Monday, March 3, 2014

Job Scams

If you've been actively searching for a job online like I have then surely you've come across employment sites where you post your resume in the hopes of finding much needed work.

It seems most companies are content with letting a computer program sort out the good applicants from the bad. There is no such thing as personal interaction with anyone interested in hiring another person. You're at the mercy of a thirty minute questionnaire and you'll get acquainted with standard emails. 

You will also get a number of phone calls from College Guides who want to quickly place you in the halls of higher learning. Why? At most of those employment websites you're forced to register in order to apply for a listed job. 

I've gotten phone calls from schools in Arizona (I live in Connecticut) and even from some Hair Institute somewhere near Hartford. I've even gotten calls from some computer whose job is to dial up your number and tie up the line until the next college placement expert is free to beg for "ten" minutes of your time.

Frustrated by the fruitless job quest, I've talked to one of these people. I expressed a desire to do something with writing. After twenty minutes of stating the obvious time and again, I had no choice but to let the poor devil on the line go. The initial effusive optimism was quickly replaced by a dose of real life and a lack of careers in writing.

Looking for work can wear down your very soul, and you're prone to falling for anyone offering you a glimpse of hope.

Enter the incredible job offers.

Recently, someone identifying themselves as a hiring manager for the Swiss Life Group texted me and offered me a position with their 150 year old institution based in Zurich. The officious bloke came across my promising resume and decided to contact me from Minnesota. 

Like a desert wanderer staring at a mirage of life giving water, I jumped at the chance and eagerly replied with an interest to take the job.

The man granted me an interview. 


He asked me to obtain a Yahoo email address so we can talk via Instant Messenger.


Just as I was signing up for a Yahoo account, I realized one obvious little detail. 

If some long standing company came across my resume, and decided to interview me, why not contact me through an email that sounded like it came from the company itself? You know, something like or something to that effect? 

Why Yahoo? 

And furthermore, if it was so urgent that I interview with a hiring manager, why wouldn't he just call me or ask me to call?

I then Googled Swiss Life Group and added the word scam to the search bar. Sure enough, it was.

Of course, why would any company want to hire someone at $21.00 per hour ($18 during two weeks of training and complete benefit package after a month of service) based on a poorly prepared resume that has no promise of landing a Business Administration job?

But I was curious. Very curious.

I signed on to Yahoo and altered most of my information, realizing how easy it is to create a false identity online.

Good Old Mark wrote long passages of information at the speed of copy and paste. I answered a question with a question that was never answered as though nothing I typed bore consideration.


The "Hiring Manager" then told me to hold online while he passed my answers along to the Head Department, whatever that was.

A few minutes later, (surprise surprise) Good Old Mark typed a warm welcome to the company. Wow, I thought, just like that, I'm in the money!

Not so fast.

Good Old Mark then asked me to provide him with a list of personal information for verification so his secretary could put me on register to which I replied, "That information is on my resume that should be on your desk."

His reply was "We didn't save it?"


Elaborate ruse, but laughable at best. It took me only a minute to decide to provide the basics. They're public record after all, and I wanted to see where this guy was going.

He asked me how often I'd like to be paid and asked who was my Bank.

As if...

When I did not reply, he quickly outlined the benefit package, probably copied from some company's website, and pasted it on the message. He indicated I'll have two weeks of training and gave me a list of software I would need.

I asked if I should expect the software and an information packet in the mail and he quickly asked if I would buy the software today.


He told me he had the in-house vendor ready to take the order and I replied with a question, "Will I be reimbursed?"

"Of course!" He quickly added.

By then I already knew about the counterfeit checks and the useless software. At that point, laughing and wondering just how many people fall for this, I thanked the "Hiring Manager" and told him I was not comfortable making purchases of giving any more information. I told him I researched these "opportunities" and most were reported as scams.

"How do you mean?"

When I asked for solid proof, he immediately offered to get his supervisor on the phone. I was suddenly so important, the boss was going to talk to me right then and there!

I told him I would have my accounts carefully monitored and indirectly let him know I was onto him. I asked for a phone number then told him I would surely find him in the directory of his company and to expect my call.

Good Old Mark went from professionally courteous to downright rude when he ignored my last messages.

A search of Swiss Life Group for a Hiring Manager named Mark Franke was utterly unsuccessful. 

No shocker there.

The moral of the story, boys and girls, is that if something sounds too good and too easy to be true online then it's most certainly a scam.  

Be smart. Be aware. And I hope you all enjoy solid employment that allows you to live your lives worry free, at least for the most part. As to those of us on the search, don't fall prey to the refuse of the online world. Scammers are  everywhere and they go to great lengths to take advantage of you. 

Be very careful with employment sites and never trust any form of communication that does not bare a company logo with a brick and mortar address and contact information. 

For a quick and easy way to find out if you are about to get taken for a ride, Google is a great tool for gathering information. Use it, and be smart. Be aware. Be careful.

 Job Scams. Beware!
Check out this article on Job Scams


  1. I'm a mixed bag of emotions for you: happy that you were not taken for a chump and sad that it was not a legitimate job offer. Keep plugging away. I can't help but believe you are destined for a great future.

  2. All good advice and an interesting read. Good luck with the job hunt. I hope you find one soon.