Job Scam Arc. 01 - 10

01 Learn How to Recognize Fake Recruiters

The following narrative explains how a two-person old fashion sham has been retooled to work in a modern world.  One person is the confidence man (fake recruiter) and one is the snake oil salesman (fake interviewer).  This type of scam is typically, executed by one person who is playing all roles.  However, successful scammers will enlist the help of additional scammers to appear more legitimate claiming to be HR representatives and so on.  The goal of the scammers in this scenario is simply identity theft. 

Watercolor-Mask-Fake-Recruiter-Identity-Theft-Scam

Imagine you’ve been job-hunting for weeks and have become no doubt frustrated in the process as well as the lack of communication from the companies which you’ve submitted your resume.  You made your resume available for public consumption by recruiters through your chosen job board portal account.  A few days go by and now you see you ‘ve been contacted by a recruiter for a job, which you did not actively apply.   You’ve been invited to an interview via email.  Sounds sweet, right?  The recruiter contacts you a few times by email to arrange the interview date and time.  The recruiter has provided little to no information related to how the interview will be conducted; simply saying watch your email inbox for details.

On the day of the interview, you receive an email from someone else; now explaining to you the interview will take place over Google Hangout.  Out of curiosity, you stick out the process. The interviewer throws out seemingly legitimate information about the company, its purpose, and industry it supports.  At this time the interviewer explains the job duties associated with this position providing very vague information or details.  Without specific reference to your work history or work experience, the interviewer congratulates you on being hired.  At this point of the process you’re told to wait for another person to contact you about the job for which you were hired and to complete hiring documentation. 

As soon as the interviewer explained to me I’d be working with yet another person to complete HR documentation I decided I had enough information to understand how the scam worked and decided to give even more push back as a means to frustrate the interviewer.   I decided to be that annoying applicant who asks some of those intelligent questions putting most people on the spot and designed to always garner nonsensical canned responses.  I spent better than an hour pretending to verify the information the interviewer had given during the fake interview in order to make the scammer think I was truly interested in the fake offer.   When I was finished having my fun, I decided to be very direct and explain the holes in the scam to the person trying to scam me.  Of course, the scammer pretended not to understand what I was talking about and eventually  stopped responding to my logic.

Many of these job-hunting related scams begin with this same fake interview but ultimately take hard left turns down paths that vary depending on the goal of the scam.  Note I myself almost became a victim of this specific job-hunting related scam. The first red flag is the use of Google Hangout.  No legitimate company uses an online message system to conduct any part of the hiring process.   These scammers use a phishing technique that is hard to explain but designed to get victims to offer additional personal detail that can be used to build a profile and verify the victim is a potential patsy based on citizenship status and more seemingly innocuous information.  Once this profile is built, it can be easily used for future scamming purposes.

I consider myself very smart and very tech savvy as most people consider themselves.  However, had I not had years of experience in the job market and the understanding of how the legitimate hiring process works, I might have been a victim of this specific scam.   I decided to change my job-hunting techniques after this experience.  Check out Traditional Fails and Tips to learn how scammers use job boards and how I changed the way I was using those recommended job-hunting boards.

02 Learn How to Recognize Advance Pay Scams

The following narrative explains how you can be tricked into bouncing checks resulting in over-draft fees through no fault of your own.  The scammer behind this particular scam finds victims by searching job boards; finding resumes made available for public viewing by recruiters then use the contact information included on the resume.  Some of these scammers will create an account on job boards in order to seem legitimate to site owners so as not to tip their hands sooner than they would like.  Therefore they have a chance to gather more resume contact information before being kicked off the site.

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Imagine; a recruiter reaches out to you based on having read the resume you made available for recruiters to read.  The job being offered to you isn’t necessarily the position your work history or resume would be directly related to but there is enough overlap in your skill set to justify contact by the recruiter.   To your surprise, the recruiter offers you a position having conducted an interview with you.  So far, everything seems sweet.

You feel highly appreciated and wonder why others never appreciated your skills or contributions.  Your new boss has given you a job title inferring you are more than just a low-level grunt.  Even sweeter, this new job is a work-at-home position.  Your new boss explains your job duties in great details.   Boss man informs you he will be sending you a check in an amount that will be used to pay you in advance.  WOW! Respect; right?  Boss man tells you he will be sending you a physical paycheck.  The check will be in an amount higher than your expected earnings and asks you to forward the remaining money to one of his partners.  Boss man explains the remaining money is being put towards the costs of work related materials, of which will be shipped to you and needed, for you to perform your work at home job duties.

The promised advance paycheck arrives with tracking information, letting boss man know the check has been delivered to you.  You, of course, receive an email from boss man confirming delivery and instructing you to deposit the check in your checking account.  Now boss man provides the mailing address you’ll use to mail a check made out on your checking account covering the money remaining after deducting your advance pay.  You look at the amount on the check issued to you by boss man as well as other aspects of the check.  Everything seems good in appearance, so you write that check in the remainder of the money to be sent to boss man’s partner and drop it into the mail.  Now, Boss man tells you to sit back and relax because it will of course take a few days for your check to make it through the mail to his partner.  Boss man promises to contact you in a few days with information on those materials and when they will be arriving.  You have no choice but to wait as you cannot do any part of your job without these materials.  Days have gone by without any communication from boss man.  More days go by and now you’re wondering what the heck is going on.  You try to reach out to boss man only to be met with communication walls you cannot get past.  A few more days go by and now your bank is contacting you letting you know that check you deposited is fraudulent.  Now you have overdraft fees owed to the bank as well as owe the amount of the check you wrote and mailed to boss man’s partner.

So how are you now stuck with overdraft fees and owing that check amount to the bank?  Simple, deposited foreign checks; meaning checks not issued by or through bank account owners within your bank for accounts your bank manages, have a ten day clearing hold before funds are released.  No doubt you have seen these notice signs posted in a bank lobby at some point in your life as well as conveyed to you by way of your online bank account in some way if you engage in online banking activities.

The scammer in this scenario is hoping to convince you to immediately write and mail your good check to his partner before the ten day hold has passed and reveals his check you deposited is fraudulent.  Had you known or remembered this fact, the scammer would have bailed as soon as you would have brought this up for discussion prior to depositing that check you received.  It’s only after the fact your bank tells you the deposited check was fraudulent but makes no attempt to investigate the validity of deposited checks unless inquires are made by the depositor.  The scammer understands this policy is true for every financial institution but hopes you do not, or have forgotten it.  That check you sent didn’t go to boss man’s partner.  It went to an account he manages and continues to use the same way he used it to scam you. 

So how are you now stuck with overdraft fees and owing that check amount to the bank?  Simple, deposited foreign checks; meaning checks not issued by or through bank account owners within your bank for accounts your bank manages, have a ten day clearing hold before funds are released.  No doubt you have seen these notice signs posted in a bank lobby at some point in your life as well as conveyed to you by way of your online bank account in some way if you engage in online banking activities.

The scammer in this scenario is hoping to convince you to immediately write and mail your good check to his partner before the ten day hold has passed and reveals his check you deposited is fraudulent.  Had you known or remembered this fact, the scammer would have bailed as soon as you would have brought this up for discussion prior to depositing that check you received.  It’s only after the fact your bank tells you the deposited check was fraudulent but makes no attempt to investigate the validity of deposited checks unless inquires are made by the depositor.  The scammer understands this policy is true for every financial institution but hopes you do not, or have forgotten it.  That check you sent didn’t go to boss man’s partner.  It went to an account he manages and continues to use the same way he used it to scam you. 

This scam is just one of many presentations of the "Don't Pay for Opportunity" scam.  Check out Work at Home Scams to learn how to better recognize many work-at-home scams.  Throughout your entire interaction with this scammer, you have most likely exposed yourself to yet future manipulations which could end up absolutely affecting you on many levels.  Best advice and practice if you have been tricked into bouncing checks and incurring overdraft fees in a similar way is to report the scam to proper authorities.  Check out Scammed for guidance on reporting scams and tips you can use to protect your identity; scammed or not.

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