If you’re like the ladies of All Access Blog, degree or not, finding a job right now is like looking for a needle in a haystack! There are so many job search agents like Indeed, Monster, Snag-A-Job, that you can sign up for and search jobs on the site as well as apply.
But what if, like a vast majority of the people searching those sites, you are really on there to look for legit employment but you fall victim or almost fall victim to a job scam? Job scammers are posting fake employment ads in order to scam real job seekers. I have a resume profile on Indeed.com; a resume profile is where your resume is on the job search agent’s website along with your contact information. Having a resume profile on a job search agent website, allows for employers to find your resume when they run a search and it allows for you to be able to apply directly from the job search agent’s website rather than being redirected to another site.
Two weeks ago, a Michael Brown contacted me via text, Red Flag 1, about a position that I had applied for. He stated that he was from Voith Hydropower INC (A real company, I googled it) and he wanted to know if I was still interested in the position. This whole time, not once did Mr. Brown tell me for which position I applied. I apply for jobs all the time so it is hard to keep track of exactly which jobs/companies that I apply for and to. I texted Mr. Brown back, ignoring red flag 1. I asked him which position I applied for, he said that his desk was full of other resumes and paperwork so he wasn’t really sure which position I applied for. Not knowing which position a perspective employee has applied for is Red Flag 2. Being an HR Rep for a company, it is unprofessional to contact an employment candidate about a position but then not know for which position they applied. Mr. Brown then sent me a list of positions that Voith Hydropower INC were hiring for and asked which of those positions did I have experience for. I texted back and stated that I had experience in all of the positions except for two.
Mr. Brown then texted me back and stated that right now the company’s office is under construction so all communication would be via text and instant message, Red Flag 3. Any job or company whom’s office is “under construction”, shouldn’t be looking for employees if the employees aren’t going to be able to actually come in and work. I agreed to communicate via text and instant message. At this point, I have ignored 3 red flags, can you not sense my desperation. Mr. Brown asked me if I had Yahoo! Instant Messenger or a Google Hangout ID. I told him that I didn’t know what Google Hangout ID was but that I could download Yahoo! Instant Messenger since I already had a Yahoo! account. He said okay and for me to text him once I had downloaded it to my phone. (I was downloading it to my phone since I was out and about and wouldn’t be near my computer for a while). My app store was acting really weird which I informed Mr. Brown of and he said that it was okay. He said that once I was able to download the messenger, to add James Berges (jamesbergesdpt101) to my contacts and then contact him and let him know that I was ready to start the interview process and job briefing. Some days went by (the weekend), I ended up downloading Yahoo! Instant Messenger on my PC. Mr. Berges got straight to the point once I IM’d him. He asked legit interview questions, he informed me about the position, the salary, training salary, everything! Everything started to sound so legit, I began to feel bad for the negative thoughts I had when I was conversing with Mr. Brown via text.
Mr. Berges informed me that the position would be a work-from-home Customer Service Rep position. I couldn’t be happier. My car is broke right now so a work-from-home position is perfect! It all sounded too good to be true and the pay… $24.50/hr, $17/hr for training. I would be able to move out in no time! Once I agreed to everything via Instant Message, Mr. Berges stated that he would need to show the head of the department our conversation to see if they would like to hire me. He told me to hold on. He was gone for about 10 min. He came back and informed me that the company would like to give me a shot. I couldn’t be more ecstatic. He then informed me that I would be sent a check so that I could purchase some equipment. Whoa! I thought, equipment, how does he know if I have enough room for this “equipment”? I then asked for a list of “equipment” that I would need to purchase. I didn’t want to continue and go through with everything and waste my time or Mr. Berges’ time if I wasn’t able to house the equipment. Mr. Berges then sent me a list of equipment, which turned out to be mostly software except for an all-in-one printer and fax. So I continued with the interview process. Mr. Berges stated that I was to purchase the materials from a vendor that they work with only! Red Flag 4, this could be a red flag to some and not to others due to the fact that the company could have some kind of deal with that specific vendor and the materials could be sold at a discounted price. This was a red flag for me because majority of the materials I could purchase at a local Best Buy. With that being said, Mr. Berges hadn’t told me how much the check would be for. So although I could get the software at Best Buy for let’s say under $800, I didn’t know if the check would be for more or less than that. Continuing the process, I was then told to be signed in at 8am the next morning to start training. I said okay and then logged off. I then thought to myself, wow, that was the easiest job interview and screening process I had ever been through. Not even noticing that I had ignored Red Flag 5, which was that I was just offered a Customer Service Rep position that pays $24.50/hr, via Yahoo! Messenger. Excited and not second-guessing it, I woke up the next morning 30 min early. I made some hot lemon water, washed my face, pulled the curtains back just enough to see the keyboard and grabbed a notebook and pen. I signed in to Yahoo! Messenger and once 8am hit, I IM’d Mr. Berges. He informed me, again, that I would be receiving a check via FedEx or UPS, to purchase my materials. I said okay. He then asked me my name, address, email and phone number so that the company’s secretary could add me to their system. I gave out the requested information. He then emailed me a formal offer letter of the position that I had to sign and send back to him via email. I received the letter and noticed that I had to sign it, print my name and give my DL#. Red Flag 6, why do I need to give my DL on a formal offer letter. I messaged Mr. Berges and informed him that since I had never met him, that I was skeptical about putting my DL# on the letter and that I didn’t want to put myself in a situation that I was going to be able to get out of. He said that he understood and asked me to just type my name on the letter and email it back to him so I did. That then concluded that day’s training.
The next day, feeling a bit uneasy, I still woke up and signed into Yahoo! Messenger a little early as always. I was going to IM Mr. Berges at 8am as normal but except this time he IM’d me, early, 10 min earlier than 8am. He informed me that I would receive the check today. I also forgot to mention that the day before, in the afternoon, Mr. Brown contacted me via text with the tracking number for the check that I was going to receive. Back to the morning of, Mr. Berges asked me if Mr. Brown had given me the tracking number the day before, I told him yes. He then asked me if I had tracked the check that morning yet. In my head I’m thinking…I just signed in, ready to start training and you’re asking me if I have tracked the check. Red Flag 7, the check was apparently more of a big deal to Mr. Berges than it was to me. I rolled my eyes, and then tracked the check. At that time it said that the check would get to me in about 2.5 hours. I informed Mr. Berges of this and he said okay and for me to let him know once I received the check. I said okay and then asked if that was all for now and he said yes. At this point I’m frustrated because I have been waking up every day for 3 days in a row, bright and early thinking that I was going to be training for a job that would solve my financial issues. However, I couldn’t let the situation upset me too much because we were covering the first day of the Blaze N Glory Fest this day. About 15 min later, Mr. Berges IM’d me and informed that he had tracked the check himself and that it said it would get to me in a little less than 2.5 hours and if I would be home to receive the check from Fedex. I told him yes. He said okay and for me to let him know when I received it.
I receive the check and open it, it’s for $3227.00, WTF, I though immediately. $3227.00 for just software, I don’t think so. Red Flag 8, in my head I am trying to run through the list of “equipment” which as I mentioned before was mostly software and tried to come up with prices and how all of it could equal that much. I couldn’t fathom it. I IM’d Mr. Berges and informed him that I had received the check. He asked me how much it was for, I told him, he then asked me if the check came with a letter of instructions and I told him no. He then asked me if I could deposit the check and then let him know and he would give me the instructions on what to do next. I said sure but I didn’t have any intentions of doing it right then and there because I was getting ready for the BNG Fest. He then proceeded to ask me how long would it take me to get to my bank. Red Flag 9, Mr. Berges is clearly rushing me to deposit this check. During the interview conversation we had days before, I asked Mr. Berges how long training would be each day and he informed me an hr or less. So I thought to myself, If training is supposed to be an hr or less, here it is 10:30 which is an hr and a half past when training is supposed to end. I then informed Mr. Berges that I had an event to cover today and that I didn’t know when I would be able to deposit the check and then follow his instructions. He said that was fine. He then proceeded to say that I should deposit the check through the ATM because it’s faster and that the funds would be available in less than 24hrs. The weekend is here so I start to get confused as to why it’s such a rush to deposit the check. I told him okay but that I still didn’t know when I would have time and he said okay and to just inform him once I did.
I proceeded to get ready for the Blaze N Glory Fest, at around 2pm, I checked my phone and saw that I had received an IM from Mr. Berges at 11am stating that he was going to a board meeting and that I was to have the check deposited and the deposit receipt emailed to him. Red Flag 10, I know that I have been offered the “position of a lifetime” but I do not like being told what to do and when to do if I have already explained my previously planned obligations. If it’s the weekend and I didn’t agree to “work” on the weekends, why is it such a rush to deposit the check and get my “equipment”? The day before the first day of training I told my dad about the opportunity (I tell my dad everything), extremely excited, I was going on and on and on. My dad, an honest man, quickly shot my dreams down, not in a mean way, told me that the job was a scam. Naive on the phone but in my head the wheels started turning, I asked my dad why was it a scam, he told me that I was going to be sent a check that’s supposed to be for “materials” however, once I received the check I would have to send money here and there, I would be able to keep about $500 for my “first two weeks of pay” then about 3 or 4 days later my bank would call me and tell me that the check was fake and then soon after I would have police at my door. Normally I would debate with my dad but he knew that I would receive a check and I hadn’t even told him that part. However, I wanted to ride it out and see if my dad was right. I didn’t go as far as depositing the check because I felt super uneasy when I was being rushed to deposit the check in the first place and after that day I never contacted Mr. Berges again; Mr. Brown did text me Saturday morning but I never texted back. Oh yea, in case you’re wondering how my dad knew what was going to happen, he said that the same thing happened to him where someone contacted him out of the blue and said that they saw his resume online and thought he would be a good candidate for a work-from-home job. He received a check in the mail, his came with instructions, and he was to deposit the check and then send majority of it to these different people and then keep the rest. As tempting as it was for him to cash the check, he thought to himself that $500 wasn’t worth about 7 years in prison and then fraud being on his record.
I was definitely angry! I Googled Voith Hydropower INC with the word scam after and didn’t find anything and then I Googled the email address that Mr. Berges emailed me from when he sent me the offer letter, nothing came up from that either. I began to second guess if I was being scammed or not. Then I decided to Google the phone number that Mr. Brown texted me from. Thanks to watching so much Catfish, I knew that I could Google a phone number and something could potentially come up. I copied and pasted the number in the search box and bingo! Only one thing popped up but that was all that I needed to reassure me that my dad was right and I was being scammed. Another woman had posted her encounter with Mr. Brown and Mr. Berges on a scam website although Mr. Berges went by a different name when she was in contact with him. Her story was exactly like mine except her check amount was different. However, she realized much quicker than I did that she was being scammed. Once she was informed that she would be making almost $25.00/hr being a customer service rep working from home she told Mr. Berges not to contact her anymore and to not send her the check. She said the check was sent to her anyways but that she never did anything with it.
I know this was super long and you’re probably thinking what the hell, she could have told us a long time ago that she didn’t cash the check and that it was a scam…you’re right, I could have, but then how would you know what to look for if the situation ever arose for you? You need my details in order to compare. It’s fucked up that job scammers are infecting the job pool. And they always seem to know when you are in dire need of a job which is another shitty part of it. Regardless of how much the social media world evolves, always know that if there isn’t a face to face meeting before you are offered a position it is a scam!! Any real HR rep from a company knows that it is necessary to meet perspective employees, they need to know who will be representing their company.
THE ABOVE PICS ARE FROM THE INTERVIEW AND JOB BRIEFING IM CONVO.
THE ABOVE PIC IS FROM THE IM CONVO OF TRAINING DAY 1
THE ABOVE PIC IS FROM THE IM CONVO OF TRAINING DAY 2
THE ABOVE PICS ARE PICS OF THE FORMAL OFFER LETTER.
*I DO NOT HAVE A PICTURE OF THE CHECK THAT I RECEIVED BECAUSE I FORGOT TO TAKE ONE BEFORE I DISPOSED OF IT BUT IT WAS FROM FIFTH THIRD BANK, A REAL BANK WITH LOCATIONS IN KENTUCKY, WHICH IS WHERE MY CHECK CAME FROM, MONTANA AND OHIO. THERE ISN’T A FIFTH THIRD BANK IN CALIFORNIA, WHICH IS WHERE I AM LOCATED.