I was not going to share my experience with everyone for fear of being judged harshly. Anyone who knows me will say I do not shy away from the truth, regardless of how difficult it may be, and I want to stay true to myself. I have to share my experience. Besides, writing is good therapy and lets me put a positive spin on things that do not always go as planned.
Everyone is wondering what I am referring to, so I will jump right in.
I began looking for full-time remote positions to find a more stable working environment. Last week I received a message from an employer on the Indeed job board. If someone messaged me directly from my Indeed dashboard, it Is legitimate. Or, so I thought.
I am suspicious by nature, and as a marketer, the first thing I always do is research. I verified the company website, looked up the individual on LinkedIn and in my haste decided everything was good. I hate to admit it, but I made a mistake. I should have checked all the posts on my potential employer’s timeline. It would have saved me a great deal of time and embarrassment.
Things were moving quickly, but the employer explained that they were cramming and needed someone “yesterday.” My spidey senses were tingling, but I ignored them because the salary was in my target range and seemed to be my dream job.
Losing this dream is the part that hurts the most. Jobs like this only come along once in a lifetime, and I thought it was my turn. After all, I deserve it. There is another one out there for me. Sadly, I passed on a real opportunity because I wanted to start working. I am taking my time going forward.
MY FIRST DAY WAS MY LAST
I woke up the next day bright and early, eager to start working. My employer came on late in the day. Again my spidey senses were tingling because we were in the same time zone, but he explained he was on a business trip. Sounds legit.
Here is where everything started to get ugly.
He asked me to complete a task. I wanted to show my eagerness, so I agreed even though it was late at night. Yep, you guessed it; I ignored my gut again!
He told me the task, and I finally knew my spidey senses were correct. I wanted to believe that my dream would not turn into a nightmare, but I knew it was too good to be true.
I FINALLY WOKE UP WHEN THE NIGHTMARE HAPPENED
He explained that he wanted to buy his two business partners a gift, and I would need to shop online for him. I would be the first person to tell my friends and family to run at this point. People as soon as someone says this. It is a scam!
Who would ask a new employee to buy a gift for someone they don’t know?
Intelligence in any job is required. There is a misconception that you should refrain from questioning a hire-up. There are situations where you need to, this being one of them.
I was heartbroken, but I wanted to trap the scammers. I needed proof of the scam, so I pretended to go along. I kept challenging him to see if he would realize I was already on to the fraud. In some ways, I wanted to prove that he was not that smart and that I was wiser.
He asked which bank I dealt with (another red flag), and I told him I do not provide banking information via text. I was feeling quite clever at this point, a bit smug.
A game of cat and mouse ensued until I finally got the proof I needed when he sent me a money order draft via email because I felt this was the safer option.
As you can see by the draft, it is a fake. Firstly, my employer said his company was in British Columbia, and this draft is from a Montreal office. Secondly, the amount is extremely high. Not to mention it looks like it came from the 1990’s.
I finally ran out of patience playing this game. I finally told him a few choice words and explained that while he was trying to scam me, I was reporting him. He told me he was disappointed in me and then blocked me. I laughed because he wanted to belittle me after all of this.
I struggled with writing this story because looking for work makes you feel vulnerable. You constantly try to prove your worth and are placed under a microscope. Admitting I made a mistake may not bode well for a potential employer. I believe it is not the fact that you make a mistake its how you deal with it that matters.
I want to work for a company that understands that employees can never be perfect, but they can make the best out of a bad situation. My first day may not have started great, but on a positive note, I did not get scammed out of 2550. I trusted my instincts; it paid off.
I think it is disgraceful to prey on people looking for work. I am a freelancer, and I do have an income stream. What happens to the people who don’t? It was for this reason that I felt compelled to tell my story. If I can help one person, then I have done my job. I really am a good employee, and I know there is a dream job waiting for me.
How does the employment scam work?
The scam victim is convinced to deposit the check into their bank account and asked to purchase gifts online. Most often, these are in the form of gift certificates. When the bank finally discovers the check is fake, it will be returned to the victim’s account, along with penalty charges. The gift certificates will have already been turned into cash or assets.
How to avoid getting scammed?
- When looking for a job, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
- A Canadian money order limit is 999.99.
- If a task seems inappropriate, confusing or questionable, investigate.
- If the job onboarding process is going too fast, investigate.
- Always research a company and dig deep. Read their social media posts the answer may already be there.
- Documents and websites are easily faked, so it is sometimes difficult to see the fraud until it is too late. TRUST YOUR GUT! Email addresses that do not have the company name or seem fishy should be avoided. Ask an employer to call you from the company or call them if you need to be sure.
- Most employers will want a zoom or meeting interview to get to know you. No one hires simply by letter or text.
Looking back and reading my suggestions on how to avoid getting scammed, I now realize that I just wanted to believe it was real even though I knew it wasn’t. Yes, even I can fall victim to vulnerability from time to time. It won’t happen again.
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