Work From Home and Lose
Recently I was contacted via LinkedIn for a possible job as a freelance designer working from home. The person in question was listed as a recruiter via LinkedIn and was impressed with my history and wanted to see if I was interested in a work from home design job.
Of course, when any of us are on the hunt for a job, we instantly grab at such situations. Here is a person that “found you” instead of you finding them and they want to maybe hire you. The ego hit is great and you are thinking that this might be the opportunity you need.
Unfortunately, this has become a scam similar to others you have seen online in past years. Whether it is the wealthy individual in a remote African country, or a new potential love interest that just needs help, the overall story is the same. They will provide you with hope, present a direction to happiness, and then scam you out of your money.
This particular scam has been ongoing for a few years (of which I wasn’t aware until I was seeking employment) and works as follows…
- You are looking for a job and have an online profile. Generally it is through LinkedIn but can also be through Indeed, Monster, and so on where you list your contact information freely via email and your job goals.
- The scammer takes this information and then “creates a potential job” based on existing real companies looking for the same thing. In my case, two graphic design positions were presented as being “work from home” and the companies involved actually were offering such items (after I researched them).
- You are contacted via message through such services by a “recruiter”. Here is the first test. Click the persons name and find that no profile comes up. Right away you will see a red flag. The person says you match their list of needs and hope you might present a resume. I was actually presented with “real employee names” for the company involved in both cases, and I could have looked into that. But the email addresses for both were Gmail and at first I didn’t think of it. Though keep in mind that sometimes they can spoof an email to the company involved. You may not notice it right away because the reply address looks legit. However, in the “Interwebs” they can spoof anything.
- That “person” then follows up via email, once you said you were interested, to ask if you would like to interview for a job via Google Hangouts. They give you a contact email and a time to reach out. But, all emails used are not from the company you are supposed to be interviewing for. Rather, they are GMail accounts in most cases or other. Though, again, they can spoof real company ID’s. So be careful. Further instructions below.
- You eventually do the interview via Google Hangouts and everything seems to be going well. You answer questions specific to your profession and they send you very positive responses.
- At some point during that interview the person conducting it says that, should you get the job, you will be given money to set up a home office. This is where the scam is really taking place. But we’ll get to that in a moment.
- The interview ends and in some cases you are asked to stay online for a moment while your interview is processed because it would seem you are a “perfect fit”. If you do stay online, they will come back and say you got the job and provide instructions.
- Here is where the check comes into play. The money they will provide will be a check sent to you in the hopes you deposit it. Then, you are told to transfer the funds to a supplier that will send you the equipment for your new job.
- The scam comes in the form of your bank withdrawing funds to the supplier before they know the check was a fraud and doesn’t clear. When the check bounces, you lost the money.
Now of course many of us operate bank accounts that prevent this sort of fraud. I personally have a stop on all checks until they clear to make sure this doesn’t happen. But, apparently this type of scam can still happen and does. It is picking up right now so be aware.
If you get a request for an interview through your job search that says you are perfect, but you didn’t even know about the job, be sure to investigate who is sending this message. What is their email and profile? Is it legit? And, if they are asking for an interview, only accept in person or telephone interviews. Be sure to get full contact information that matches the company offering the job. And, call back those numbers to verify.
Finally, no reputable company is going to conduct an interview via Google Hangouts.
If you get such activity, keep records of all emails, notes and messages. Then, report such evidence to Google, LinkedIn, and so on. We can shut down this scam quickly by doing so.
Links for more information: