Finding a job is a struggle. Right now over 1,3 million Canadians (source) are sitting behind there computers scrolling down job finding-websites, or updating their resumes and stressing out for interviews. While the unemployment rates are decreasing, jobs are getting fewer. Especially the millennial generation, over 50% per cent, is having a hard time.
The job seekers are easy victims to online scams. More fictitious jobs appear on job boards and more people get conned into parting for money or become victims of identity theft. As an online reporter for Canadian Fraud News, I might be the only person who cheers when I find a fraudulent job offer in my inbox. This morning a mister Walter Smith emailed me with a great opportunity:
Subject: Re: Personal Assitant and Administrative officer needed.
Sent: August 3, 2016 8:30 AM
I’m reaching out to inform you that MT EQUIPMENT CO-OP LTD, which I happen to be a Senior Consultant for, requires the immediate services of an efficient Individual/Admin Representative in your Region (Canada & USA). We are looking for someone who can perform these services below:
* Have access to his/her email daily
* Be able to speak to client on behalf of the company when the need arise.
* Be able to receive mail on behalf of the company.
* Receive payment on behalf of the company from clients.
* Follow instructions and do as directed by the company.
Please do get back to us if you are willing to work for us and are willing to provide these services. Note that you will be entilted to a monthly salary of $4,000 and a 8% commission on any payment you received on behalf of the company. If interested to do this job please,send us a confirmation e-mail containing these details below: Full Name/Current Address/Country/State/City/Zip Code/Phone/Age/Current Occupation.
Please note that this job offer DOES NOT require any financial obligation of any sort from you as all expenses will be done by the company MT EQUIPMENT CO-OP LTD.
I look forward to hearing from you.
The first thing I do when I receive an email like this, is search for the name in Google. As I suspected, multiple websites warn for this fraudster named Walter. Apparently the fake job offer is actually intended to recruit people for criminal activities such as money laundering or receiving stolen goods. According to Conrad Longmore: “All the money being handled is stolen, and the person handling it will be liable for 100% of the loss and could face legal action. Any goods handled and reshipped are stolen, and any correspondence sent and received will be fraudulent” (read more).
Job scams often ask the job seeker to pay money in advance under the guise of for example travel expenses or background checks required for the job. The fraudulent recruiter or employer could also try to obtain confidential personal information to use in identity theft.
A few weeks ago I received a similar fake job offer as a text on my phone. This time the job paid $400 dollars a week for a position as Mystery Survey Shopper. All job offer scams have one thing in common: they are too good to be true. To not become a victim of fraud, make sure to:
- Never pay money in advance
- Never give your personal information
- Research the company and recruiter before you reply
- Check if the recruiter has been reported as a scam, for example at Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission
There are red flags in these emails and texts that can give away the scam:
- The salary is too high
- No specific skill is necessary for the job
- Sent from free email accounts such as Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail instead of corporate email accounts
- No a face-to-face interview is required or they ask for an online interview at Yahoo Instant Messenger
- Spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors, as most fraud is carried out by scammers outside of Canada
(read more tips here)
I am happy that I dodged the bullet this morning, but not everyone does. In 2014 a woman who had just moved to Canada from India lost $2,000 to the Mystery Shopper scam. She was looking for a job and felt desperate (read more). She is just one of the many victims. As a job seeker, keep in mind that the employer most likely will not reach out to you and always make sure to use reliable websites when searching online.
Marina Burghard writes for Canadian Fraud News about fraud-related cases, whistleblower, jurisdiction, identity theft, consumer protection, etc. – essentially about scams and how to protect yourself against this kind of fraudulent criminal behavior. She holds a Master’s degree in Political Science where her interest in criminology grew. Besides fraud, Marina’s scientific interest lies in terrorism, extremism and how to deal with it as a society.