Ivy Hotchkiss remembers the moment last December when she realized she was the victim of an elaborate online job scam.

“I sat on the floor in shock and disbelief,” said Hotchkiss. “Just clutching my computer, thinking, ‘What am I going to do?'”

The 22-year-old Toronto student had spent weeks looking online for part-time work, to help cover expenses in her final year at college.

“I had applied to every Tim Horton’s, every McDonald’s,” Hotchkiss told Go Public.

She thought she had finally secured a job working from home as a data entry clerk for Aritzia — a trendy women’s clothing chain, based in Vancouver.

“They offered me $30 an hour, which I thought was amazing,” she said. “I immediately said yes.”

Her new employer sent a cheque for $3,485, instructing her to e-transfer those funds to an office supply company to purchase needed equipment.

She deposited the cheque, watched her balance increase, waited 48 hours to make sure the money remained in her account and then sent the e-transfer.

Two days later, the cheque bounced. She had lost the money in an elaborate scam involving a fake Aritzia website, fake employment contract, fake managers, a fake office furniture company and — most devastating — a fake cheque. 

“That was going to be my food and rent for the next month,” said Hotchkiss. “It was the most panicked feeling I’ve ever felt.”

TD Bank told Hotchkiss that she was to blame, because she’d deposited a counterfeit cheque.

After Go Public made…

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