If You Get an Email for a Financial Manager Job, It Could Be a Scam
I have been on the job market several times, and I've felt the desperation of clicking on something that sounds promising only to find out your vastly under-qualified or the job has been filled. I also know what it's like to send e-mail after e-mail and get no response. And I know what it feels like to try really hard to complete an application and even go to an interview only to get a painfully definitive answer: We've decided to go with another candidate for this position.
In other words, I know what it's like to be vulnerable. So when certain "opportunities" come up in your e-mail, it can seem like a relief because someone is emailing you for a change. But, because you're vulnerable when you're jobless, it's possible that the email might actually be a scam, and you should be careful.
The job search is hard enough as it is; don't let your desperation get you into trouble.
You've put your resume on Indeed, Careerbuilder and Monster. You've scoured craigslist, and you have sifted through a few local companies' "Career" website pages. It's a tough job market out there, and sometimes you may start to wonder if you will ever find anything with which you can pay your bills. You feel desperate, and it is precisely this mentality that could make you susceptible to work-from-home scams. You may get a lot of e-mails from jobs that sound promising, but it is important to make sure the job is legitimate before you respond to them.
One work-from-home scam I've received in my e-mail multiple times is an offer for a "Financial Manager" position. I haven't seen much buzz about this one online, but I did a little extra research this time in an effort to get to the bottom of it. The following example is the most convincing communication of this type I received.
The e-mail was entitled "Job Proposal" and included my name in the subject line. The e-mail was written in slightly off-kilter English, but seemed professional enough that it could easily just be from someone who speaks English as a second or third language. However, there was no professional signature or company icon, and that was the first red flag to me. Even small companies usually have some kind of logo or signature that shows you they are not a single person.
The woman who emailed me said she was from "Design Planning, LLC" and she told me that she thought I matched the 'Financial Planner' position for their company. But, I thought maybe it was legitimate because the email included a link to a real website that looked like Design Planning, LLC was a real company.
The website described in vague terms that they were based out of Moscow and offered interior design services. It showed a picture of an impressive office building, work they'd "done," and a list of their staff members. They claimed to have an impressive portfolio and had been doing work in the United States.
However, for some reason that they couldn't fully explain, they need me to take care of their financial transactions in the United States. This was the second red flag, and a big one.
I read on through her email, and it explained "why" they asked me to do this for them. As they explained it, they purported that there were U.S. laws requiring them to have a location here in order for them to take payments from U.S. companies. Sounds like an okay reason, even though it seems highly unlikely. And, as soon as the minds starts to think of ways this could be true, they announce that they'll pay me five percent of each payment I took, giving me an average of $3,000 - $5,000 per month with only three hours of work per week.
Here's how to Spot This Scam
This is the email I got (URLs and e-mail addresses removed):
I'm Amelin Torres. I'm staff manager of our Staff Department. We found your information & We think you are quallified for the vacancy of Finance Manager.
To find more information concerning this work, visit this link:
this position may be the great complement to your current work.
Please see link for further information about our company.
If you are interested, write me for further info.
A few minutes later, she sent another e-mail asking me to confirm I received the information.
Be aware, they don't stop there!
The people who conduct these scams are becoming pretty sophisticated. If you responded to an e-mail like the one above because you thought it may be a legitimate opportunity, there are indicators during the second step that really let you know it is a job scam!
I responded to the e-mail I got to see what they really wanted from me. It wasn't a smart move, but I did it anyway because I wanted to know what they were up to and wanted confirmation that I should report them to the Better Business Bureau. This is their very detailed reply e-mail:
This is Amelin Torres again. As your future personnel manager I am glad that you decide to accept our offer. Thank you very much for your interest in our Financial manager vacancy. I reviewed your resume on the Yahoo! and I'm glad to invite you to join our team!
Well, now you have successfully completed the first stage of recruiting process. Now we should pass very easy formal procedure. Let me to describe the employment procedure:
First of all,our HR department will carry out:
- your name, place of residing, contact phone numbers
- reliability of information you provided (your name, place of residing, contact phone)
In order to perform these checks we need you to submit us the following information ASAP by completing the documents:
- Employment Agreement(signed copy)
- Employment Application(signed copy)
I have attached this documents documents to this message in MS Word format and PDF format. Please fill that documents, sign and sent me the copies.
You may send a copy of of your signed Employment Agreement and Employment Application two ways:
1. To my Fax: 1,206,350,7574 (US inside fax)
2. You scan this document and after that you send it to my e-mail:
This information will be totally secured and will not be shared with the third parts.
When you send this documents and the information verifies,your candidacy gets approved. After that we will start working. This will entitle you to start receiving and processing customer’s payments.
AS FINANCIAL MANAGER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR RECEIVING PAYMENTS FROM
CUSTOMERS AND PROCESSING THE RECEIVED FUNDS TO OUR HEADQUARTER IN
RUSSIAN FEDERATION. YOU WILL START RECEIVING PAYMENTS BY FOLLOWING SERVICES:
1. Bank Checks
2. Wire transfers
3. Certified funds and Cash funds
-Salary and Compensation
The Financial Manager will be entitled to 5 of all completed transactions. The maximum turnover handled by a single manager is limited the by company’s policy and is set at $100,000 per month.
Minimum salary- $3,000/monthly, plus income tax compensation(under the US tax form 1099)
-Type of Employment and Time Commitment:
Part-time. you will work from home as an Independent Contractor. Approximately working schedule- 3-5 hours per week. You can combine this job with your current job, because you'll spend no more than 5 hours per week. This job can become perfect addition to your current job.
To sum it up, your next step for getting the position with our company is submitting the requested information for verification purposes. We already have some applicants and the time limit is short, so please do your best to provide it ASAP. Please let me know your final decision within 2 days. I will wait for your documents.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Personal e-mail: [e-mail address]
She also attached five attachments: a job description, two job applications, and two contractor agreements.
Notice in this job e-mail how the company assumed the you got the position in the beginning, then stressed the urgency of responding with all of your information. The job application and contractor agreement LOOK completely legitimate. (See images above - they are screen shots of the actual documents sent to me.) I just want you to see how real the job scam looks!
Again, she sent another e-mail asking me to confirm that I got the information. This time I did not reply. Apparently this type of company may be laundering money, and what they want you to do is launder it for them, taking a portion of their pay. This way, they have access to your accounts AND they get their cash, then leave you as the scapegoat if someone starts to ask questions. This website, Hoax Slayer, offers a great explanation.
5 Things to Look Out for So You Don't Get Scammed
So, to wrap it all up, there are a few red flags to look out for and to tell others to look out for so you don't end up sending your money or bank account information to the wrong people.
Take a really close look at exactly what is being asked of you if any of this applies:
- It involves a bank account. This is almost certainly a scam. No legitimate employer should ever need your bank account information at the very beginning. They only need your bank account if you are going to do direct deposit, and they should never ask for that in their introductory emails.
- It sounds too good to be true. Stick to the old adage here. $3000 for three hours of work? Would be nice, but not even close to realistic.
- It seems incongruous with your current line of work. This could simply be an opportunity to change careers, but it is definitely something that you should look into.
- The email is from a "recruiter" contacting you from another country. While this is increasingly more likely, many companies stay within their own country when they reach out to recruit, or they have a U.S.-based recruiter.
- The company has a vague and generic-sounding name. This is not always a telltale sign, but it is a cause for caution.
Job scamming comes in all shapes and sizes, and people who feel desperate or lost are definitely targeted. Good luck out there, and be sure to keep yourself and your financial and personal information safe!