Scams? Online? Oh, Indeed There Is!

How times have changed.

When I first started my career in the information technology field, the Toronto Blue Jays have yet to win a World Series Championship, Netscape had the best browser for the Internet, and speaking of the Internet, it was not yet available at the consumer level. Who would have forseen, who would have thought, over 20 years later, the Internet would play such an important role in our lives?

Before the Internet, the only “citizens” residing in cyberspace were people like myself, computer enthusiasts pushing the limits of their dialup modems and computer hardware and software.  Now cyberspace is the Internet, and the Internet is one big “gimme machine”. Anything you want, you ask for, and you get. You want to know the current weather in Osaka Japan? Internet. You want to order a pizza, triple cheese with ground beef, pepperoni, mushrooms and garlic? Internet. You want to buy or sell something? Internet. You can even even use your cell phone to surf the web, or order movies to watch over the Internet.

Thanks to the Internet, the way we look for work has changed. Using want ads in the newspaper classifieds, the phone book, or pounding the pavement looking for “Help Wanted Signs” in storefronts? That’s still an option, but if you are not using the online resources on the Internet to find work, you are already at a disadvantage in your job search. In addition to Workopolis, Torontojobshop, and Monster, I’m also using private job banks run by book stories, grocery stores, hardware stores, and financial institutions. While the Internet plays a role in my hunt for that elusive prey known as employment, there is some risk when using the Internet to find a job.

The Internet is not just a “gimme machine”. It’s also a “gotcha machine”: child pornography, terrorism, fraud, and identity theft are just a few of the examples of online crime, and it’s the identity theft that makes me uneasy at times. I have my resume uploaded for review on many job banks by thousands of employers looking to fill a vacancy, and all that is required to view my resume is to purchase an account. I’m positive there’s not much screening involved by those hosts before giving that type of access out. That stinks, but if I want my resume to be viewed by potential employers and want to be able to apply to positions offered by employers, I just balance my worries with my desire to look for work and take the plunge.

This does not mean I’m reckless in the information I give out. I’m both fiscally cheap and a skeptic when it comes to offers that are too good to be true, so I ask questions to make sure there are no catches or traps, particularly where my Craigslist and Kijiji ads are concerned. Still, while I’ve never been ripped off or fallen for a scam, I have been surprised by how some scam ads appear so genuine at first.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: In the next section following, I am not implying Indeed and Ticketmaster are responsible for the scam you are about to read about.

One time I was using to find a job, searching using the words “No Experience”, and came across this ad from Ticketmaster. Well, I thought it was from Ticketmaster but I’m jumping ahead of the story.

Maybe I should have looked more closely at the Email address, but the job description caught my eye. It was not full time work, but the description seemed like something I had the skill sets for and it would fund my job search in the meantime. I sent my resume to the Email address provided, and got an automated reply back. The content of the Email itself made me frown a bit: it was poorly written, and it described a Customer Manager position where clearly I applied for a Account Service Clerk position. As a precaution I detached the job description and the application form and ran a virus scan. After the scan revealed nothing malevolent, I opened the description and read it. Once I reached the following line, I knew right then and there I had a reason to frown:

You should transfer the payments into your account, withdraw this money from your account, keep 5% and 95% you should transfer to our Representative by Western Union or Money Gram.

Personal accounts and other assets being used in a business operation? In any large corporation, that’s a Sarbanes-Oxley violation. In any other type of business, that’s so incredibly wrong it smells. I did a google search regarding this job ad and came up with the following matches.

Unbelievable. The depths the filth behind this scam would stoop so low to do in order to take advantage of those needing desperately needing  help. Particularly the unemployed. Specifically myself.

I hope whoever is behind this scam is arrested and put into prison until the start of the next century.

Thanks for reading!


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