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megpie71

September 2017

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megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
Thursday, December 8th, 2016 07:54 am
Another one of these landing in my inbox. This time it was for the address I actually use for job search, so it took me a while to figure out this was an actual scam. Here's the details.

To: [my jobsearch address]
Subject: For $MY_FIRST_NAME
From: Hr Dep [u3011801]

(Note the lack of an email address one can reply to there. First hint of something being up)

Email body below the fold )

Okay, so how did I guess this was a scam?

1) The compensation is far too high for the work they're asking. $7500 per month (assuming a 4 week month, each week consisting of 5 x 6 hour days) comes to $62.50 per hour. Which is high professional wages, and not the sort of money I'd be expecting. Then there's potentially commission on top of that... yeah. Right.

From (the front page of) their website, this is the position they're offering:

Description below the fold )

So, they're looking for someone who's graduated high school, with no other skills or experience, and they're willing to pay over $60 per hour for someone to phone clients and try to sell their "product" (such as it is) to them. Yeeeah. Plus, of course, the "benefits" of "paid holidays, vacation/personal days" to an Australian who has been part of the workforce previously sounds a bit like advertising that a car "also comes with tyres on all the wheels!". (Paid public holidays and vacation are part of the standard Australian working environment. If an employer isn't offering you these for full time work, you need to be talking to the Fair Work people).

2) It's very difficult to tell, from their website, what this company actually does (or indeed, if they do anything other than attempt to separate fools from their money).

There's a lot of talk about start-ups, and the start-up sector, and leveraging the power of start-ups, but very little actual discussion of what it is they're attempting to do. Are they selling your business to start-up companies as a client? (They might be). Are they selling your business to start-up companies as a service provider? (It's possible). The way things are phrased means this website appears to be attempting to be all things to all people, and as a result it's even vaguer than the average political platform. Their "method", for example, appears to involve basically throwing buzzwords at the topic until either a solution is obtained, or more likely until someone gives them money to go away. The copy implies they have links with everyone and everything, and are able to act as facilitators.

Their "in the press" section appears to link to three separate articles, none of which appear to have any immediate relevance to this particular business. Then again, none of the "links" actually work, which means you can't check.

They don't appear to have an Australian presence - there's an office listed in the UK:

TREVIOT HOUSE 186-192 HIGH ROAD
ILFORD, ESSEX IG1 1LR

(A quick perusal of Google maps implies yes, there is actually an office at this address, but it's the office of an accounting firm with a completely different name).

There are phone numbers given for the UK (UK: +44 203 868 1873), USA (US: +1 (646) 880 3616) and either Canada or California (CA: +1 (647) 247 0825), but nothing for Australia.

On top of this, they don't appear to have much of a history on google, either. Googling the company name just gets the standard business filings (as in, the registration information for the company), but nothing else. For a company which is supposed to be making a name for themselves (and a quick bit of googling points out their domain has been active for at least 160 days - so at least five months) this isn't particularly good news.

3) The final scam marker: I never applied for the job they're offering me in the first place. The email is written in such a way as to imply they received my details in response to a job application, but I keep a record of the jobs I apply for. I haven't applied for a position as an Investment Assistant/Advisor at any time in the last three months (or indeed, at any stage this year).

If you're receiving job offers from this mob, be aware they're probably scammers - which means if you do the work, they're probably not going to pay you. They certainly read as being dodgy as a three-dollar bill.
megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016 03:37 pm
From: Eliza Wilson (acct@evergoldcorpltd.com)
Subject: [Bulk] We are looking for [my email address here]
Reply-To: [none listed]
Addressed to Me: yes

scam body under fold )

Okay, as per usual the standard "job" scam flags are flying with this one - contacting me out of the blue in a declining economy, promising large sums of money for very little work.

Googling "the Brit Method" comes up with a whole page basically saying it's a stock market scam. I'm not going to be duplicating someone else's efforts here, but be aware, anything which is selling itself as a "method" for playing the stock market is about as reliable as any other "method" for making heaps of money by gambling (horses, poker, casinos, you name it - the stock market is just another gambling venue). That is to say, the most reliable way to make money from such things is to be the person selling the "method" to gullible suckers.

If you've received one of these, just delete it. Don't click on the links, and don't believe the promises of lots of money. The only people making money out of this scheme are the people selling it.
megpie71: Photo of sign reading "Those who throw objects at the crocodiles will be asked to retrieve them." (Crocodiles)
Sunday, March 20th, 2016 08:35 am
From: Samuel@zxinfra.org (Samuel Adams)
Subject: [Bulk] This will BLOW YOUR MIND
Reply-To: mailer@zxinfra.org
Addressed to me: Yes.

Message body below fold )

Okay, to start with this snaps out the big scam flag of "trying to hook me through greed". $4115.75 per day is over $514 per hour (which is a ridiculous hourly rate for ANYTHING) or over $20,000 per week, and it sounds frankly unrealistic no matter which way you try to slice it. For zero experience or expertise? Nope, that definitely reads like someone is trying to trick me.

So I went digging around on the web. All the links in the original (which I haven't reproduced here) lead to a domain called zxinfra.org - and strangely enough, there's not much information around about them. They've only been registered since 01 FEB 2016, and are apparently hosted in Pasadena, California (the address in New York state is for the company they got their mailing list from - NationWideMediaInteractive.com). What little information I can find points possibly to them being about distributing malware, and/or phishing.

Have to admit, it doesn't tempt me to click on those links. If you get one of these (or anything else from zxinfra.org) I'd suggest dropping it straight into the bit-bucket.
megpie71: Simplified bishie Rufus Shinra glares and says "The Look says it all" (glare)
Saturday, January 16th, 2016 11:18 am
The fake job scammers are at it again. This time, they're sending stuff out under my email address! How do I know this? Well, I woke up this morning to discover I had an inbox full of delivery failure notices.

So here's the ad body:

scam body )

The bits in square brackets are where the script which sends these things out picks from a list of options to "personalise" the emails. Essentially, one of those options is chosen for each version of the mail at random (where there's only one option, the text itself is optional), in order to bypass spam filters on the servers they're hijacking to get their "message" out (the spam filters are looking for large amounts of similar text; the programs which generate these emails are evolving in lock-step with the filtering programs. If you're ever looking for a good locus for emergent AI, consider the possibilities of email filtering and spam blocking software, and the stuff designed to get around it!).

Now, the email address to check for "more details" varies with each of the letters - here's a list of the selection I have, if you're wanting to know what to beware of:

List below fold )

The Subject lines also vary. Again, here are the ones I have available from the sample of delivery failure notices.

List below fold )

(Incidentally - this is why keeping track of the subject lines and body text of these emails is a bit of a waste of time. The body text is boilerplate, the subject line is randomised.)

On to the scam flags flying:

1) They're offering too much. For full-time work, they're offering "up to" $5900AUD per month, which is $295 per day, or $36.88 per hour, plus bonuses, for largely unskilled admin work. Note the "up to" there - that's the theoretical maximum you could earn in a month. The actual amount you'll be paid is probably much lower, if, indeed,you're likely to be paid at all, rather than having your accounts hoovered out.

2) A lot of the details essential to a standard job ad are missing or skimped. There's no mention of who the company is in quite a lot of the ads (because it doesn't exist), there's no listing of what kinds of skills and experience they're looking for (because the main skill or quality they're after is gullibility). The contact address is a hotmail throw-away account with no reference to the name of the company either (which is a rather severe mismatch to the story of a company which is big enough to be trading with clients in the USA, Europe and Asia, especially given the comparatively low cost of domain names and domain hosting).

3) The economy world-wide is largely contracting. You can hear the economic gloom and doom forecasts any time you turn on the TV or radio, or any time you look at a news article online or in a newspaper. In that kind of economic environment, employment becomes harder to get - there is a surplus of people looking for work, and a deficit of available employment for them to participate in. In such an economy, there is no need for a legitimate employer to reach out to random people on the internet if they're seeking employees. Indeed, most job ads I'm looking at these days say they're only going to be contacting the successful candidates for interviews, due to the sheer volume of replies.

4) Googling "LKT Company" brings up at least two scam warnings already. This is always something of a hint. About the only difference between the current "jobs" being offered and the previous scam is that the amount of money has been increased by $100AUD on each level.

5) They hijacked my flippin' email account to send these things out! (I grant you, that one's a bit of a personal thing). Needless to say I've altered my password. But if you EVER receive a job offer purporting to be sent from megpie71 at yahoo dot com dot ay you, it's guaranteed to be a scam. I don't do HR, and if I did do HR, I would be sending things out under a corporate email address, not from my private email.

There isn't a job open, the money doesn't exist, and if they had anything decent to offer they wouldn't need to be hijacking other people's email addresses in order to pass the message on.
megpie71: Simplified bishie Rufus Shinra glares and says "The Look says it all" (glare)
Saturday, January 9th, 2016 09:08 am
This one comes via a slightly unusual route, since I actually applied for the thing directly! Here's the basics: the scammer behind this particular mess decided to take out a total of six ads on the Australian Job Search site (jobsearch.gov.au) - six identical ads, each with the following text:

Ad copy below the fold )

That was the entire ad. They were "offering" a total of 24 21 positions as "Accounts Assistant" - 3 each in Helena Valley, East Perth, Rockingham, Bedfordale, Cottesloe, Madora Bay and Mosman Park (an unusual spread of suburbs - see the digression below). Now, the combination of six identical ads each offering three positions with a completely vague description of what the position entailed, and absolutely no description of what skills you'd actually need to be doing the job triggered my "scam" flags even then, but hey, I had to apply for two jobs that day due to government requirements (it was the week between Christmas and New Year - as you might imagine, the job ads were a little thin on the ground) so I decided to send my resume in.

Perth-specific digression )

Yesterday, an email arrived at my job search address, with the following text:

Email text below fold )

Now, the thing which stuck out for me about all of this is that so far, nowhere along the way have they actually mentioned anything about what the job would entail, or what kind of skills you'd require in order to be able to perform it - this is a regular trait of job scams. I decided to do two things - the first was actually look up Moton Group on google, and the second was to look at their job description.

The google search started the scam radar pinging good and hard, because all the listings for Moton Group are in the USA (Colorado and New Jersey being the two locations which showed up on the first page of results), with nothing showing up in Australia. So I took a look at the job description. And immediately started singing "scam, scam, scammity, scam", because here it is in all its glory:

Job description )

So, we have all the classic scam flags flying in this "job description":

1) They're paying too much for what they're asking for. $40 per hour is very good money. It's very good money for a fully-fledged accountant or business professional. For someone who's supposed to be an Accounts Assistant, dealing with the bookkeeping paperwork (as per the original job ad)? It's almost double the accepted hourly rate for an experienced, qualified bookkeeper - which, you'll note, they're not asking for. For someone whose only qualification for the job is completing high school? It's about double the maximum hourly rate you'd expect.
2) Gratuitous errors in grammar and sentence construction. The job description reads as though it were written by someone who has English as about their third language, and neither of the other two were from the same families. It's sloppy and poorly done - and to a large degree this is deliberate. It's intended to make the reader feel they're pulling one over the scammer, make them feel superior, and make them lower their guard.
3) It doesn't describe the duties or the job skills required. If you've read a job ad recently (and I've read a lot of them) you'll find most of them list fairly specific duties (preparing BAS, drawing up invoices and receipts, reception duties, operating switchboard, etc) and they will almost certainly be asking for specific abilities, qualities, skills and qualifications. By contrast, the job details in this "job description" are vaguer than a lot of political promises.

There's also the "Why do we need Accounts Assistants" and "Why do we not us[sic] a direct account?" sections, which are pretty much direct quotes of other versions of this particular scam I've seen elsewhere. If nothing else, those sections of the job description would have set my scam alarms blasting. If an employer is offering a genuine job, they won't feel the need to justify it, or explain why they're doing things in a particular way. I suspect if I decided to chase up on this job further, I'd find myself being asked to "process" payments via my bank account. Or in other words "open your wallet and repeat after me: 'help yourself'", in a less straightforward format. I think not.

Improper use of Australian Coat of Arms )

Further dodginess )

All in all, if you're looking at an "offer" of a "job" from Moton Group, I'd decline. The only job they're offering in all seriousness is "sucker". (It goes without saying that I'm not going to be filling in their application form myself).

EDITED 10 JAN - Correcting the number of positions offered. Seven times three is 21.
megpie71: AC Reno crouched over on the pavement, looking pained (bad day at work)
Friday, October 9th, 2015 07:30 am
Apparently-From: Alex Brook (stripe@alexandra-krumm-beratung.de)
Subject Line: [Bulk] Personal Assistant Needed (part time job)
Reply-to: alex.brook2@aol.com
Addressed to me: No

Scam body under fold )

This is a scam.

Firstly: "Brook Construction Company" doesn't appear to exist - there's quite a few entries in Google for "Brooks Construction Company" in the USA (all in Indiana, according to the map on Google), and one entry for Brook Construction (no "company") in Canada (Newfoundland and Labrador regions).

Secondly: The role of PA is not usually a "work from home" role - or at least, not "work from your own home". "Work from the boss's home", yeah, sure I can see that happening, but it's more likely to be an in-office role. Which means even if this were legit, and even if this were a genuine offer, you'd need to know where the company is based in order to take on the job. (At the very least, you'd need to know the time zone the company is based in - if this were genuinely a US company, as someone in zone GMT+8, I'd need to be working some very unusual hours indeed in order to hold down the job).

Thirdly: If this were a legitimate job offer, it would be on a legitimate job search website. It would not be sent out as a bulk email to random people on a spam mailing list. As always, in situations where economies have contracted and unemployment is high, the power is on the side of the employer - candidates go looking for them, they don't come looking for you unless you have some VERY specialised skill sets, or unless they know you personally and are aware you'd be a good fit.

Legitimate offers of employment generally come from people who have interviewed you - legitimate employers want to make sure you'd be a good fit in their corporate culture, and for a job such as Personal Assistant, there's the need to ensure you're not going to be a poor fit with that particular boss, too.

Fourthly: For a job opportunity, there's remarkably little information about what you're going to be required to do, and how many hours a week you're going to be required to do it. The weekly salary of $350 translates to $8.75 per hour for a standard 40 hour work week (which is, I think, slightly above US minimum wage, but well below the minimum wage here in Australia). So you'd need to know how many hours per week you're expected to work for that $350.

They also don't ask for any skills, and don't ask you to send in a resume. Why, it's almost as though they aren't interested in your skills at all. Which means there must be something else they're after.

Finally: The email addresses don't match up to the offer. The email address this is apparently from is the domain for a psychologist in Germany (and I suspect she's more than a little annoyed about having her email hijacked by spammers). The reply-to address is an AOL throw-away address. If you're dealing with a company large enough for the CEO to need a personal assistant (and let's be honest - the CEO's personal assistant would be a full-time role, not a part-time one) then you'd also expect to be dealing with a company large enough to handle having its own web presence, internal email, and domain.

Don't respond, don't apply, and don't expect to be seeing that $350 per week, either.

(I find with these sorts of things it helps to think of any monetary amounts as the scammer's minimum goal).
megpie71: Simplified bishie Rufus Shinra glares and says "The Look says it all" (glare)
Wednesday, August 12th, 2015 08:28 am
Okay, this is a scam along the same lines as good old Global Area Gargo. It comes in a couple of different variants, so I've included both the ones I've received here.

Scam body 1 under fold )

Scam body 2 under fold )

Copy 1 -
Apparently from: Lionel Davidson (beauty_stupid_asuka@ybb.ne.jp)
Subject: [Bulk] Job offer - (99939366930)
Reply-To: Lionel Davidson (koritovborys@gmail.com)
Addressed to me: No

Copy 2 -
Apparently from: Driscoll Hammond (cveti72@m-real.net)
Subject: Current Open Position - (89469503769)
Reply-To: Driscoll Hammond (muloyanvlad@gmail.com)
Addressed to me: No (but addressed to the same address as copy 3)

Copy 3 -
Apparently from: Autumn Price (ngxhf205@ybb.ne.jp)
Subject: [Bulk] Fresh job / (083201609023)
Reply-To: Autumn Price (burodevtaras@gmail.com)
Addressed to me: No (but addressed to the same address as copy 2)

So, what are the scam flags?

1) Contact out of the blue with what looks to be a job ad. As always, remember in an economy where the rate of unemployment is higher than 0%, an employer doesn't have to go looking for new staff in this manner. Posting an ad on a job board will usually net them more than enough candidates to be going on with. Here in Australia, the unemployment rate is up over 6%, and has been for most of the past three years.

2) Getting three of these in the one batch of email is a pretty big hint there's something up - someone wants a bite, and they're willing to try and stun people into submission in order to get it.

3) For a job ad, these are somewhat lacking in details - no list of what they're looking for, no list of duties, no details about the rate of pay they're offering, no information about anything.

4) A quick google search indicates the company apparently doesn't exist. There's a "Loyal cargo & Export" based in South Africa, but "Loyal Partner Cargo Service" doesn't show up anywhere.

5) Gmail throwaway reply-to addresses are always a big hint. Registering a company domain doesn't cost much; neither does getting it hosted somewhere. It looks a lot more professional than a throw-away gmail address.

As always - don't respond, and if you must, don't send them any money.
megpie71: Simplified bishie Rufus Shinra glares and says "The Look says it all" (glare)
Friday, July 24th, 2015 09:52 am
Apparently-From: Secret Shopper[unknown unicode character] (spamfilter@weather3000.com)
Subject: [Bulk] **JOB APPLICATION: BECOME A MYSTERY SHOPPER®2015**
Reply-to: tyliebmann@gmail.com
Addressed To: [blank]

Scam body below )

This one actually overlaps both categories of scam I've been alerting people about - it's a bogus "employment" offer, and a cover for an attempt at advance fee fraud. So, time to see which scam flags it's flying.

1) Contact offering unskilled "employment" out of nowhere, completely unsolicited. As I've said repeatedly in the employment scam posts in the past, in a declining economy (which is what most Western countries are experiencing at present) where unemployment is high, employers do not have to solicit candidates for unskilled roles - they're more likely to be turning them away in droves. Therefore anyone offering you one of those out of the blue in these circumstances is, at the very least, highly dodgy.

2) Offer of an immediate start with no interview. Most legitimate employers will at least want to meet up with you in person before they offer you the contract, because they're looking to keep you on for at least the short term, and they need you to be able to work with the rest of their team.

3) Apparently corporate personage emailing you with a gmail throw-away reply-to address. This is dodgy as well - if this person is working for a company, why aren't they emailing us from their corporate address and getting us to send our replies to that corporate address? The address at weather3000.com is owned by the Aerospace & Marine International Corporation, based in California, which you'll note isn't mentioned anywhere in the text of the email. Either they've hijacked the email server to send from, or we're looking at someone trying to set up a scam using their employer's resources... no matter which way you slice it, this doesn't send positive messages about their trustworthiness.

4) Googling the search string "MH Recruitment secret shopper" gives you a page of warnings about this being a scam. This is usually a pretty big hint.

As always, best policy is to delete these without replying to them.
megpie71: 9th Doctor resting head against TARDIS with repeated *thunk* text (Head!Tardis)
Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 06:48 am
New one from the email box, fresh this morning.

Apparently-From: Huamao (huamaocorpo@gmail.com)
Subject: [Bulk] Get Back To Me ASAP
Reply-To: huamaocorps@gmail.com

Sir/Madam,


I am Mr. Chung Botero, Chief Operating Officer and President of Sales & Marketing.
Huamao Corporation which was founded in 1981.

Huamao Corporation is one of China's largest enterprise groups of consumer
electronics on global scale, with major consumer products including Color TV, mobile
Phone, Air Conditioners, Refrigerators, Washing Machines, Small Appliances. Currently,

HUAMAO CORPORATION has five industry groups of Huamao Corporation
Multimedia, Communications, CSOT, Huamao Corporation Home Appliance and
Tonly Electronics, as well as System Technology Business Division, Techne Group,
Emerging Business Group, Investment Group, Highly Information Industry.

This Company is seeking for the services of an Experienced person for position of
a Payment Collectors/International company representative in U.S.A and CANADA.

If you are interested for this position please contact the company Chief Operating Officer.
We await your response.

Regards,
Mr. Chung Botero
Chief Operating Officer
Email: huamaocorps@gmail.com
Huamao Corporation
Address:22/F,TCL Technology Building,
17 Huifeng 3rd Road,
Zhongkai Hi-tech Development District,
Huizhou,Guangdong,516006P.R.China P.C.:516001
http://www.huamao.com.cn/


So, scam flags flying here:

1) Unsolicited offer of work - as I've stated repeatedly before, in declining economies (which label fits the majority of Western economies right now) an employer will not need to solicit random strangers on the internet to find employees. Posting an ad on a job board will get you candidates galore.

2) They're looking for people in the USA and Canada - so why have they sent one to me in Australia? (It can't be because they don't know I'm in Australia - my email address is in a .com.au domain).

3) Googling "Huamao Corporation" brings up a lot of listings for "Huamao Group", but the only reference to "Huamao Corporation" on the first page is "JOB OFFER - 419 SCAM". So not only have they done this before, they've been spotted before. Looking at the linked page, it appears whoever is running this scam is using the same text as previously, but a different email address.

(A 419 scam is "advanced fee fraud" - the sort of scam where the scammer promises you a huge reward, but you have to send them some money first, to cover administrative costs, you understand... you'll get the money tomorrow, really. But tomorrow, there's more admin costs to be covered, and you'll need to send them more cash to cover those in order to get your big payout, and so on and so on.)

4) The email address the letter is apparently sent from is different to the email address you reply to - but the difference is very subtle (one letter difference). Both email addresses are free email accounts through gmail.com, which is NOT how major corporations do things - a corporation buys a domain, sets up a mail server and sends things from their own email domain.

5) No details of the job itself - it's all about the company. They don't let you know what skills they want, or how much they're going to be paying, or even which currency you're going to be paid in.

As always, the drill is: don't reply, don't give them any information, and don't, whatever you do, take the offer seriously.
megpie71: AC Reno holding bomb, looking away from camera (about that raise)
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015 06:46 am
Apparently-From: Kieran Sanchez (ni@jytaijin.com)
Subject: [Bulk] Employment opportunity : (0985546390441)
Reply-To: Kieran Sanchez (Kuksenko.Evgeniya@gmail.com)

Our company is glad to propose you to taking the office of a customer care manager. Please keep in mind, this is a beginner level office.

Job functions:

Supplying cellular service providers with a new commercial platform by our corporation.
User support and consultation.
Processing requests attributed to our platform icommerce.
Primary aid to our consumers in terms of working within the system.

We provide practice and a trial period.
Applicants are not needed bear peculiar experience with the system iCommerce or analogical systems.

Qualification and proficiency:
- Amenity and the ability of communicating with people
- Carefulness to details
- Skills in writing and editing of corporate-type texts due skills is a pro
- Time-management ability
- Flexibility, sufferance, sobriety

Paying conditions:
A monthly salary of 4000AUD for general working day or up to 2500AUD for part-time employment.

Practice period is remunerated.

It takes three weeks. You will get 400AUD a week.

During the process of instructions, you will familiarize with all operating stage regarding Icommerce platform. In the future, that will provide you the opportunity to orientate yourself and respond to all client matters easily .

If you are interested, we are eager to deliver you some additional information.

If we deem you an appropriate job applicant, we will contact you in the short term.

---
Это сообщение проверено на вирусы антивирусом Avast.
http://www.avast.com


So, scam flags flying:

1) Job "opportunity" sent at random to someone who isn't actually looking for work (I haven't been actively looking for work for about eight to ten months now). In a contracting job market (which we have at the moment - there are more unemployed people than there are jobs to go to) a legitimate employer doesn't need to be sending out recruiting letters at random.

2) Paying too much for the (poorly-described) work they're asking you to do. The wage they're offering is approximately $25 per hour ($4000 per month, divided by four weeks, divided by forty hours per week), and the work they appear to be offering is mostly either low-level stuff you'd expect to be paying minimum wage for, or the kind of thing you'd be expecting to employ much more qualified support staff for.

3) No mention of the company name (the mention of "avast" at the bottom is purely saying the Avast anti-virus program was used to scan it for viruses) or indeed of any company information at all.

4) "From" and "Reply-To" addresses are different domains, and appear to be different people (the "From" address is for a machinery company in China; the Reply-to is a gmail throwaway with an Eastern-European sounding name; neither of these match the name given for the person sending the emails).

5) Marked "[Bulk]" by Yahoo's email systems as it went through, so even though the email is apparently addressed to me, I'm betting they're actually sending the email to a large list of people.

6) Whoever wrote the body text speaks English as probably about a second language at best, possibly third or fourth. The grammar isn't appropriate, the word usage is clumsy, and there are a number of rather obvious mistakes in both.

If you've received one of these, the normal drill applies. Don't reply, don't send them anything, and don't take the job. If I receive more of them, I'll put the Apparently-From, Subject Line, and Reply-To addresses in comments below. If anyone reading this has received one and wants to add to the list, feel free.
megpie71: AC Reno holding bomb, looking away from camera (about that raise)
Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 08:09 am
Have another employment offer scammer. Just arrived a few minutes ago (and apparently arrived at 9.27am today, which is intriguing, since it's only 8.07am on the clock... I love getting mail from the future).

From: yiyingyan62@163.com (apparent name: Brennan Dean)
Reply-To: hr_manager_1@mail.com (note the throwaway email address, very professional!)
Subject: [Bulk] Employment opportunity

Good day
Please read my proposal till the end.
I'm glad offer to you the Logistics Manager position.

Logistic manager is the first point of contact for external customers and suppliers for any queries regarding sales orders and deliveries whilst taking responsibility for the validation of invoices from distribution companies.
Company offers a trial employment agreement. The employee's wage shall be 100-300USD for each task. The training principle and schedule are free and organized for you without current job. According to the results of the trial period Company invites you to the interview and offers contract. The previous job experience at events industry is not required. This is a home based position during term.
Reply me via email to request more information.


Okay, so which scam flags is this flying?:

1) Contacted me out of nowhere to alert me of this "offer", even though I'm not actively looking for work at present. (I also don't have any recognisable skill in logistics - but see 3).
2) Throwaway email address in Reply-To field, which is different to the email address in the From field.
3) Not sent to my email address (and the "[Bulk]" marker is confirmation from yahoo that it's spam) - the email it is apparently to begins with the same first four letters as my own, so I'm suspecting alphabet attack on a number of domains.
4) Wage isn't in the currency I use (I'm in Australia; while being paid in US dollars would be nice, it would also entail fees from my bank).
5) Wage is entirely too high for the job description (and the job description is extremely vague - what am I supposed to be doing again?
6) What's the company name again? Doesn't appear to be mentioned. It appears to be within the "events industry", but that tells me less than nothing.
7) They're offering you a "trial employment agreement" and then a job interview and full employment based on the results of that trial... but you really do need to contact this person for more information so they can find out whether they have the right fish on the line.

As always, don't reply, don't send them anything with your personal details, and don't take the job.

Update 21 MAY 2015

New copy of the same email with one minor variation - new first line: I'm a HR manager of Food and Bakery Sales Company.

From: mil@productosmondino.com (Curran Grimes)
Reply-To: hrempl2@gmail.com (Curran Grimes) - still a throwaway email address, how professional!
Subject: [Bulk] Position available

Still an alphabet attack (not sent to my email address specifically) and still a scam.

If I get any more of these in the next few days, I'll update further.

Update 23 MAY 2015

Two of them in the mail today. These were both directly addressed to me, but still marked as [Bulk], so presumably they're still doing alphabet attacks.

Number One - Subject line: [Bulk] Fresh job
Apparently-from: Reuben Walters (david@throughalens.com)
Reply-To: Reuben Walters (hrempl2@gmail.com)

First few lines: Good day
I'm a HR manager of Food and Bakery Sales Company.
It's official career opportunity from Machinery sales company � Logistics Manager.


Number Two - Subject Line: [Bulk] Job offer
Apparently-From: Andrew Michael (syditup@hntele.com)
Reply-To: Andrew Michael (hrempl2@gmail.com) (Note same throwaway reply-to email as the previous one. Someone really wants a bite from this one).

First few lines: Good day
I'm a HR manager of Food and Bakery Sales Company.
it's official offer to Logistics Manager position.


Any further copies of this, I'll put new addresses and such into replies to this entry.
megpie71: 9th Doctor resting head against TARDIS with repeated *thunk* text (thunk)
Sunday, May 17th, 2015 06:21 am
This mob aren't even trying to fool people. They're after outright suckers.

"Good day. It is currency exchange company. We bought your email at Internet service. We are sorry for unexpected message but we urgently need the wage-earners. The duty of wage-earners is accept cash or noncash money from our company and deliver them to customers. If you want to try in this job, write us please - Your age
- City where you live
With these information we will decide, if you match for our company or not. If you are interested, write us please. We are sorry if we've disturbed you in vain
Sincerely,
Currency exchange company"


Yeah, that's the whole email.

No details about the company, contacting me out of the blue to offer me an "opportunity" (the only opportunity they're offering is the first-class prime opportunity to get your bank account(s) cleaned out, and possibly your identity stolen) and the "From" address and the Reply-To address on the email both not only don't match, but they also don't have any real connection with the name of the person who's apparently sending this.

From: stimam11@htlkaindorf.at
Reply-To: dan.satan@yahoo.com
Name given: Theodore Goodwin

Oh, and they have clear spam-sign in that the email is not sent to my actual address in the first place - the "To" address on the email indicates they're doing an alphabet attack through Yahoo. Which may be why Yahoo were polite enough to mark this one with a "[Bulk]" warning in the subject header so it landed straight in my junk mail folder.

I suspect they're asking for age and city so they can decide whether it's worth following up on you. If you're in the wrong age demographic - not young enough to be inexperienced about the workplace, not old enough to be desperate for anything you can do, not in a rich enough area to be worth fleecing - I get the feeling you'll never hear back from them. Or at least, not until they've run through the best candidates on their list.

As always: don't reply, don't send them anything to them, and don't, whatever you do, attempt to take them up on their offer of "employment". As always, the core rule is this: a genuine employer isn't going to contact you first; you have to go looking for them.
megpie71: AC Reno crouched over on the pavement, looking pained (bad day at work)
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:

Letter and analysis under the fold )

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.
megpie71: AC Reno holding bomb, looking away from camera (Boom!)
Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 10:27 am
I'm almost hesitant to put this one up, since it's not quite as subtle a scam as the other ones I've listed - this one is pretty blatant, and tends to get automatically sorted into the "bulk mail" section of my email for me. But hey, just in case anyone out there needs it, here it goes.

It's another employment scam, but this one varies from my previous listings by telling you there's a job opportunity, rather than strongly implying you have a job offer. However the first and foremost caution on employment scams always applies: employers will not be contacting you telling you about job opportunities or job offers out of the blue. Unless you've left your details with them previously, and asked them to contact you when jobs become available, an employer won't bother seeking you out with that information.

(Another strong hint, and the one which decided me about putting this up: I got three of them at once in a single day's email. Someone really wants a bite from this one).

The job title is "Operations Controller", and they don't list a wage. It's only supposed to require a couple of hours each day, and "no practice is required in financial services" (which should trigger scam flag two: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is).

If you want the job, you're supposed to reply to the email, at which point they'll probably either ask for your resume, or they'll send you out an application form asking for all sorts of personal details (I suspect this mob are mostly in the identity theft business). If they're going the full monty, and adding in the "hoover out the bank account" section of the game, they'll offer you a job, give you the two weeks probation period they're offering in the "ad", and then at the end of those two weeks, they'll tell you you're not quite what they're looking for, so sorry. By which time the damage will be done.

In my three different emails regarding this "job", I was contacted by three different people using three different throw-away email accounts, and given two different reply-to addresses.

Dalton Herbert (apparently-from mulin@zahav.net.il), reply to globalarea.financialdepartment@gmail.com
Cameran Munoz (apparently-from ezoenaoki@ybb.ne.jp), reply to globalarea.cargoinvestments@gmail.com
Nolan Cherry (apparently-from qyvat@theyogurtstation.com), reply to globalarea.cargoinvestments@gmail.com

Note the reply-to addresses are all gmail addresses (or in other words, throwaway email) as well. This is the low rent version of the scam, where they're not even going to bother spending the time and money on acquiring a web domain.

Needless to say googling on "global area gargo" gets no results which even look vaguely like a company website - google does the nice thing and redirects you to "global area cargo", which gets lots of results for shipping firms. If you insist on "global area gargo", you get a list of personal web pages which contain the misspelling requested - none of them company sites.

To be honest, this is such a blatant scam it isn't funny. If you wind up with one of these "job offers" showing up in your junk mail filters, leave it there. If it shows up in your main inbox, might I suggest investing in a decent spam blocker? Whatever you do, don't reply to it. The only job they have available is "sucker".
megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
Thursday, December 18th, 2014 08:02 am
If you get a job offer purporting to be from the Gerosys Group, treat it with caution. It flies the "scam" flag good and hard.

Let's start with the basics: this mob contacted me out of the blue offering a job. I didn't contact them. One BIG red flag to begin with.

Second red flag: I have no memory of ever being contacted by this group for an interview. Generally, this is a pretty important step toward getting a job.

Third red flag: the job description offers $2600 per month for 20 - 25 hours work, recording financial payment information and processing payments. That's at least $26 per hour for what doesn't seem to be much actual effort. Or in other words, they're paying too much for the work they're asking. This means someone is trying to hook me through my greed.

Fourth red flag: These two paragraphs from their Job Description form:

"JOB ACTIVITIES
We sometimes have customers that owe us funds and pay us in financial instruments cashable only in the local area. Since we work all over the world, it is much easier for our customers to transfer money to our Assistant Clerk who are in the same area. After receiving funds Assistant Clerk must record information about transfer and report. Then send money to one of our branches.

WHY DO WE NEED ASSISTANT CLERK? WHAT DOES IT GIVE US?

Reduces % of taxes (avoiding double taxation);
Reduces expenses for offices maintenance (as Assistant Clerk is an official company's representative, so the construction and maintenance of the office is not required);
Number of clients is increased (as many customers can't make an international money transfer);
Our service is increased (as the international transfer needs about 5 days to reach our central office and then a couple of days to reach the performers branch. Consequently, it slows down our work significantly. It'd be much faster if Assistant Clerk receives the money and directs them to the appropriate department/branch. This is how we reduce terms of payments expectation and can provide a service to the customer more promptly)."


This mob purport to have a branch office in Sydney[1]. So why would they need me, living in Western Australia, to process payments in Australian currency?

Let's not forget, this whole "we need you to process payments into the appropriate currency" business is generally the mask for a scam wherein the scammers gain access to your bank account and vacuum out all the contents.

Fifth red flag: They're asking me to scan a copy of my passport, driver's license or other ID and send this in.

Can we say "identity theft", kiddies? I knew we could!

All of the above are enough to hoist the Scam flag high. The whole thing stinks of scam. The following are the little garnishes which just add grace notes to the smell.

* The person who purported to send me the letter (Alexis Poulson) doesn't appear to exist, and particularly not in Sydney, Australia. Nothing on Facebook, nothing on LinkedIn.
* The name of the "HR manager" on the employment agreement form doesn't show up in Sydney either, and it's a particularly common name.
* Their domain is registered to a Russian domain registry, rather than one in the USA (the website appears to be for a company based in Boston) or Australia (given their Australian branch office).
* There's a "news" item on the bottom of the front page of their website which links straight to the job description I quoted above, apparently soliciting new staff in Australia and Canada.
* The job, as described, needs only high school graduation level education (they actually say "high school diploma or GED", which is a very US-centric description of the whole business).
* The "Company seal" on the employment application firm lists the company as a "limited liability company" (which isn't a company description we have here - we're more likely to go with proprietary limited companies instead), and doesn't have an ABN (Australian business number - a REQUIREMENT for doing business in Australia for GST purposes). So either they're not a genuine company, or they're busy evading tax here in Australia.

I've reported them to the ACCC here in Australia, but I'd urge anyone who gets a job offer from this mob anywhere in the world to be extremely wary. As always, the marks of a genuine job offer are these:

* You go looking for them, they don't go looking for you (particularly at the lower rungs of the ladder; particularly if the unemployment rate is higher than 1%)
* A genuine job offer will come with a request for an interview first, because a genuine employer wants to keep you on in their company for a long time. They will therefore want to find out whether or not you're a "good fit" for their company in the first place.
* The wages won't be massively out of line with the industry standard for the sort of work they're asking for. If your highest educational qualification in this day and age is a high school graduation, you're looking at minimum wage work, not the sort of stuff that pays $26 per hour.
* They won't be asking you to perform duties the banking system is actually perfectly capable of doing (eg international money transfers or currency changing).

[1] 100 Walker St, North Sydney, for the interested. From google maps, it looks like an office complex. If anyone wants to visit and take a dekko at their directory, I'd be overwhelmingly interested in finding out whether they're registered on the directory.
megpie71: Vincent Valentine pointing Cerberus toward the camera (Bang)
Friday, October 10th, 2014 06:08 am
One of the unfortunate hazards for the modern job seeker is the presence of scammers in the job market. These are people who have the nerve to be sending out emails purporting to be job offers, but which are actually offers to open your bank account to these people for cleaning out. I've received a couple of these, and given I'm unemployed and don't have that many assets to start with, I tend to take it a bit personally. So here's how to spot a scam.

The first big hint is you're receiving a job offer out of the blue from a company you've never applied to. The two companies I've received out of the blue offers from are RLB Solution Company, and Constellation Travels. I know I've never applied to these companies, because I keep track of where I'm sending my applications (I'm required to in order to get unemployment benefit). Genuine employers wait for you to contact them. Genuine employers aren't trawling for employees, because employment in the current economy is a buyer's market - there are more people looking for work than there are jobs available.

(Yes, there is such a thing as the head-hunter, who is seeking to get people to move from one employer to another. The thing about head-hunters, though, is they're hunting up at the top end of the market, for people with highly specialised skill sets. They aren't looking around the bottom of the market for lowly Administrative Assistants and Sales Assistants).

The second big hint is when you receive a job offer with no other contact whatsoever. No interview, no preliminary contact, nothing except the job offer showing up in your email box.

A genuine employer will want to interview you. They're wanting to make you a part of their workforce, which means they're going to be looking for the signs of both psychological and literal bad breath or poor hygiene, or anything else which might make for problems in fitting you into their team. Scammers, on the other hand, are looking to find their victim and bleed them dry with the minimum amount of effort, and keep things as impersonal and distanced as possible along the way.

Third big hint is that the job appears to involve a lot of money for not very much work. One of the primary rules for avoiding scammers of all persuasions is this: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Again, the current economy is a buyer's market for employers. So they're not going to be offering you high wages to try and get you started in a low-skilled position. Instead, they're more likely to be low-balling you. A scammer, by contrast, wants to use your greed to hook you in and get you interested, so they're going to be offering lots of money for not much actual work.

Now, some little things which also contribute to the setting off of the "scam" flag. The first is the employer doesn't appear to be located in your country. Now, both of my out-of-the-blue offers ping this one good and hard. RLB Solution turns out to be a firm which appears to be based in Germany (so why are they looking to hire someone in Australia if they don't have an Australian office?). Constellation Travels is based in the Philippines, and also don't have an Australian office (although they say they're going to be opening one in September 2014... pity it's already October).

(If you aren't an actual, established business broker, why would a company be contacting you in order to set up a new office in a country they don't currently do business with? Again, see the "too good to be true" clause).

The second is the company doesn't appear to have a serious web presence. RLB Solution has a website which appears to consist of one page, in German, plus a PDF file (http://rlbsolution.com/vacansy%28eng%29.pdf) detailing the job they have open[1]. The job description is the only part of the site which is actually in English, and they don't offer an English-language translation.

Constellation Travels, by contrast, has a website which is all about offering bespoke Asian tours to rich customers, mostly in the USA and Europe. They don't have a careers page, and they don't appear to be recruiting. Also their news highlights stop at February 2011.

The third one is the people who are contacting you appear not to have a web presence either. Or rather, their web presence is rather insubstantial. For example, the person contacting me from RLB Solution purports to be Anna Stern, their Hiring Coordinator, Human Resources. Except... she isn't mentioned on their website. She doesn't appear to exist on LinkedIn. The nearest Facebook has for her is Anne Stern. The same goes for the person who's supposed to be contacting me from Constellation Travels, Adrian Forlan. He isn't mentioned on their website. He doesn't appear to exist on LinkedIn. He isn't available on Facebook.

What's even more interesting - neither of them appear to have an online presence anywhere else, either. I'm not on Facebook or LinkedIn myself, but I have a fairly wide-ranging history online.

None of these minor things are really key indicators on their own. It's the combination of all of them which sets my "scam" flag to snapping in the metaphorical breeze.

But of course, the real indicator is in the job descriptions, once you finally access them. If anyone is offering you money to "process online transactions" or "process transactions via Western Union", it's a pretty good warning they're not planning to actually give you money. They're planning to take all of yours. Most banks in most countries these days will deal quite successfully in currency exchange - it's not like it's a huge issue. So what would they need you for? Why would they need access to your bank account to "process transactions"?

They don't. The reason they need access to your bank account is so they can take all your money instead.

So, if any of you out there are getting emails from Anna Stern of rlbsolution.com, or Adrian Forlan of constellationtravels.com, offering jobs you can't remember applying for, just hit delete.


[1] Incidentally, this pings off another warning - the job offers payment in $NZ, not $AU. If they're not even offering payment in my currency, why do they need an Australian representative again?

Edited 06 FEB 2015 to add: I've done an updated post on RLB Solution. It's available at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/52222.html.