TechSpot Weekly: Internet job scams - A cautionary tale

By on March 28, 2011, 1:02 AM
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.




User Comments: 12

Got something to say? Post a comment
Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This is one negative aspect of internet (an inadvertent one at that IMO) i.e. scamming, although I am very careful about giving out my email, but yet on average I receive one-five such emails a month, ranging from telling me that I'm descendant of some wealthy @#@#@#@ or some business type of stuff involving millions etc. But somehow I never heard about such fake/false "job offerings" to mint money from unsuspecting / needy (especially considering the hardship this cycle of economic downturn has brought about).

Julio, I would suggest that you pin this story to Tecspot main page for a while, so maximum number of visitors can read it, and perhaps don't become victims in anyway.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

Reputable business' will provide and ship any equipment needed for a job at their cost. They know they will make the money back in the long run if it is a good employee.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Not every business darkshadoe since they can't know who is a good employee and not every work is long term either. It mainly depends on what kind of work is it.

Bad thing people fall to this crap.

ravisunny2 ravisunny2, TS Ambassador, said:

on average I receive one-five such emails a month

You are lucky to get such a small volume of SPAM/SCAM mail.

1. If I do not recognize the sender, I simply delete the mail

2. Even if the sender seems to be a legit company, if they ask for money (as a security deposit etc), I prompltly delete the mail.

Guest said:

I had a spam storm after wanting to get more "meshes" & "models" for a game called Freedom Force.

I joined Yahoo-Groups and started signing up for everything (as you have to, to access the content).

I later then realised I was stormed by spam for the next few years until recently I decided to block every single email that they sent.

Some of this spam however does seem pretty real.

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

Being that I was on the job hunt several monthes ago, my email account has become a target for these job scams. Thankfully google does a good job of making sure these go straight to the spam box. What I find humorous is the repeating patterns they use. Also when they say stuff like "Hey stewi0001 how have you been!"

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I think that if you're stupid or desperate enough to fall for a "send us $500" scam..you deserve to lose it.

Learning from their mistakes is sometimes the only way for some people.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

A few years back, my daughter got caught up in the idea of becoming a model (which she is very capable of becoming). She received an email from a company stating that they were holding auditions at a hotel banquet hall on X-weekend. I told her, after many years of experience as a model photographer, that wasn't how modeling agencies worked. She still wanted to check it out, so I decided to let her learn for herself.

I went to the hotel with her, and she spoke with a man that told her he would like to see her again for a call back audition, and that she needed to bring $130 with her for "registration paperwork and expenses". This is when I stepped in. I told him that I had been photographing models for years, and loudly proclaimed (so that other potential victims could hear) that there wasn't a reputable modeling agency in the world that would make their models pay fees of any kind. I flat out called him a pathetic scam artist preying on the young and naive, that needed to be in a prison cell. He wasn't too keen on being outed in front of so many people, but that's another story entirely.

My daughter was very upset, but when we got home I showed her the BBB reports, and consumer complaints against the company that I found online before she went to the "audition". I told her that I had to let her learn on her own what kind of people she was dealing with, and that I had already arranged a real audition for her with a friend of mine. She learned her lesson, and now she models teen clothing for Land's End and various department stores without having to pay them a penny.

I've had to learn the hard way my whole life, and sometimes getting scammed is the best way to learn, but with a new generation of scammers using reputable online entities to trick their mark into giving them money, it's more difficult to tell. One of the best rules to live by, is that no reputable company anywhere, will make you pay up front for materials of any kind. That cost is usually taken out of your first 2 or 3 paychecks.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

scam baiting... a term I haven't heard yet. It makes me so angry that people spend so much time trying to find ways to scam other people, if they are so smart to think of this stuff, why cant they make some good of it. I know it will never stop, but I would like to combat it in some way... whether how minimal it may be. It seems like just trying to increase awareness doesn't do anything... but it's hard to see the effects of that.

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

Archean said:

I receive one-five such emails a month.

Then you're really lucky, or maybe just cautious enough . Even though I personally never receive any kind of spam or junk-mail, ever - I know several people with 500+ messages in their inbox every morning who tell me that I'm a lucky fellow. Truth is, I'm just cautious regarding "to whom" I deliver my e-mail address to. Still, no "Get a bigger pen-fifteen today!"-mail has dropped into my inbox.

example1013 said:

I literally never open e-mails unless I know who they're from. I don't use e-mail to shop or do anything like that, and I don't sign up for e-mail lists, because I don't trust any of them. It's much easier for me to just do the research myself than to put my identity at risk by handing out my e-mail.

And any time I sign up for e-mail lists (out of necessity or what have you), I create fake accounts that have absolutely no factual information whatsoever.

Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me.

Guest said:

This happened to me but I was contacted by a guy named Scott Jones. However, I knew right away it seemed too good to be true when they wanted to mail me a check and conduct everything over yahoo messenger. Still it is just terrible to hear that things like this can happen, what is this world coming to?

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.