MESA (3TV/CBS 5) -- Jessie Frey was searching for a second job, trying to save up for the arrival of her bundle of joy. As the Mesa mom-to-be scrolled through opportunities on Indeed.com, she found a job to be an assistant for a local doctor.

"The first assignment that he sent to me was, 'Hey, I have a children’s home care that I take care of. They need a couple things,'" Frey told 3 On Your Side. "At first I was going to go to a store, buy a bunch of gifts, and send them out. But then he said, 'We’re actually just going to do gift cards.'"

[WATCH: 3 On Your Side investigates job scams]

The doctor sent Frey a check for nearly $5,000 to cover the cost. Frey deposited it and bought a stack of gift cards for several stores. Her new boss asked her to send him the pin numbers on the back of the cards, so she did.

A few days later, the check bounced.

Now, Frey is on the hook for that money and the gift cards have been wiped out.

"I thought it was a real website that I couldn’t be scammed like that on," Frey said.

A spokesperson for Indeed told 3 On Your Side it has a search quality team that reviews job advertisements.

"Indeed reserves the right to remove any job postings that do not meet our standards," the company said in an email.

But ultimately, job seekers are responsible for a safe job search. Indeed suggests people look for verifiable company email addresses, watch for email addresses with misspelled or spoofed company names, and insist on an in-person meeting.

"It would have been hard if i wasn’t pregnant," Frey said. "The fact that I'm pregnant and really trying to save is just like a different kind of slap in the face."

She's not alone. According to the Federal Trade Commission, reports of fake check scams spiked to more than 27,000 cases in 2019. People lost more than $28 million, and the FTC says people in their twenties are most vulnerable to check scams.

 

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