I hate scammers and their scams. While this is not a topic I’ve posted about before, I want to shine some light and expose a recent scam that almost caught someone dear to me. The scammer’s info wasn’t readily searchable on Google either, so I’m making it available.
The name and email address referenced was Peggy Constantine (email was firstname.lastname@example.org). No doubt fake. Another name mentioned was Mrs Sarah J. Darren (also likely fake). The scammer posts jobs on Facebook and probably elsewhere. In this instance, it was for a Clerical Administrative Assistant / Receptionist.
Here’s the scam in a nutshell.
- Post a job that has appeal to a broad range of potential victims. In this case, a clerical or administrative assistant position.
- Ask people to email their resume and other info to the company’s contact. In this case, a Peggy Constantine.
- The scammer responds back with a canned message that uses words like “Congratulations!” and “We are very pleased with your listed qualifications” and that they “would like to conduct an online interview”, which will be done via Google Hangout.
- The applicant is told to add someone else’s name (in this case, a Mrs Sarah J. Darren) to the user’s buddy list in Google Hangout, and they are told to “be online” on a certain date for the interview. The interviewer’s screen name is email@example.com.
If this already sounds suspicious, good for you!
- Next, the scammer contacts the user via chat in Google Hangout on the date suggested. They ask some typical job interview questions to help assure the victim that this is a real job, etc., and that the user will work from home, however the company is building an office in the area where the user lives.
- After some additional back and forth, the scammer tells the victim that they are pleased with everything but that they need to go talk with their supervisor for a final review, and to hold tight while they go do so.
- After 10 minutes, they return with another round of “congratulations!” and the scammer tells the user that the job is theirs and that the hourly rate of pay is $xx/hour (an attractive amount for the job) and that it will include full time benefits that will come later on. Sounds great, right? Now comes the sneaky part.
- The user is told that the company will be sending a brand new Apple computer along with “High Speed Internet”, and that the user will need some special Microsoft software (huh?). Already, this sounds odd, right? How can you ship some “high speed internet” to someone, and why would you use Microsoft software on a Mac?
- But here’s the kicker. The company will be mailing a check that the user is to deposit to cover various expenses, and the user should immediately go buy the special software with their own funds as soon as the check arrives. (Of course, the scammer doesn’t put it in those exact words but that’s the gist).
This is a classic fake check scam. The check won’t be any good but it typically takes 3+ days before you discover it was a bad check. In the mean time, the scammer will nag and harass you to go buy pre-paid debit cards or to click some link to buy something using your real credit/debit card accounts, or they’ll ask you to buy some other valuable thing that they’ll then ask you to send to someone.
Luckily, the person involved here immediately realized it was a scam and told the scammer, “I’ll have to wait for your check to clear before taking any next steps”, which of course the scammer quickly revolted against and tried to coerce their potential victim to not delay or wait.
Scam now confirmed.
Typically, these scammers operate oversees (outside of the U.S.) so investigation and prosecution is usually impossible. So it’s best to remain skeptical. Let’s continue to expose the light of day on these crooks.