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Identity Theft Is Coming Back

Updated on May 9, 2020

During this pandemic, young adults will try to earn some extra money to feed themselves and/or pay their rent; Artists will sell their art, writers will help other writers with their projects and more. All this happens online, which means there are a lot of fake job opportunities. And, as a bored-freelance-writer, I have made a terrible experience with a company that I shall not name.

I am sharing this experience because I want to raise awareness about the fact that some people online are ill-intended.

This scam lasted three days; As they soon asked me for money, I knew something was off. They made contact with on a site called Freelancer.com “It’s a virtual marketplace for talented and skilled freelancers to offer their services to buyers.” (Gig Hustle). This seemed like the best opportunity for me, I could work on multiple small projects and get paid. On freelancer.com, you need to bid on a job and state why they should give you the job. I’ve been on this site for about two days when - I will name her differently, to keep her anonymous - Jill, sent me this:

“Good Day....I’m (Jill) From ……This is strictly an online interview and work from a home-based job. You will earn $30 per hour Mon-Fri Full time-9am to 5 pm, Part-time-2pm to 5 pm with flexible hours. You are required to contact Mr…... for more information about the job and company. The job briefing and interview process will be done through Telegram or Google-Hangouts Do you have Telegram or Google-Hangouts app?”

I nearly screamed out of happiness. Could this be true? A real job as a proofreader? (I only realized later I had not “applied” for this job.) I eagerly replied that I was excited about the interview, and I gave her my email address for Mr…… to contact me via Google Hangout. Three hours later, he did.

The next day, May 6th, I took a shower, wore a blue and white dress, and placed my computer in the best room in the house, where Mr…..will be able to see me with a decorated wall behind me. However, to my surprise, the interview was going to be done via text:

“Do you have an online interview experience? The interview is a Q & A interview process so it will be done via text on here can we proceed with a swift respones now?”

This was already a red flag for me, as from experience, an interview is conducted via Skype or Zoom, but I did not want to panic just yet. I presented myself, as he asked. He then sent me a link to his company, so that I could read it and ask any questions if I needed to. Of course, the night before, I had already checked everything to see if it was legit, and it seemed to be. As soon as I finished glancing through his website, he offered me a list of the positions available. This surprised me as I thought he already knew I wanted to be a proofreader. I told him: “I believe I will fit as a Proofreader because of my experience of the English language and the editing skills that I have acquired since 2017.” He replied with the same message that Jill had sent me the day before. Strange. Too excited, I decided to ignore it. He started listing me all the benefits I would receive by working for them, which were great benefits like paid vacation and paid parental leave.

“You will undergo a one-week training from your training supervisor.He/She will training you on how to work with the programs accurately and other Data entry works you will need to get done. Your training is going to be done online through your PC and PHONE.”

Mr… kept ongoing and asking me if I understood everything. I was too excited to realize what he had said did not make sense. He knew I wanted to work as an editor, but he still said: “Have you ever worked as a Data Entry / Front Desk / Admin and Accounting Clerk before?”

This was another red flag. After an hour of “interviewing me”, he said “I need you to hold on online while I forward your interview file to the Head Dept to enable them to review if you are professionally fit and good for this job. BRB”

At this time, I was with my parents, having lunch. Telling them about this great opportunity. My dad did not smile, like always, but my mother seemed excited for me.

After only twenty minutes, Mr….. responded with “Congratulations! Due to your level of experience, You've just been confirmed qualified for this Job. You are welcome to Freenet-Group Company. We will like to see your diligence, Charisma, Commitment towards this job. Congratulations! You are welcome!” His answer seemed to be copy and pasted and untrustworthy. How does the H.R decide to hire someone in twenty minutes?

This is where everything fits into place, and I realize it is all a scam. He informs me I will get a free HP laptop & software for a fast connexion. He then told me:

“You’re to Purchase the software out of your pocket money, you will be reimbursed with your first pay via directly deposit. (...) You are needed to purchase BTC ... This is a task for every single new employee into this firm as part of the training process, Its shouldn't be more than £100.”

He informed me I could not start my week of training without paying, but my mother told me no employer would ask you to pay for things when you haven’t even started working for the company. I decided to sleep on it.

The next day, my father decided to make this an experiment, so we purchased some BTC for 100£, like Mr.. ask. He then informed us that he needed screenshots of all steps I was taking as proof I paying correctly. Another red flag. Mr… told me my supervisor was going to be Mrs…., which I needed to contact her and wait for her instructions. Here is the conversation:

The company is a really successful company, but the people I interacted with were thieves.

Online freelance marketplaces such as Upwork, PeoplePerHour, and Freelancer have become popular choices of millions of freelancers, but some people are still cruel and will steal from you.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2020 Anastassia de Bailliencourt

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