TechSpot Weekly: Internet job scams - A cautionary tale

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When I started to receive suspicious emails around mid-February about some job application for "HR positions" at TechSpot, I decided to disregard these completely. All TechSpot staff members have public email addresses that we make available to you in case you need to contact us directly. That also means we get a TON of spam. From pharmaceuticals of dubious origin, to chinese lottery and other more elaborated phishing scam attempts that try to replicate eBay and PayPal messages, you name it.

For a while I ignored these incoming messages thinking that they were a random scam on itself and that they weren't coming from real people. The emails have persisted this month, and after some googling I found a complaint on this site. The people writing in claim they uploaded their resume to various employment websites or saw an ad on Craigslist. Then they were contacted by a "Mark Bruce" to be interviewed via Yahoo Messenger, where full details about the job position were disclosed. Finally (Warning FLAG), the "newly hired" employee was required to pay a certain amount to be provided with equipment to start the job.

One of the employment sites mentioned was MassReps. To my surprise on the homepage of this website rests a clear warning describing the exact same situation I illustrated above:

Warning: There is a scammer that pretends to be an employer. They generally contact people via a yahoo email address (or some other free email account), and attempt to set up an appointment via Yahoo Messenger (or some other internet chat). They will tell you that you got hired and then try to get you to pay money upfront for a job (generally a couple hundred dollars). This is a scam. Do not be a victim.

It's unfortunate to see us and our brand involved in this type of low-life scam. I'm posting this for the record, so anyone potentially being targeted will hopefully find the post after a quick Google search. Although common sense dictates otherwise, we know that statistically many people fall victim to these fraud schemes every year.

Before leaving this topic open to discussion, I wanted to reiterate that anytime we are looking for editors we'll post something publicly on the site and as we've done in the past, we'll turn to our own readers for potential candidates. Finally, here are some useful links on how to avoid Internet scams and a cool story about scam baiters.

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