Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Scams, Scams, and MORE SCAMS!

I know I just posted about scams, but on a job interview for another part time gig, both of the other interviewees mentioned they had been scammed. Both were advanced fee scams, one of the people didn't fall for it, one person did.

It got started because one of the candidates, there were three of us, said to me, "I hope this isn't going to be a group interview." The other two of us concurred about the unpleasantries of group interviews.

"Plus, they're often a sign of a scam," I added. I did not point out this tidbit in my last post on scams, so now I feel I must. Group interviews are not always a scam, but they are often enough. Scammers are banking on peer pressure in this one. Usually, they take the opportunity to SELL THE DREAM, after which, they ask for an "investment."

Humans are natural mimics. It's not to say any one of us is incapable of thinking for ourselves, but we're social creatures prone to follow others. So, if we see a high pressure sales situation masked as a job proposal and one unfortunate soul falls for it, monkey see, monkey do.

Often during these presentations, when they ask for an investment, the group goes silent. We all KNOW something isn't right. The con artists, er, recruiters, will say some BS about, "Well, who in this room can say their dream isn't worth at least $300?" It remains silent for a few moments more until one check book is removed from a purse or pocket, then like dominoes, the rest follow suit.

I've always wondered if these scammers hire actors to pretend to start writing checks; little surprises me. I also always wonder why no one ever sees me leave then mimics my behavior, but are all too happy to whip out check books the second one other person does it. I can only optimistically hope that eventually, more people leave than stay and pay.

ANYWAY, back to the candidates' scam stories. One was fortunate enough to nip it in the bud. She told us about a check she received which was intended to be a sign up bonus plus a few materials and how she was instructed cash or deposit it, then send the rest back. She noticed the check wasn't quite right because the name of the company ended in, "Contractors," which the scammers erroneously spelled, "Contractros." Maybe some victims didn't notice or thought it was Spanish?

Anyway, she brought the check to the bank and told them, "This is a fraudulent check, what can you do about this?"

They told her, "We can't determine that unless you cash or deposit it."


Frighteningly, the account information, the name of the company (although spelled incorrectly), the phone number, and the name of the CEO were all correct! She learned this by calling the phone number on the check and being surprised to find the real owner of the account. He told her he was receiving all kinds of mysterious withdrawals from his account and had been working with the fraud department for months. Yikes!

The other interviewee, unfortunately, was a victim of an advance fee scam. After we started talking about scams, she said, "I got scammed once."

"You actually went through with it, or you just noticed it was strange?" I asked.

"No, I fell for it. I had to get a police report and everything."

Turns out the poor gal sent $500 to a stranger who had previously sent her a fake check for much more. So, 3/3 people in the group had some level of experience with scams.

Please, be careful, folks! Look out for the warning signs. Most importantly, NEVER GIVE ANY FORM OF MONEY TO ANYONE YOU DON'T KNOW, PERIOD!

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