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PSA: Widespread Remote Working Scam Underway

This entry was posted in General Security, PSA on October 28, 2021 by Mark Maunder   57 Replies

I’ve just gotten off the phone with a victim of the scam that I’m about to describe. This is impacting a lot of folks, so please do spread the word. It’s infuriating. I’ll be around to reply to your comments below, but please do not engage in victim-blaming, because until you’ve actually been hit by one of these scams, you don’t know how convincing attackers can be.

As you already know, Defiant is a 100% remote company. We have been remote since 2015 when we first started hiring. Thanks to COVID, a lot of brick-and-mortar companies are now hiring for remote positions. There is a remote hiring scam that has rapidly gained popularity and works as follows:

The Attack

An attacker will post a job ad on a job board for a position. We have seen “Data Capturing” as one of the roles, but the roles vary. An interview is conducted. In the cases we’ve seen, it has been done via Skype direct message and there were two attackers who had a conversation with the victim. The first attacker posed as a kind of coordinator and went by “Jennifer Udin”. The second posed as a manager named “Antonio Wheeler”.

The victim gets the job. The “employer” (attacker) congratulates them and says that they will provide all required furniture and office supplies. The attacker then sends the victim a check which they are told to cash, and they’re asked to immediately buy furniture from the attacker’s preferred supplier. In the case we investigated, the amount paid was several thousand US dollars.

The victim’s bank will put a hold on cashing the check until it passes fraud checks. The victim spends the money out of pocket, on the furniture, in a non-refundable way. The victim is out of pocket thousands of dollars. And the “furniture company” is actually the attacker who now has the money.

There are several variations of this attack. The goal is to either get personally identifiable information (PII) from a victim or to get money. In all cases, the scam is based around an employment opportunity and a legitimate company is used as a vehicle for the attacker to scam the victim.

How To Avoid This Scam

We recommend you take the following steps to avoid this scam:

  • Go to the employer website and confirm that the job you’re applying for is actually an open position on their site.
  • Contact the hiring company using the published contact information on their website – either an email address or phone number – and verify that the role exists and that you are in the hiring queue.
  • As far as possible, do not apply on job boards. Instead, apply by navigating to the hiring company’s website and proceed from there. You may be directed to external HR sites like Workable.com, but you will be following links from the hiring company’s own website.
  • Never spend money out of pocket for a job application or for a new job you have just started. You may need to spend money out of pocket in the future because reimbursement has become standard practice among many companies, but this should be unacceptable for a position you have just started.
  • I have not encountered a company that only does interviews via direct message. COVID has changed the way we do business, so it is understandable that victims are assuming that direct-message interviews are part of that change.

Please share this information as widely as you can. This has had a significant financial impact on folks I have talked to, and their stories are heartbreaking. If you have been affected by this, please visit IC3.gov and report the crime.

Data We Have Gathered

The following screenshots and data were kindly provided to us by several victims of this scam. We have redacted sensitive information.

An introductory chat session:

 

An authoritative-sounding Jennifer gives instructions on visiting the “hiring company’s” website which is a real website. They add a time limit to add legitimacy.

 

Once the victim has been hired, they’re referred to a “training supervisor”.

This is the profile of one of the scammers. Probably a stock photo and plausible-sounding name.

One of the checks received by a victim:

 

The following is a transcript of a Skype direct message conversation between one of the victims and an attacker. Stacy is the attacker and Mary (not her real name) is the victim. Asterisks represent redacted information.

Stacy, 2:14 PM
Good afternoon

Stacy, 2:15 PM
How are you doing?

Mary, 2:26 PM
Good Afternoon

Mary, 2:26 PM
I am fine thank you

Mary, 2:26 PM
and you?

Stacy, 2:28 PM
I’m great

Stacy, 2:28 PM
I believe you are here and ready for the job briefing/interview?

Mary, 2:51 PM
Yes I am

Stacy, 2:57 PM
I am Mrs Stacy Morgan. The Interview manager for ******. Please introduce yourself and indicate your location.

Mary, 2:58 PM
Ms. Morgan, are you there?

Stacy, 3:00 PM
Yes we can proceed.

Mary, 3:21 PM
I am Mary ***** and I am located in ********.

Stacy, 3:23 PM
Next would be the briefing about the Job and the company. I advise you read with care. Just follow the briefing and you can ask questions when i am through. Let me know when you have finished reading and understanding every line. You will be allowed to ask questions later. With each line just respond with i’m through.

Mary, 3:30 PM
I’m through

Stacy, 3:31 PM
Here’s the company website www.******.com. You are required to use (Five) minutes of your time to glance through the website and read more about the company. let me know as soon as you are done so we can proceed with the briefing..Okay ?

Mary, 3:32 PM
Okay

Mary, 3:34 PM
I’m through

Stacy, 3:35 PM
Alright

Stacy, 3:35 PM
Primary Responsibilities are to perform general clerical duties to include but not limited to: Resolve customer complaints via phone, email, mail, or social media.

Use telephones to reach out to customers and verify account information.
Assist with placement of orders, refunds, or exchanges.

Take payment information and other pertinent information such as addresses and phone numbers.

Place or cancel orders. Inform customer of deals and promotions.
Utilize computer technology to handle high call volumes.

Can you handle that with appropriate training ?

Mary, 3:36 PM
Yes I can handle that appropriate training
I’m through

Stacy, 3:38 PM
The pay is $28 per hour, training is $18 per hour and will get payment bi weekly via direct deposit or paycheck, the maximum hour  you can work a week is 45 hours. If you are employed you are going to be working as a full employee.

You will undergo training from your training supervisor, The first phase of your training will be centered on your mini-office set up and handling of tasks/assignments which will be done intermittently.

In the second phase, trainees will imbibe a direct-stringent approach in getting themselves acquainted with their office equipment (software & hardware) and company’s payroll system. Also will they be assigned special projects to work on.

I believe that will not be a problem for you ?

Mary, 3:39 PM
No this will not be a problem
I’m through

Stacy, 3:40 PM
What means of payment do you prefer ? Direct deposit , Check , Wire Transfer ?

What Bank Do you Operate with to see if it tallies with the company’s official salary payment account ?
Note: I am not asking for your banking information.

Mary, 3:42 PM
Wire transfer…JMMB
I’m through

Stacy, 3:43 PM
BENEFITS : Benefits for eligible worker include: Health, Dental, Life and AD&D Insurance, Employee Wellness and 401k plans.Paid Time Off and Holidays with Generous Company Discounts.That counts after working 30days with the Company.

Mary, 3:44 PM
I’m through

Stacy, 3:45 PM
We are now on question and answer interview section. As soon as you are done answering any question, you are to write DONE…Understood?

Mary, 3:46 PM
Understood

Stacy, 3:47 PM
Alright good

Stacy, 3:47 PM
(1.) Are you seeking a part time or full time job and  are you currently employed ?

(2.) Do you have a printer, scanner and fax machine and what is your mobile carrier?

(3.) How would you describe yourself during work ?

(4.) Do you have an idea of how to use ms excel and  what is your typing speed?

(5.) At this company, we like to think of ourselves as a team that works together towards the same goals. How do you feel about working in a team environment?

Mary, 3:50 PM
1. Part-Time with the possibility of turning into Full-time. Yes I currently employed, but need something flexible. DONE

Mary, 3:51 PM
2. Yes I have a printer and scanner. ******* is my mobile carrier. DONE

Mary, 3:53 PM
3. I would describe myself as friendly, easy to get along with, laid back yet hard working. DONE

Mary, 3:54 PM
4. Yes I know basic MS Excel, would like to learn more and 40wpm. DONE

Mary, 3:55 PM
5. Working in a team environment is great, I would love working in a team. It allows for growth. DONE

Stacy, 3:57 PM
Very good

Stacy, 3:57 PM
(6.) What computer skills do you have and what programs are you comfortable using?

(7.) Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?

(8.) What is it like working for your supervisor?

(9.) How would you feel supervising two or three other employees?

(10.) What do you understand by privacy & code of conduct?

Mary, 4:03 PM
6. I am skilled with power point presentations, email communication, spreadsheets and research. I am comfortable with Ms power point, ms word, and I have recently started learning SQL. DONE

Mary, 4:03 PM
7. I do not have a preference. DONE

Mary, 4:04 PM
8. Working with my supervisor is great actually. He encourages growth and allows me to work independently when he sees it necessary. DONE

Mary, 4:05 PM
9. I have no problem supervising 2 or 3 employees, I would consider that support them rather than supervising. DONE

Mary, 4:08 PM
10. Privacy is important because this is respecting persons and company information by not divulging information,it goes hand in hand with trust. And code of conduct is how I would represent myself , my place of employment and treat my fellow team members.

Mary, 4:08 PM
DONE

Stacy, 4:12 PM
Brilliant

Stacy, 4:12 PM
I really hope the company can depend on you. You  have performed quite impressive.

I need you to hold back on online, while i go through  your answers to my question and discuss with the  rest of the recruiting team. Okay ?

I want you to keep an eye on your IM (simply  be alert). I will get back to you soon with the result of  the interview.

Mary, 4:15 PM
Yes I am okay with that. And I will be looking out

Stacy, 4:30 PM
I’m back

Mary, 4:31 PM
I am here

Stacy, 4:33 PM
Congratulations, your performance ensured you had a good score eligible for enrollment into our weekly routine training program. You scored 9.0 out of a possible 10. , you have just been confirmed qualified for this position
You are now offered the job position…you are HIRED!
You are welcome to ********
You are now given a chance to show your commitment,charisma,diligence and be a productive employee.

How do you feel now ?

I believe the company can count on your devotion?

Mary, 4:34 PM
I am happy, excited and nervous!

Mary, 4:34 PM
Yes the company can count on my devotion

Mary, 4:35 PM
Thank you and thanks to the recruitment team for choosing me!!!!

Stacy, 4:35 PM
You’re welcome

Stacy, 4:36 PM
To enable you sit for this job and position there are working equipment and software’s which are required for this job and position this is because you will be working from home as all expenses are handle by the company, so there for the company will be sending you a check, this check will be for the purchase of all the working equipment that you need as you will be purchasing them from the company local vendor, method of purchase and means of payment will be made known to you when the check get to you, as you will be getting the check asap. The check will include your advance training pay and sign on bonus. I believe you understand?

Mary, 4:36 PM
I understand

Stacy, 4:37 PM
In the mean time i need you to provide me with these information to enable the company’s secretary’s department put you into register. Full names, state, city, address, zip code and cell #

Mary, 4:38 PM
Full Name: Mary ***** ******

Mary, 4:38 PM
Our address layout is a bit different

Mary, 4:39 PM
Street: ******** Road

Mary, 4:39 PM
City: ******

Mary, 4:39 PM
Zipcode: ******

Mary, 4:39 PM
Cell#: ******

Stacy, 4:41 PM
Got it

Mary, 4:42 PM
Great

Stacy, 4:42 PM
That will be all for today, make sure you are prompt online 8am tomorrow morning so i can connect you to your training supervisor. Have a Great Day and Stay Bless.

Mary, 4:43 PM
Okay…no problem. And same to you

This attack is having an impact on real victims applying for roles that tend to be less senior. Please do spread the word. Let’s try to make this scam common knowledge, along with how to avoid falling for it.

Thanks to all the victims of this scam who kindly shared data with us and those who spoke with me on the phone.

Mark Maunder – Defiant Inc Founder and CEO.

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57 Comments on "PSA: Widespread Remote Working Scam Underway"

Dean Suhr October 28, 2021 at 7:30 am

Thank you for sharing this new and "creative" scam – one that's a bit out of the ordinary compared to what you normally share here.

This scam truly seeks out the vulnerable unemployed who might have a sense of urgency and desperation that causes them to overlook signs of potential fraud. Providing your Social Security number and bank info for direct deposit/wire transfer are part of the sharing to get paid with a new job.

I hate to say it because it's a sad condemnation of society today, but anything that seems too good to be true ... needs to be thoroughly checked out.

Mark Maunder October 28, 2021 at 7:40 am

Agreed re it targeting the vulnerable Dean. I can't share victim specifics, but some folks that have been hit by this are the last people you want to see affected. They're already busy, applying to multiple jobs while juggling life, not expecting to get scammed, and then they get hit. As I said in the opening, it's infuriating.

John D October 30, 2021 at 12:04 pm

This is the first time I have ever seen such a detailed account of a scam. So many of the tactics that these hybrid devil humans use are evident throughout.

There are a couple very important keys that are used to unlock what are normally red flags to most of us.

First is the social aspect. As we moved towards a more impersonal way of communication - where many people were not as adept in communicating to begin with and we're likely less social already - electronic communication was easier and eliminated a lot of the barriers of in person socializing. It also brought people, tall or short, social or not, good looking or ugly, no matter the difference - a much more even plane of opportunity. People are beings that feel, want to be included and recognized, and accepted.

So the recipe for those devil humans is served up just by them taking the time to communicate. Add positive rewards or a means to fix a problem and game over for the victim.

I have found that many good hearted people don't have a belief in the world that someone would hurt them.. They trust with no bias. They figure there is a name if a person, an email address or phone number, a check with a bank name printed on it, a money order that says USPS - all us good and then it isn't.

I have also found that 99% of the scams I have been shown or come across also have common traits - the voice you hear us not local the words you read are usually not grammatically correct, and punctuation is off.

I blame part of the problem on the those that are the keepers of phone numbers. It used to be that when you cancelled your number the carrier did not reissue it for quite some time - at least 90 days. Now, it's almost instant.

Craigslist is another issue. When you place an ad and provide your email, the responder sends a reply through craigs list to you. You then see the responders email address and as soon as you reply to it, your email address is used. To fully protect both parties, the communication should be handled through Craigslist.

Unfortunately, I have grown to not trust anyone. Trust has to be earned and even then with open eyes.

Protect yourself with some easy steps. Don't open or answer anything from those you do know and trust. Block and report spam. Realize that you never accept payment from anyone that wants something from you immediately. Question everything. And again.

Cemal Ekin October 28, 2021 at 7:53 am

There are variants of this scam. Some years ago, I received an e-mail from someone wanting to buy some of my photographs. After a couple of exchanges, I realized the "buyer" was simply trying to scam money using a weird process. They would pay me, thousands of dollars for my photographs, send me a check for an amount double the purchase price, then ask for half the money back because it was sent by mistake. By the time the victim realized that the actual check received actually bounced, it would be too late. My instincts and a little poking around the Internet saved me a huge headache. Artists, photographers, beware.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is!

Cemal EKin

Les Guessing October 28, 2021 at 8:21 am

YES! I had the same thing happen. A company wanted to hire me to do a voiceover. They sent me a big check which I was to deposit and I was to pay the recording studio before it cleared. I almost fell for it, since I had their check. But it was so fishy, I asked my bank about it and they said, NO, not only will I get ripped off but if I deposit a fake check, they could cancel my bank account. I tried to contact the FBI. They don't care. There's some sign up form nobody there ever looks at. So this type of scam can continue on and on.

Charles Tryon October 28, 2021 at 10:58 am

Art buyer scams have been around for quite a while now. LOTS of similarities here. I've had ones where the buyer offers to pay thousands of dollars for my artwork, but they want me to use their own personal shipping company (who you pay in cash). It's always a rush purchase (for their "wife's birthday"), involves a large cashier's check, and sending them back money for a "mistakenly written amount". I always string them along for a while, but never agree to receive a check or cash anything. This example is pretty sad since everything in the offer feels "legitimate". Any time there is a rush to do something with cash, that's the one huge Red Flag here.

Patrick October 28, 2021 at 7:58 am

Thank you for sharing this. I also know of others who have been taken by similar scams. It is heartbreaking. It seems that because the victims are down on their luck and somewhat desperate to find a job they are especially vulnerable as they suspend their normal concerns and get pulled in and are hurt in more ways than just the loss of the money. It’s very sad to witness. Thank you again for sharing.

Steve October 28, 2021 at 8:05 am

It's really sad that this is hitting people who are looking for work. It also seems like the farther a person goes down the rabbit hole with the attacker the more trusting they become. It's always good to have some healthy skepticism in situations like this. And the money's not there until the check clears the bank!

Nick M October 28, 2021 at 8:05 am

I have experienced similar dealings with individuals offering employment on sites like upwork.com and freelancer.com. They are posing as potential clients, but slowly direct the target outside of the vendor platform, then beging soliciting PII for "employment" purposes. Be careful and follow the policies set forth on the vendor sites and you should be ok.
--stay vigilant

Sebastien L. October 28, 2021 at 8:06 am

Thanks for the article.

You say "You may need to spend money out of pocket in the future because reimbursement has become standard practice among many companies".

Could you please elaborate on that? Maybe practice is different overseas (I'm from Europe) but I can't imagine a situation where an employee would use personal money for job purpose or give money back to company.

Mark Maunder October 28, 2021 at 8:09 am

At Defiant we issue our team with corporate credit cards, so that isn't the case. But in the USA it's common practice to provide employees a way to get reimbursed for expenses incurred on things like a company trip to a conference. e.g. If they took a client to dinner and put it on their own card for some reason, they can claim that back. But that should never happen as part of the onboarding process.

Sebastien L. October 28, 2021 at 8:17 am

Ok. I understood that the other way around where an employee would have to reimburse the company.
Thanks for clearing that up.

Kevin October 28, 2021 at 8:14 am

As someone who's job hunting right now for something else remote (with zero luck) since my current job's nowhere near enough to make ends meet, this really hits close to home. I've already found three different job scammers in the months I've spent in my job hunt. I never gave them any information, and our communication never made it outside of LinkedIn.
I'll be posting about this on my blog as well, since scams are a topic that have come up frequently.

Ronan K. October 28, 2021 at 8:16 am

Thanks Mark. Appreciate all you do to keep the vulnerable safe online. I just don't get this part:

"The victim spends the money out of pocket, on the furniture, in a non-refundable way. The victim is out of pocket thousands of dollars. And the “furniture company” is actually the attacker who now has the money."

If I order locally I know where and who I am buying the stock items from so how is that money ending up in the scammer's hands? Please don't tell me they order furniture from some fake online shop? If so I get it now and how naive and sad is that.

Mark Maunder October 28, 2021 at 8:35 am

Ronan it's as you suspected. The furniture supplier is the scammer.

Charles Tryon October 28, 2021 at 11:08 am

It kind of makes sense. You might expect that companies, with their huge buying power, would be able to cut discounted deals with furniture companies on behalf of their customers, so I wouldn't have a problem believing it. Sheesh.....

Another thing I've seen is using a "Cashier's Check", which is supposed to be as good as "cash" to the bank. They will often immediately credit the money to your account, and then *retroactively* back it out of the account once the check eventually bounces (sometimes weeks later).

ashod October 28, 2021 at 11:57 am

In 1993 I was a victim of furniture scam and it was not online. They had a showroom setup, with name and address, merchant accounts... Luckily I paid with Visa card and when I didn't receive my furniture when I moved into my new apartment, Visa reimbursed me. I try the police and was told it is not a criminal case. Went to the court, spent $50 to file a complaint and was told that they can not locate the furniture company!? I had to hire a private investigator, find the person I paid and if I am lucky, to get some of my money back!
In a less developed country I would get my money back with help of two friends...

Theresa linn October 29, 2021 at 6:01 pm

I too have been through this. I knew when they said print the check out and cut it to shape.

Paul Caraway October 28, 2021 at 8:21 am

I have seen a similar scam in the acting industry. That Scam offers money for makeup and clothing you need to purchase for the gig. They send you a check for the expenses and then will send a fashion and makeup artist to your location. They get your money and run! I was also scammed with an audition reel. I did the audition and the took my footage!

It is happening more as people are looking for alternative ways to earn money from home. No need to be embarrassed about this... just be aware!

Sincerely,
Paul

Jay October 28, 2021 at 8:23 am

What a complete scumbag thing to do for people looking for a job these "people" are definitely heartless.

Michael October 28, 2021 at 8:39 am

Is it an interesting variation of the man-in-the-middle attack. The person in the middle is the person being scammed. The attacker is actually on both sides of the communication. The person in the middle believes them to be independent of each other.

And, yes, it preys on people who are in sufficient need of a job that they would pass over the unusual arrangements.

George Spelvman October 28, 2021 at 8:45 am

I agree that it is getting easier to fall for some of these scams. They are more creative than the schemes of the past.

One thing that rarely changes in these scams is grammar and word issues. I will caution that any wording outside of the norm for your country should always be a red flag. Foreigners will frequently misphrase sentences and make them sound silly and even employ rare or abstract meanings. If the contact is supposed to be from the same country, watch out.

This would set off alarms for me: "In the second phase, trainees will imbibe a direct-stringent approach ..."

The word "Imbibe" is rarely used in the US outside of meaning to drink alcohol.

Honest Guv October 28, 2021 at 10:10 am

The bad English suggests West Africa to me. This is actually how scammers sort out their potential victims. If you fall into the traps early, the more likely you are to deliver the pay cheque.

Sheila McCall October 30, 2021 at 8:31 am

I thought the same thing. We aren't talking about alcohol here. Who uses imbibe in the US if not talking about drinking?

Christine Campbell October 28, 2021 at 9:04 am

There were other clues in there. They have what I call a "scammer accent". You can tell by the language hiccups smattered through the conversation that they are ESL speakers or using a translator program. Anytime I see that, I'm instantly suspicious.

Andy Holloman October 28, 2021 at 9:25 am

..Scammers are everywhere and their criminal talents are only going to be offset by wonderful folks that share information on their most recent tactics.... Thanks so much for sharing this info. Alerting potential victims with good information is our best defense..... Really appreciate this effort

Rhonda Holscher October 28, 2021 at 9:33 am

I get why you are not sharing the victim's identifying information, but why are you not showing the attacker's website and address? They should be fully exposed if possible. Is there some legal reason you are unable to do this? ~Ron

Mark Maunder October 28, 2021 at 9:42 am

Hi Ron. I'm the one responsible for that choice. As I was editing the post, I was absolutely paranoid that I'd accidentally expose victim data. So I went overboard in terms of editing the images and erred on the side of protecting the victim even if I accidentally obscured some of the attacker data. ~Mark.

Jason October 28, 2021 at 9:38 am

I've heard of these sorts of scams. Sadly they've been going on since even before the Internet, and back then the scam would be conducted by mail order or phone. Some variants of this scam will also attempt to recruit the victims into the scam to scam more victims, to supposedly "get their money back" or will trick the victims into thinking it's not a scam, while they're working for the scammers.

Tamida Rabuwa October 28, 2021 at 9:52 am

I had this experience just yesterday. The attacker hired me to design a website for his newly lunched Restaurant, he insisted on issuing a check on the basis he has restrictions on using other means.
We agreed on the project at a cost of $1200 but instead he sent a check of $2900, so he wrote me an email and requested that I should clear the check at my bank and wire him back $1900 while I keep $1000 as upfront payment until project is delivered. It was at this point that knew it was a scam, then I took the necessary measures

Mark Maunder October 28, 2021 at 9:56 am

Thanks for sharing Tamida.

AS October 28, 2021 at 10:15 am

Chilling. They go to great lengths to make it appear realistic indeed. Thank you for reporting on this—and to the targets of the scam for sharing their experience!

Sally G October 28, 2021 at 10:40 am

I saw a few red flags, but those of us here are more sophisticated than many, especially if someone has been out of work for a while and bills are mounting. . .
Grammar, word use, capitalization, spacing, spelling—and the final “put your contact info here” rather than sending the new hire to a company site.

It is really important to share this sort of warning! I will be doing so.

Ryan October 28, 2021 at 11:14 am

We used to see this in retail all the time. Customer would order by phone for a gift basket or flowers to be delivered, and ask for a cash gift to be added to the envelope. The customer would offer to include a tip for providing the service, and to cover credit card processing fees.

Big surprise, the retailer would get a chargeback on the credit card a few weeks later.

More recently, I've seen this through online marketplace sites. Customer pretends to want a website, then asks that the vendor charge thousands of dollars to the client, paid on CC, with the vendor then remitting much of that money to a consultant or other contractor who has been working on the project.

Same scam, many different forms. Always evil.

ashod October 28, 2021 at 11:49 am

Similar scams are on the web for years. I have to monitor multiple email accounts (about 15) and see right away the scams sent out with similar content but from different names and emails. I do not even have to open the email.
People can also fall into scammers hands through ebay or kijiji. When I get an exciting offer I first check when this person has opened his or her account, and believe me, the majority are maximum one month old.
We need to be very vigilant and check every possible peace of information, because we have absolutely ZERO protection from authorities.

Lado October 28, 2021 at 2:30 pm

Mark why are you hiding the URL that is scamming innocent people? Please let the public know what is the URL of the websites that are scamming people or there is no purpose to this warning.

Mark Maunder October 28, 2021 at 4:39 pm

Please see my reply to another commenter. It's out of an abundance of caution when protecting the victim identity. Trust me I'm not willingly protecting any attacker, ever.

Eoin October 28, 2021 at 2:58 pm

I used to take on these types of scams some years ago. I think it was about 2008 when I stopped. I used to go along with the scams, let them send me the fake bank drafts and pretend to lodge them. They would spend weeks asking why I haven't sent them the "over paid" amount back to them... I had about 5 different scammers sending me bank drafts at one time. One scammer sent me a bank draft for €10,000 which was supposed to be €1,000, expecting €9,000 back.. This is the kind of money these guys are scamming from people, and have been for years.

I don't know how some people fall for these scams when they are so obvious. But the thing is, if people keep falling for them, the scammers will keep scamming.

Mina L Standley October 28, 2021 at 3:01 pm

I had that happen to me, for a secret shopper job. I cashed check and spent what they wanted me to. And then get told days later by bank of bad check. And i owe bank $1,900. And u go to contact people who sent it, they ingore u on all calls, emails etc. So i got screwed. To everyone out there, Dont cash a check u didnt earn. Or secret shopping jobs checks. SCAMS

Holly October 28, 2021 at 3:14 pm

I have had several individuals try this with me and they have all used the Telegram app. It is almost the exact same conversation, as though they are using a copy and paste script. I have never been interviewed via an instant messaging app and immediately let them know they are being reported. It's sad that someone will put more effort into coming up with ways to scam people than just to legitimately work...

Elizabeth October 28, 2021 at 4:14 pm

I have had this same experience with a little variation. The check itself was suspicious and my bank confirmed it wasn't legit. While at the bank I informed the so called hiring manager that the check was no good. They told me to deposit it in my ATM....I never do that even with legitimate checks! So I gave him a piece of my mind and never heard another word. That was my own stupidity at fault really. My bank also said it was happening pretty often to other folks (I live in a small town so was surprised to hear that) but it was very frustrating because it was a job I found on Indeed. I have since spotted several others and have even contacted several companies to verify the open position but never hear back from them so obviously, the jobs I inquired about weren't real. It just makes it that much harder to find the real ones. I have since signed on with some local temp agencies in hopes of getting my foot in the door that way. Since then I have received texts from time to time from someone saying they found my resume on a site, and my resume wasn't on the site they mentioned so I ignore them. But I'm probably going to change my phone # now regardless 😊

Travis October 28, 2021 at 4:50 pm

Wow, it sounds like the sooner the US does away with Cheques the better. Obviously different variants on this exist here too (Australia) but the automatic trust of a cheque is just too easy and I'm glad they're really a thing of the past.

I still have a chequeboook somewhere... but its been probably to 15-20 years since I wrote one.

Doro October 28, 2021 at 4:51 pm

The whole job-seeking and interviewing process on its own is already enough of a drag without the added danger of being targeted by opportunistic con artists. I, myself, have been targeted by these sorts of shady "employers" on job boards. They're relentless and will spam your inbox to try to coax you into responding.

EJ Smith October 28, 2021 at 6:22 pm

I ran into one of these when a friend's daughter got a remote job offer from her resume posted on Monster.com. They came to me to review it for legitimacy as I'm a retired security admin. Sure enough, it was a scam with similar characteristics as what has been described here. She was put through a Zoom interview, but the interviewer never had live video, just a still photo. They wanted her SSN, and in return were going to buy her a bunch of tech in support of her new graphic design position. Fortunately for my friends, we caught it before any harm was done.

Marina Teramond @ NMPL October 29, 2021 at 3:48 am

To tell the truth, this project is not only necessary but also so respectful, deserving a huge amount of attention. Of course, In Africa, Uganda is known as the country that has the most developed education system but despite this fact there schools are in need of many improvements and children are in need of plenty of conveniences. Without any doubts, with the aid of Wordfence education in Namasale will achieve a new level of advancement and pupils will be able to go to school with more desire. I think that this project contributed to transforming not only schools in Namasale, but also the whole area to a large extent. Frankly, before this moment I hadn’t heard about such an initiative and you accomplished a great thing which affected a lot of spheres in Namasale in a positive way, providing children with opportunities to study and feel safe. It is so valuable.

Kellie October 29, 2021 at 6:07 am

Thank you for this information. Another thing to be on the lookout for (according to my company's cyber security training) is poor grammar and misspelling of words, in which the "hiring manager" had made multiple mistakes.

Josep October 29, 2021 at 8:31 am

This piece of advise is the most important:
Don't spend significant amounts of money for a job application or for a new job you have just started.

Mierra Birden October 29, 2021 at 8:41 am

This is very similar to company that scammed me and got all my information, locked me out my Facebook account and sent me a fake check….. This is sad , but I learned my lesson.

Kai October 29, 2021 at 11:07 am

Wow, this is beyond sick. Back in September I was s victim of yours exact scam. It was my first job after getting out the military and completing my BA. As I'm going for a MS, something flexible seemed so lucrative. A similar tactic was used on me, in such a way. A legitimate company being used and fake checks being sent. I ended up losing so much money, I nearly became homeless due to being unable to pay my rent. I'm still trying to recover.

David October 29, 2021 at 4:34 pm

I fell for this type of scam a few years ago. TWICE in the same week. I was right out of college and had just met my then-future wife and wanted a job to go on dates with her. I realized it was a scam because it was 2 different "employers" in the same week with very similar interviews and both "hired" me. I got the check from both but the checks looked kinda fake and I never cashed them. They got my address, date of birth, and name of one of the banks I use. Not the worst leak of information but I felt like a fool.

Julie October 30, 2021 at 1:59 am

I was almost scammed into a so-called for a medicine reaearch company. They stated they provided the computer setup but i needed to but a $50 Apple gift card for the software. I knew it was a scam so i lookes the name up on the company employee roster and of course she didnt work there.

Julie October 30, 2021 at 2:03 am

I have also had 4 fake checks mailed to me for a cleaning job. I was supposed to deposit the check and keep so much of it and i was to get a cashier's check and send it to the painter. The checks look legit except there's never a bank phone number on the check. Thats a sure sign the check is fake. Each was for over $3,000.

Kimberly Mathis October 30, 2021 at 5:03 am

I had two different companies try to scam me they actually did send me a check and I did try to cash it which it did bounce but I did not use my out-of-pocket expenses to buy anything so I guess I was safe in that sense but they did get my bank account information which meant I had to change all that. I actually quit my job to start this job and found out it was a scam

gersh October 31, 2021 at 2:15 am

Thank you for this very important message. It's a sad state of affairs ,and it doesn't seem to be improving. As long as people are in financial need there will be 'prey ' available for these scoundrels . So only through awareness and education can we do our share.

Ness October 31, 2021 at 2:15 pm

I had a similar experience in July. I sent the "real" person an email after I found his name on LinkedIn with a PDF of the conversation. I never heard back. Thank goodness I did not fall for the "fake" check to deposit!

I also sent something to LinkedIn and got some "general email" basically stating I am on my own and they were not going to follow up with the "real" person.

Below is some of the transcript:
​From: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Thu, Jul 15, 2021 at 3:16 PM
Subject: Confirmation of Skype Interview
To:​​ [redacted by moderator]

Hi Peter,

I am reaching out to confirm the Skype interview I am participating in with you is legitimate.

I have attached a partial copy our conversation. In this world of cyber security, one can not be too careful.

Best,

11:03 AM
Hi Peter
Peter, 11:04 AM
Good morning Mis xxxxxxxxxxxxx
How are you feeling today
11:05 AM
I am doing well thank you. Would you like me to select Meet Now
Peter, 11:06 AM
Am doing very well… I believe you are here and ready for a briefing and interview
session now? you will get to know about the company and what the responsibilities
entails
11:08 AM
Yes, that is my understanding, based on your invitation last night.
Peter, 11:08 AM
Very good…. Before we commence with the job briefing and interview, i would like
to apprise you that we are sorry about our unseemly approach if this interview
conducting method is unprofessional to you or if you are new to all this, but i
believe the world is always advancing so it is important to stay on top of things as
change is inevitable.
11:09 AM
I agree with your observations as well.
Our area had massive thunderstorms last night and my technology is still trying to
recoop. I am fine with this method or would a call to my cel be a better option?
1m 21s
Peter, 11:13 AM
To begin formally, My name is Mr. Peter Stopfer(Please address me as Mr. Peter)
and I am a hiring manager/Information Director at (BilFinger Inc.). I will be
responsible for carrying out the job briefing and online interview with you. To
proceed further, Kindly state your name, location. and how you would like me to
address you.
11:14 AM
Ms. xxxxxxxxxxx
Peter, 11:15 AM
Alright... Kindly state your name, location. and how you would like me to address
you.
11:16 AM
I have not received a copy of the job description. To make the best use of our time,
I would like to review before we begin.
Peter, 11:16 AM
Alright... Send me an email address you would love to receive job detail.
11:19 AM
It would be the same email where you sent the interview invitation last evening.
Peter, 11:19 AM
Alright...
Peter, 11:21 AM
Kindly check your email for the job details and let me know when you are done
reading through so we can proceed.
11:22 AM
Thank you. I received and am reading the description.
Peter, 11:22 AM
Alright... Let me know once done
11:25 AM
I have completed the review. The job description does no state what this position
would be supporting online and what the initial training covers. Please provide more
detail.
Peter, 11:26 AM
Very good... Kindly please state your name, location. and how you would like me
to address you.
11:29 AM
As I am cautious about providing details digitally, what I am comfortable providing
is:
name-xxxxxxxxxxxx (you should have the rest of my information if you found my
information via LinkedIn). I live in xxxxxxxxx. Please address me as Ms.xxxxxxx.
Peter, 11:30 AM
Alright... Now we are proceeding to the interview section. I will ask you some
questions now, Once you're done with your answers, please write (DONE) so i can
go on with my next question. May we proceed?
11:31 AM
Before you proceed, please provide what this position would be supporting in an
online presence.
Peter, 11:32 AM
Administrative Executive.
11:33 AM
What would an Administrative Executive support?
Peter, 11:33 AM
Job brief
We are looking for an Administrative Officer to join our team and support our daily
office procedures.
A successful Administrative Officer will act as the point of contact for all employees,
providing administrative support and managing their queries. Main duties include
managing office stock, preparing regular reports (e.g. expenses and office budgets)
and organizing company records. If you have previous experience as an Office
Administrator or similar administrative role, we’d like to meet you. Our ideal
candidate also has working knowledge of office equipment and office management
tools.
Ultimately, you should be able to ensure our administrative activities run smoothly
on a daily and long-term basis.
Responsibilities
* Manage office supplies stock and place orders
* Prepare regular reports on expenses and office budgets
* Maintain and update company databases
* Organize a filing system for important and confidential company documents
* Answer queries by employees and clients
* Update office policies as needed
* Maintain a company calendar and schedule appointments
* Book meeting rooms as required
* Distribute and store correspondence (e.g. letters, emails and packages)
* Prepare reports and presentations with statistical data, as assigned

Mike Welch November 1, 2021 at 10:01 am

Thank you for sharing which I have also done.

Christina Rivero November 2, 2021 at 11:58 am

Omg. This just happened to me. I knew it was too good to be true. I can't believe I fell for it. Well actually yes I can because I am in desperate need of a job and have 2 young son's to support. I didn't give them any personal information except what the name of my bank is, my name, address, phone number, email, and phone carrier. Do you think they can access anything of mine? I feel so foolish. Please help

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