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Friday, February 6th, 2015 10:20 am
So, since I posted my original scam post about RLB solution, I've been getting a lot of responses from people who have also been contacted by this company. Most are saying "thanks for the warning", which is nice, because I'm glad I've been able to help people avoid being hit by this scam. A few have been along the lines of "oh god, I said yes to the job, and now what do I do?"

Tackling this last first: what to do if you've said "yes" to the job offer by RLB Solution, and have just realised what a mistake that might have been.

1) If you're in Australia, get in touch with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). They're the ones who are responsible for penalising scammers, as well as the main regulatory body in this area.
2) Contact your bank and get them to "hold" any transactions coming in to or out of your account from RLB Solution.
3) If you have had money go missing from your account, you should go to the police. Take with you as much documentary evidence as you can about the company (print out emails, preferably with full headers; take screenshots of web pages you're asked to use; write out as much as you can about what the company expected you to do, and when things happened). The more information you can provide, the better.
4) Whatever you do, don't continue working for them!

Next up, I've had a couple of people forward me the text of the latest email they're sending around, so I'm going to be pulling that to pieces and pointing out what's fishy about it:

RLB Solution Company is pleased to offer you a job as a Part-Time Administrative Assistant. We trust that your knowledge and skills will be among our most valuable assets.

Should you accept this job offer, per company policy you'll be eligible to receive the following beginning on your hire date.
• Salary: Annual gross starting salary of $19,200, will be paid every 3 weeks by your choice of check or direct deposit

Okay, $19,200 per annum means you're going to have to be paying income tax here in Australia (our tax free threshold is currently $18,600). So if they're legit, they're going to want you to fill in a taxation declaration form, which means they're going to need to supply an ABN, and they're going to need your Tax File Number). Also, a three week pay cycle is a bit unusual - most businesses tend to pay either fortnightly, monthly, or every four weeks.

Oh, and that $19,200? Is equivalent to 28 and a bit (28.66, if you want it to two decimal places) 40 hour weeks at minimum wage ($16.75 per hour) here in Australia. If they're offering more than 22 hours of work per week - or more than 4 hours, 24 minutes per weekday - they're under-paying you.

• Performance Bonuses: Up to three percent of your annual gross salary, paid quarterly by your choice of check or direct deposit

So starting from a gross salary of $19200, your maximum "performance bonus" would be a maximum of $576 per annum, or $144 per three months.

Benefits: Standard, RLB-provided benefits for salaried-exempt employees, including the following:

• Education assistance
• Best Curators
• International travel opportunity
• Management Training Program
• Health, dental, life and disability insurance
• Profit sharing
• Sick leave
• Vacation and personal days

Okay, this is where it really starts stinking of "scam" - and a scam which assumes the USA is the world. The list of "benefits" above is VERY US-centric.

Let's start with the health, dental, life and disability insurance bit. In Australia, it is not a requirement of doing business that a company pays for the medical insurance of its employees - we still have Medicare to cover that (despite the efforts of the current Federal government), so it isn't a requirement for employers to provide it. The only employers in Australia who are likely to be providing medical insurance to their employees as a perk or benefit are employers who are actually trading in the medical insurance sector (where it's going to be a discounted rate on the company's own scheme).

Next up, the bits about "sick leave, vacation and personal days". This is definitely a US-centric thing - in an Australian context, it's the equivalent of a car salesman telling you "this car comes with all four wheels included in the price, and we're throwing in the tyres for free!". This is because Australian industrial relations law specifies sick leave, holidays, and other leave as a matter of course as part of all awards and all workplace agreements.

(Also, as mentioned above, given they're only paying you for a maximum of 28.66 weeks of full-time work at minimum wage rates, you'd be expecting at least some holiday time thrown in there... such as the other 23 weeks of the year for starters!)

Finally, with regards to the education assistance, they may actually be throwing in a touch of honesty there - you're getting a first-class education in what a scam looks like!

To accept this job offer:
1. Carefully read Document Attached to this E-mail.
2. Sign and date the enclosed Confidentiality Agreement where indicated.
3. Send signed and dated scanned document listed above back to us by E-mail within 2 days (including weekends).

To decline this job offer:
1. Sign and date this job offer letter where indicated below.
2. Write short explanation of your decision to refuse this job offer.
3. Send all required information listed above within 2 days (including weekends)

Ah, I see what they're trying there - they want to get you coming and going. My guess is they're doing an identity theft business on the side. Don't worry - in order to turn down their oh-so-generous "offer", you don't have to fill in any paperwork - all you have to do is dump their email in the trash!

In addition, the "time constraint" there is purely artificial - they want to try and hook people in by giving them the impression the job will go away if they take longer than two days to get back to them (and they want to make sure people don't have time to do things like ask friends, spouses, advisors, lawyers, or anyone else whether this might be a good idea or not).

If you accept this job offer, your hire date will be on the day that you sign our Employment Contract. Plan to work for the remainder of the business day after. Please read the enclosed new-hire package for complete, new-hire instructions and more information about the benefits that RLB Solution offers.

In accepting our offer of employment, you certify your understanding that your employment will be on an at-will basis, and that neither you nor any Company representative have entered into a contract regarding the terms or the duration of your employment. As an at-will employee, you will be free to terminate your employment with the Company at any time, with or without cause or advance notice. Likewise, the Company will have the right to reassign you, to change your compensation, or to terminate your employment at any time, with or without cause or advance notice.

Again, this is full of US-centric copy. Employment on an "at-will basis" is a legal term of art in the USA - living in a state where there is "at will" employment there basically means you're not covered by unfair dismissal laws, or by minimum wage statutes, because the conceit at the heart of "at will" employment is that an employee has as much power over the employment contract as the employer does (because you're entering into the contract of your own free will, and they can't physically force you to sign anything). It isn't a valid form of employment here in Australia - the nearest equivalent we have is casual employment, and even there, employers are required to give a reason for sacking you.

(Advanced students will also note the whole concept of "at will" employment is inconsistent with their insistence two paragraphs earlier that you provide them with a reason for turning down their offer of employment!).

The second bolded piece in that paragraph should put fear and trembling into the heart of any potential employee, because essentially they're saying "we reserve the right to stop paying you for your work at no notice whatsoever, or to sack you with no notice or excuse" (that's what "change your compensation" and "terminate your employment" mean, stripped down to their basics). I haven't checked, but I suspect this phrasing is actually illegal under Australian employment law - even if it isn't, it's essentially notice they're going to try sharp dealing with you - and if you don't pick it up, you're fair game.

(I find myself wondering how they'd do faced up against a member of the relevant union who pulled in a union representative when faced with such things.)

We at RLB Solutions hope that you'll accept this job offer and look forward to welcoming you aboard. Your immediate supervisor will be Anna Stern, International Department Manager. Feel free to contact Anna if you have questions or concerns.

Anna Stern
Hiring Coordinator, Human Resources

Now, either this company has two different Anna Sterns, each of whom, just by chance, wears a different managerial hat, or it's a very small business, where one person is performing multiple jobs - and it's the sort of small business where the jobs are given grandiose titles in order to act as sort of ego-boost, or a way of concealing how small the business is. I'd be more likely to go for the latter, since it's more statistically likely.

What's really telling about this is that nowhere in the letter, and nowhere on the website, do we get told what RLB Solution actually does. Do they make things? Do they sell things? Do they offer a particular service (and if so, which service is it)? We don't know.

One final note: I am not affiliated with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the trade union movement in Australia, the Australian Federal police, the police force in any state in Australia or any other body with the formal ability to do anything about this situation. I am also not an employment lawyer, and any statements I make regarding the applicability of various laws is purely hearsay. I am a person who primarily works as a housewife at present, is without paid employment, and who put the original warning up as a public service because I was annoyed at the scammers for targeting me. So while it's sort of nice that people want to ask me for help in this matter, I have to point out: I've already done everything I can in this case by putting up the information in the first place.