If you're a job seeker you already know that there exist plenty of scammers posing as employers in hopes of either stealing your identity, or cheating you out of what money you have.
Sometimes these scammers will place bogus help-wanted ads and wait for potential victims to contact them, while other scammers will make first contact themselves, sending emails either to random people, or specifically to those who'd posted resumes on various online “find-a-job” sites.
Of course, if you get an out-of-the-blue job offer, you know to do an online search for the company, to make sure it's legitimate. But even if the company is real, that email in your inbox might not really be from them.
This week we heard from a reader named Beverly, who thought she'd received a work-at-home job offer from a company called Logistic Solutions. It looked legitimate – and a quick online search shows that there really is an IT company by that name, based in New Jersey – but upon closer inspection it became obvious that Beverly's offer was some type of scam. But what kind?
It all started a couple of Mondays ago, when Beverly checked her email and saw a one with the hopeful-sounding subject heading “Resume approved.” When she opened it, here's what she read (these lines are exact cut-and-pastes, errors and all):
Subject: Resume Approved
From: Logistic Solution Inc. <email@example.com>
Congratulations, Our recruiting team has reviewed your resume on www.gettelemarketingjobs.com for the position we believe you would be capable of handling, This positions are based on your resume. This is an immediate hire position therefore if you are interested kindly get back to me to brief you about the company and the job details, also the payment and the working hours.
LOGISTIC SOLUTION INC.
Sorting code#: 9887090274
There's a few obvious problem with this email. First, it was sent from an @yahoo.com address — and legitimate businesses, especially those big and successful enough to be hiring additional staff, have their own “named” email addresses, not a free, generic webmail account. And it wasn't addressed to “Beverly,” merely to “Applicant.” The writing and punctuation are atrociously incorrect (although this scammer did, at least, care enough to run his come-on through a spell-check first).
Another problem only becomes evident if you search online for “Logistic Solution, Inc.” in quotation marks – there doesn't seem to be any company by that exact name.
Despite her misgivings, Beverly wrote back to ask about the job: when would she start, and what would her pay be?
The scammers responded later that afternoon:
About The Company and The Job Interview
Here are the details about the company and the job Interview
This is a work from home Job.
COMPANY PROFILE :Logistic Solutions Inc is located in Piscataway Township, New Jersey and [several paragraphs of standard tech-company marketing boilerplate] ….
Once again, the writing is unprofessionally bad. And the company's name changed, too; this email said the company was called “Logistic Solutions” ending with an S, not the singular “Logistic Solution, Inc.” mentioned before. Another ominous warning sign: legitimate companies know how to spell their own names.
With the proper spelling, it was easy to search online and determine that yes, there actually is an IT company by that name in New Jersey — and no, they did not send any emails to Beverly. Company employees have email addresses ending in @logistic-solutions.com, not a Yahoo email address, and the phone number listed on the official Logistic Solutions website is different from the phone number the scammer eventually sent to Beverly, too.
(Also: none of the job openings listed on its “Careers” page were for work-at-home positions, either.)
The scammer went on to promise Beverly a wage of $40 per hour, mentioned various types of software she would need to do the job, and then:
“The company's accountant will mail out check to you so you can purchase your office equipment and your upfront pay for training programme ….
Then after that you are to cash it out and you are to purchase these software's from the company retailer/ shipping agent who we have been buying from for years now.... and means of payment accepted Direct deposit in the company retailer account providing you with the vendor's payment information which you will be using in purchasing the software's.
So that's what the scammer's goal is: he's trying to hook Beverly into an elaborate version of a check scam!
The usual check scam works like this: the scammer sends you a fake check for some amount of money, but of course you don't initially realize it's fake. He tells you to deposit the check into your account, then withdraw a small fraction of it and give it to him. A day or so later, your bank informs you that the check was a fake, with no money to back it up – and the money you withdrew from your account to give to the scammer is gone.
Luckily, by this point Beverly stopped responding to the scammer and wrote us instead.
Even if you don't remember all the warning signs of a scam email, always remember this: in a real job money only ever flows in one direction — from boss to worker, from employer to employee.
No legitimate employer will expect workers to withdraw money from their own accounts and send it to their bosses, nor expect workers to use their own personal, private accounts to perform official company financial transactions. Beverly did not let herself fall for such a scam — make sure you don't, either.