Special Report: Job Scams

A decorative image with a black background, blue and green flowers on the left that says The Mission Within Special Report.

One of the things that comes up a lot when it comes to a job search is job scams. As someone who’s currently job hunting, this is something that hits really close to home for me. Let’s make today’s post a special report about job scams. 

You may be on a job hunt yourself, whether it’s a main job or a second job, and you may find postings promising easy money for comparatively little work. They may even say you can work from home! 

As someone who needs her second role to also be a remote one, I’ve noticed an uptick in these types of listings in remote work. 

Maybe I’m just noticing them more, since it didn’t take me long to find my day job. It didn’t take near this long, to be exact. 

My last marathon job search was in-person, and before the Internet ever came to my house. I only had access to it through the school computers at that time. 

But even that wasn’t foolproof against job scams. Before the Internet came along, these jerk fucks targeted people through ads in the paper, on fliers at stores, or through the mail. 

I should know.

A family member of mine fell for one of these when I was in college. I’m not sure exactly how they found it, but it was a job “stuffing envelopes,” and every single penny of my graduation money went to their “startup fees.”

Like, we traveled to three different stores and bought every box in the specified size they had. My family member went nuts stuffing envelopes with the letters this company sent us, and burned through several of the boxes.

We caught on to them and found out it was a scam, and I used the manual typewriter I found at a flea market to write them a cease and desist letter I found on the internet, requesting that all communication stop, and that we want our money back. 

No shocker we never heard from them. Nor did we ever see that money. 

When the movers came to help with the stuff I couldn’t deal with by myself, I went back to the old house and got what the movers left behind. 

I also stayed behind and did some cleaning as a favor to our now-former property manager. When I was cleaning out a section of the porch where we’d dumped stacks of old mail, I found at least two dozen leftover letters from the envelope stuffing scam from years back. 

The company’s long gone, shock of shocks. 

I added them to the pile to burn in the barbecue grill once the weather allowed for it, and also time, haha. 

Fast forward to my search for a second job. I created a schedule where I would put in no less than 10 applications per day.

The result ended up being a whole slew of rejections. Some got back to me, but ultimately ended up in yet another rejection. 

Then there were the ones who seemed too good to be true. One company ended up being a brand-new startup founded on piggybacking off the success of another more established agency, if that makes sense. No names. They know who they are, and I’m not gonna call them out unless they do something super egregious. That said, if you think you know who this company is, as a favor to me, leave them alone. 

I contacted the agency, and they confirmed that while they appeared to be users of the agency services, they are by no means affiliated with them, and couldn’t recommend them. I wasn’t moving forward with them in any case. 

Then came the work from home ‘opportunities.’ The posters of the job vacancies on LinkedIn couched them in super vague terms and phrases. 

Ok, great. Seems legit. 

I put my resume in the hat, so to speak, and immediately, two of them contacted me with videos to watch. 

I watched the first one, and saw that both the videos were unlisted. One had the comments turned on, and one of the commenters said something about a scam. 

I looked up the company, and found out that it was an MLM-type scheme, and saw numerous reviews stating that when they signed up, it left them in an insane amount of debt with nothing to show for it. 

The next video was a pre-recorded webinar that lasted for like two hours. This one had the comment section turned off. 

Ok, fair enough. Some people do that for any number of reasons. 

I looked up this company, and how many guesses do you want as to what I dug up on them? 

Lemme guess, another MLM? 

Bingo. This one had negative reviews regarding customer service issues after the reviewer paid them for the services. To paraphrase it, they stated that the service provider was great at first, and once they paid them, the service provider totally dropped the ball. 

To be fair, this was the only place I was able to find reviews. However, I’d be suspicious of any agency that condones this kind of conduct toward paying customers, regardless of their business model. 

Nope, I’m not gonna do my customers like that. Idgaf who it is, or how much this job pays. 

I got back in touch with the two job posters who sent me the videos saying thanks but no thanks, and wished them luck going forward. I meant that, and still mean that sincerely. 

Then there was one group who posed as a legitimate offshore company specializing in something other than agricultural equipment. They used the profile of some executive in another state who hadn’t updated their LinkedIn in forever.

The grammar and syntax used in the chat was off, and I had my doubts about their legitimacy. 

I saw nothing in the executive’s profile that indicated they were in any way affiliated with this company, both currently and in the past. 

I decided to wait a day or two to get back to them, and mull things over. 

A day or two later, their profile was gone, along with their messages and the haphazardly-typed document they sent me in the chat. 

Bullet dodged. Bullet fuckin’ dodged. 

Earlier this week, I got an email from one of the companies whose services I’m using for this blog, Wordfence. It couldn’t have come at a perfect time, since this is exactly how it started with this scam company and another one I dealt with on LinkedIn. 

In my case, our communication never made it off of the relatively safe confines of LinkedIn. However, I know for a fact it could have been far worse, as shown in the article from a victim they called “Mary.” Mary isn’t her real name, and “Stacy Morgan” isn’t the scammer’s real name. It shows screenshots of “Stacy’s” profile, with a photo no doubt ganked off of some stock photo site. 

The article talks about Mary’s ordeal with the scammers, and it’s very easy to see how someone could get caught up in one. 

So what can we do? What signs do we look for in terms of how to spot a job scam

The Wordfence article states that even though practices in the hiring process have shifted toward a remote model, it’s very rare that a legit company conducts their interviews on the website’s DM or chat application. I’m sure somewhere out there is a legit company that does this, but I wouldn’t bet on the company you’re applying to being that outlier. 

Look up the company in a Google search. Do you see results that don’t appear to be applicable? Or a “no results found,” with results Google thinks you’re looking for instead? These aren’t just red flags, they’re fuckin’ flamethrowers. 

Or do you see applicable results, but notice patterns in the reviews and complaints consistent with questionable business practices clearly condoned by the company, bait-and-switch tactics, or anything at all to do with financial mishandlings? Abort mission, and move on to the next job opportunity. 

Are they asking you to pay something in order to work with them? I’m not talking about buying things for a work-from-home setup if you don’t already have it or something you can use for it knocking around the house. I’m talking about any requirements that you pay to apply for them, or for what they’ll maybe call “training fees,” “startup fees,” or whatever. Yes? It’s “Bye, Felicia,” for them. 

You got what it takes to succeed in the role, or have a transferable skill set you can bring to the role? No worries. Any legit company will pay for your training, and include reimbursements for business expenses. 

Are they claiming to be a global company, but something just doesn’t feel right for whatever reason? Reach out to the company themselves using contact information on their official website, not the contact information they’re giving you. Does it match up with what they gave you? No? Make like Val, Earl, and Rhonda from Tremors, and run like a goddamn bastard.

Avoid job boards like the plague. There are legit opportunities to be found there, but the hassle just isn’t worth it, imo. 

Lastly, do you just have a gut feeling that something isn’t right. Does something feel rotten in Denmark, so to speak? Is something just not adding up about this job opportunity? Your instincts have already done the homework, even if you can’t put a name to it, or know exactly why. Next! 

To any job scammers out there who find this, I’m onto your games, you rotten horse dicks. You should seriously be ashamed of yourselves. I’m sick and tired of you preying on vulnerable, desperate job seekers between a rock and a hard place. How tf do you live with yourselves? If you have kids or other dependents, how do you live with yourselves knowing you’re exposing them to illegal activity? Tell me. Inquiring minds wanna know, and I wanna learn something new today. 

I hope the only takers you get for your shady, scammy job postings will be my decoy profile on LinkedIn, or someone like me. It’ll give you that much less time to go after job seekers like Mary, my family member, and yours truly. 

Over to you, readers. Have you ever had an experience with a job scam? Know someone who has? Know of any other signs of a job scam I haven’t mentioned here? Interested in jerking job scammers around and wasting their time? Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts and takeaways. Drop ’em like they’re hot below, and let’s talk. 

On that note, if you or someone you know has been affected by a job scam, I encourage you to report what happened to the company the scammers pretended to be (if it applies), to the FTC, the FBI or similar agencies in your area. Also, maybe consider sending their information my way? 

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