Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A New Brand of Scumbag..... Yippee, Skippy!

So, I’ve been looking for a job. I know, I picked about the worst economy ever to start hunting for employment, but youngest just started school full time this year, so it’s the first year I’ve really been able to look without putting him in daycare.

I know a lot of other writers who make their income from freelance writing, and I did do that for quite a while, but it took away from fiction for me. Plus, I’d really like to get back out in the world, with a regular schedule and co-workers, and, you know, a paycheck would be good.

Now, traditional job hunting today is a lot different from what it was the last time I was looking for full time employment... people don’t hunt the classified section in the local paper anymore, they do most of their hunting online. I’ve been regularly checking a variety of places with listings, including craigslist.

For me, personally, I won’t send a resume in response to a job posting, unless the posting gives all the pertinent information for the company and I can check their website or call a local number to speak to someone in HR. Usually I just send a short email inquiry, asking for specifics of the position and company... really, I don’t want to send my personal information and job history out to some random email address.

Today I got a response from one of the job postings I applied for and, boy, was it a doozy. The ad itself was fine – I don’t respond to ads that are badly worded or grammatically ridiculous, as they’re usually indicative of a scam. I also don’t respond to ads that offer ridiculously high salaries for little to no work... also, generally, a scam. This ad seemed fine.

The response, not so fine. First of all, I replied to an ad for administrative assistant, but due to their assessment of my skills from my resume (which I didn’t send them) they felt I should be moved to Accounts Receivable Manager... which would be laughable, since my resume mostly consists of business writing... but then, how the hell would they know that?

Okay, so what’s the deal? It’s a scam. A really badly worded scam. Full of nifty little phrases like:,

“Please be advised that we need total dedication for the job. Interview and Instructions will be scheduled for you when you get payment for the company, get payment from our client and customers as your first assignment for the Account Receivable Manager .”

They went on to say that I have to respond quickly, so they’ll know I have “total dedication” and send them my name, address, phone numbers, email accounts, etc.... Basically, they’re saying that the job is for me to collect monies from their clients, cash them at my bank, and send them all the money except 10%.... umn, I’m thinking NO...

The kicker is, they said they were a real company... gave a UK company’s bio and even linked their website in the email... I’m guessing they figured out that putting a fake company tipped off prospective pigeons when they did a rudimentary google search and turned up bupkiss... so they figured at least some people would check the website, see it’s a legit company, and think the offer was, too.

I forwarded their email to the HR person at the legit company, because I thought they’d want to know some loser was copy pasting their corporate bio on scam emails to bilk people out of money.

I half-heartedly even thought of replying to that email. Telling them I’d love the job... and giving my real name as Mia Culpa, with the address and phone information of the FTC... but then I wondered if that would be considered fraud, too... but at least mine would be funny.

Moral of the story, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.... oh, yeah, and occasionally people suck.


Mom In Scrubs said...

Wow, its pretty scary when the scammers are getting sophisticated enough to pull in even the scam-wary.

Good for you for not just ignoring but reporting them. What scum.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hey mom in scrubs,

Thinking of the ad I responded to, and then the email I got, I have a sneaking suspicion that they copied a legit job ad and posted that to reel people in.

It's annoying that there are people out there trying to scam people looking for employment - hello, can't you pick on someone who HAS money? But I guess there are a lot of people who, when they're unemployed, are desparate enough not to ask too many questions.

pjd said...

I am wondering if this is a "legitimate opportunity" in that you can in fact collect from clients, move the money through your account, and keep the 10%. Also a legitimate opportunity to go to prison, if any of those funds you collect happen to be achieved by illegal means. That would be called money laundering.

In addition to the HR person at the legit company, you might also want to forward it to the IRS. I looked around for the exact place to report it, but I wasn't able to get an email address specifically for this type of thing.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hey PJD,

It's actually an online scam that's pretty common - though usually with merchandice. They look for expensive things on sale through craigslist (not ebay, as the funds would have to be verified) then they purchase the thing but send a check larger than the purchase price (asking you to send the balance back) or simply have the item sent to a phony address they can collect it from - the check will clear your bank - but in a week or two they'll find that it was fraudulent... usually they are money orders or certified checks.

Live and learn... people don't pick pockets anymore... so they had to learn new tricks.

The proper place to report it would be the Federal Trade Commission (that's what I meant when I said I'd send them the FTC's address and numbers).

The ad was already flagged from craigslist when I got their return email.

And this is generally not going to be a money laundering scheme - as you're the one getting robbed and the only one providing and real money.

Ello said...

You know people in the world are always looking to take advantage of others. It is really sickening. But we have to remember that there are lots of good out there too. It reminds me that teaching my kids to be overly trusting is not a good thing. A certain amount of wary suspicion is important for everyone.

Travis Erwin said...

I wish you luck in your search.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hell, Ello,

Teach them to be nice, not trusting!!!! Trust's something you have to earn...

Hi Travis,

Throw in a Hail Mary and light me some candles, while you're at it :-)

Thanks for the luck.

Colleen_Katana said...

Ugh, scammers are totally annoying! But what I find even more annoying (well, sometimes) are the people who are dumb/naive enough to fall for it!

My old coworker was trying to sell her couch on CL and the dude made up some story about only being able to write a check for a specific amount which was $800 more than her asking price. So he said something like he would send her that check and she could send him a check for the $800 extra. It was a total scam...I told her a gazillion times not to do it, but she didn't listen to me. Sure enough, 2 weeks later she discovered his check bounced. I was like, "REALLY??? Noooo kidding."

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Colleen,

Oh, I soooo know what you mean. When I was in my late teens, one of my girlfriends bought her first car, all on her own... it was a used junker from someone who put an ad in the paper.

She went and met the guy, and her dad was supposed to meet them there, too, but he was going to be like 20 minutes late. Well, the guy gave her this whole schpeil about how he had another buyer coming, and it would be gone if she didn't buy it right then...

Yeah, me and one of my other friends were screaming at her, "Hello?!!! What, you never watched the Brady Bunch? That scam was on the Brady Bunch for crying out loud!!! It's not even a good scam!"

The car was a hunk of junk. She literally crashed into a break shop when she drove there to get the car checked out.. I mean into, as in, the breaks went out and she went over the parking stop and into the brick wall... she wasn't hurt, just really embarrassed.

I will say on thing, though. Most people who have these things happen... they learn not to be taken so easily after that...