Entering the world of Freelancing and/or Virtual Assisting is a huge decision. The continuous struggle to find a Client or Clients who are interested in what you have to offer can be quite nerve-racking. However, so many people are doing it today, you know it can happen. You need to build your plan and implement it.
Invite to an Interview
You’ve searched the job boards in hopes of your dream “at home” job. You begin applying feeling ever so confident that it will happen. You’ve built your hope from the loving support of your friends and in faith that you can do it.
Finally, you get an Email Invite to Interview for a position!
Excitement rushes in!
You are so excited about it that you totally think you will land it and you’ll start immediately! Your invite asks you to contact them via Yahoo IM or Google Hangout. You think this is kind of strange, however, you are in the virtual realm of career searching.
You follow the directions of the Email and contact the potential Client via Google Hangout. This is your first interview so you’re not quite sure what to expect, but you are so excited that some of the Basic Rules of Thumb go right out the window.
The Google Hangout has been scheduled and you both enter into the conversation about the position.
- First Red Flag – The position they described via Google Hangout is not the position description that was emailed to you.
You brush it off thinking they reread your resume and find you are suited for a different position.
- Second Red Flag – They contacted you via a job board but state that you will not be working via the agency but working directly for them. Thus, your paycheck coming from them.
You continue the conversation finding out whatever else you can about the position. Again, you’re not sure how virtual interviews are usually conducted and you are kind of stumbling along.
- You’re giving the option for payment (bi-weekly) via Wire Transfer, Direct Deposit, or Check.
The interviewer continues to talk about the benefits of the position which include Health, Dental, Life, AD&D Insurance, Employee Wellness, 401k, and Paid Sick and Vacation time.
Wow! This is pretty awesome!
It’s coming to a head
You’re told of the equipment you will need to purchase to perform this job efficiently. You’re automatically thinking “I don’t have that software on my computer. Where am I going to get the money to buy it?”
Not to worry! Your potential Client is going to send you a CHECK that you can use to purchase the 8 products on their list! “Oh no! I wonder what store I can buy these items from?”
Not to worry! Your potential Client is going to give you a list of Approved vendors to purchase the products with the check they send you!
“Seriously, this is too good to be true!”
And the bomb goes BOOM!
Your potential Client continues to discuss the terms of the position and wants to know What financial institute you use. You are thinking to yourself, “What does it matter if he is sending me a check?” You play it off as if you didn’t even read that part.
5 words later, he’s asking you again “Do you have a checking account and should the check be sent to you and are you very reliable with company funds? And what financial institute do you operate with!”
By this point, you’ve seen too many Red Flags and the potential Client is starting to irritate you.
He asks for your email so you can send you the official offer letter and states that you will receive it tomorrow. Sign it and send it back to him.
Knowing something is up and you possibly might have just been scammed, you politely end the conversation and try to push it out of your head.
Pushy little booger
The next morning you are contacted bright and early by this potential Client via Google Hangout. Once again he asks for your email so he can send you the offer letter. You kindly oblige but use one of you “alternate” emails. You know, the ones that are like anonymous and can’t be tracked back to you?
Within minutes, you have a Word document with an offer letter. It is signed Superior@BASF.com. Yes, that’s right. he was posing as a recruiter for BASF Chemical Company. The phone number under the email address was from Roswell, New Mexico and was a landline to a lady.
Seriously, this guy can’t think I’m stupid enough to fall for his shenanigans!
You brush it off and contact the agency (job board) and let them know they have a scammer in the midst. You also contact BASF and let them know someone is posing as a recruiter for them and is trying to scam people out of money.
15 minutes go by and the
potential Client scammer is persistent in asking if you received the letter and have you signed it. Ignoring the Google Hangout messages for about an hour or so, you decide to take action.
Thank God for friends that support you
You contacted a good friend of yours who has been working-at-home for years. You discuss the situation with her just to see what else she thinks you should do. The conversation is great and your friend is totally supportive of you busting this scammer in hopes that no one actually fell for it.
Thank you, Cori!
You pull up the email from the scammer and kindly reply:
Hello,It’s unfortunate that I must decline your offer. As good as it may sound, it’s in Breach of my Contract with Upwork. Good luck in finding a suitable Assistant.Virtual Assistant
By the time you go back to the agency (job board), the job had been removed by the agency. He had been busted! You open your Google Hangout and BLOCK him so no further contact can be had.
You’re now officially a member of the work-at-home job seekers and have officially had your first attempt at being scammed!
Over to you
How would you have handled the above situation? Have you ever been involved with a scammer contacting you about a work-at-home position? If so, would you like to share what happened?
I’d love to hear from you!