Unemployment # 3: Job Scams or Getting Money out of the Penurious

January 24, 2011 § 21 Comments

Scammers are the insipid, redneck cousins of savvy computer hackers; the Peeping Toms of all out serial stalkers. They’re not smart enough to break into your personal accounts, but damn, they’ll try to convince you in any way to give them your information: rent ads, porn, free shit on the internet, and spamming your Gmail like a Tommy-gun that just won’t listen.

Hell, they’ll even give you an interview–an attractive offer for desperate, lowly job seekers such as myself.

The other day I applied to a job in Seattle via Craigslist. It was under the Office/Admin link and was a simple description of an optical office in need of a receptionist. Like any admin job, I supplied my standard Craigslist cover letter which was something like this:

January 20, 2011

Re: Administrative Assistant/Receptionist

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am very interested in applying for the administrative assistant position advertised on Craigslist.

I have many years of customer service experience in the service industry as well as hospitality management. Along with a strong education and a professional background, I would bring to this position a keen eye for detail, writing and communication skills, and prior administrative and front desk experience.

The enclosed resume, pasted into the email and attached as a Word document, summarizes my background and experience. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you in greater detail.

Sincerely,

IamtheAmericanDream

T: (608) xxx-xxxx

(I’ll get into Cover Letter banality later).

I received this response from hollymarino@janiceoptical.com.

Dear Gxxxxxxxx,

After reviewing your résumé, we’d love to interview you.

Our corporate office, however, requires us to perform a background check and a credit check. Safely apply for your FREE credit check here . Do not send us any private or personal information, simply the VERIFICATION # which we need to schedule your interview. The background check is conducted during the interview.

We look forward to meeting you. Please e-mail us with any questions.

Holly Marino

Office Administrator

janiceoptical.com

What Janice did right:

1. Spelling and grammar were both correct.

2. Supplied an actual website with an email to corroborate that website.

3. Told me not to send them personal information.

Why it was STILL suspicious: Although many jobs, especially corporate jobs, require background and credit checks, these are usually done during the hiring process and NOT before they’ve even met you.

What Janice Scumbag did wrong:

1. Told me not to send them personal information.

Typically anyone that sends you a link for a FREE anything is someone who wants your money or your identity. So the claim that they didn’t want any personal information told me that they all they wanted was personal information, maybe even my underwear drawer.

What a teeny bit of Internet RESEARCH found for me:

I checked out janiceoptical.com, it’s an actual existing website BUT it’s a WordPress website and signing up for a WordPress blog costs nothing (why else would I have one). Oh, and their “Contact” page is conveniently “under construction.”

Additionally, the company is not in the Yellow Pages and not searchable by Google. The free credit check website they sent me to was a legitimate site that provides legitimate reports, however, if you sign up “for free,” you’ll see in the fine print that they will charge you $14.95 per month for providing this credit check service. Having less that $4.83 in my bank account, I decided against a free credit check (especially when I know mine is shit anyway) and against an interview with “Janice Optical.”

I can now say that I have had bad interviews, canceled interviews, and fake interviews.

It’s best not to get scammed if you’re not making any money to begin with.

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