspect also asked for names of others who were looking for jobs.

Police say at least 18 other people wired money to the recruiter after also being promised a job at Lyondell.

The victim told Eyewitness News, "We went one morning and we talked to the security guard and no one knew who he was or anyone named like that in the company. So we got a supervisor and he came to talk to us and he did not know what we were talking about or anything."

When those new workers showed up at Lyondell, they say they found out the job offer was fake.

Det. Cesar Brosus with the Pasadena Police Department said, "We are aware of right now a total of 18 or so people who actually then contacted the suspect and told him they were interested in employment with Lyondell. He instructed them to wire money to a third person in order to pay for background checks and drug checks."

Now Pasadena Police are looking for a man known only as Alex. Authorities at the mall tell Eyewitness News they had no idea this was going on. They say they certainly wouldn't have given permission for anyone to walk around as a recruiter for a refinery or any other job.

A spokesperson for LyondellBasell issued the following statement:

    "All positions available at LyondellBasell are posted online and all job applicants must begin by applying on our website. We do not solicit employment in public locations such as a mall and we do not accept applications at our gate or offices.

    No job applicant will ever be asked to pay a fee to apply for a position at LyondellBasell. All costs for new employees, including background checks and drug screens, are paid by the company."

We worked on this story with the help of the Pasadena Citizen, one of our Houston Community Newspaper partners.

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