Victim Location 07663
Total money lost $80
Type of a scam Employment
I’m a freelance graphic designer and work through www.upwork.com. I applied for a job posting and got a response from a person going by "Fred Hilton". He told me wanted to proceed with interviewing me and gave me the email address
"[email protected]" and said to message him on Google’s messaging app "Hangout". I messaged him and he explained all the details of the project including that I would only be working 10 hours a week at $40 the hour ($400 per week). He asked me interview questions like what are my greatest professional strengths, weaknesses, etc. He was happy with my answers and offered me the job. I accepted the project and he asked me for my full name, address and email address to send me an independent contractor agreement outlining the hours and pay, description of what I would be working on, and confidentiality. He emailed it and I signed it and sent it back. The next day he said my first project was to design an invoice for the studio and a spreadsheet for me to keep track of the projects I would be working on and my pay. I created the invoice and spreadsheet and sent to him. He replied back with the "Ben Miller" logo to add to the invoice. I revised it and sent it back. He approved everything. He then told me I needed to go on an errand and go to a local supply store and buy mailing envelopes pack of 25-30, stamps, a file folder. He told me to message him while I was at the store so I could take pictures of what I was buying so he could approve first. I went to the store and took pictures of everything he asked me to buy he approved it all. Then he asked me to pickup a Google Play card before I checked out. They only had $10 and $50 cards available so he asked me to get a $50 card. After I purchased everything he told me to take pictures of the receipt for reimbursement and the scratch code on the card and to enter all the info (amount spent and scratch code) into the spreadsheet to keep track. The next day he contacted me about wanting to send me payment. It was the 4th of July and the banks were closed anyway so I told him we could take care of it on Friday. The next day, he contacted me again about sending me payment. He said he would email me the check and that I could print, sign it, and mobile deposit it. He emailed me the check, I printed it, signed it and mobile deposited it. I got a message right away that the check was on hold for review and that if it was OK it would be available the next day. I told him about the message and he said it should be fine for the next day. He sent me another project to work on and I said I would wait for the payment to clear first. The next day, the money did not go through and I got another message from the bank that it was on hold until the 16th for further review. I told him about the message and he asked me to cancel the deposit. I told him I could not cancel, that he had to do a stop payment. The next day he claimed to have done a stop payment. The next day after that I got a message from my bank that the check was returned and I got hit with a $12 return check fee. The check is from First Citizens Bank and the return address is "Trust Sourcing Solutions, LLC" a company in Overland Park, KS. I told him about it and he insisted sending me payment again through an emailed check from his Escrow account. I told him that was not going to work. He needed to send payment through Paypal. He has not responded to my messages anymore. The balance on the Google Play card I purchased has been used.I told him I don’t want to work with him I just want what I spent back and the bank fee, but he does not respond. At this point, I don’t think he is who he says he is. I think he may have stolen someones identity and perhaps he is not Ben Miller at all.
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