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Scam Victim Gets a Scary Phone Call

I recently met a woman - who I will call L.M. - who had a weird (and a little scary) experience with a work at home 'job'. Work at home job scams are not going away and half of the purpose of this website is to warn people about them! The scammers are getting smarter, craftier and braver. This makes me a little nervous. Anyway, on to the story ...

L.M. had had a work at home job for over 15 years, but after a contract ended she began searching for a new job. After about a month of searching, she found a job that sounded promising on Craigslist. 'Ugh, I know better', she said. While there are legitimate work at home job leads on Craigslist, there are many more scams and rip-offs. You really have to be careful and know what to look out for.

At first, L.M. thought that the job she found was legitimate. The ad claimed to be from a company called Creative Technologies LLC, Contact Style Inc., and the contact person was a man named John Wilson. The first email she received stated information about the job, full details, the type of home office needed, equipment needed and a thorough knowledge of MS Office products. The pay was supposed to be $40.00 per shop. L.M. felt that this amount sounded good - not too high or too low. There was also plenty of information about who to contact, etc. L.M. said 'I am pretty savvy, but this one got me, they are getting more and more devious.'

John Wilson

The first tip-off that something was not right was in the third email she received. All of a sudden, the pay jumped from $40 to $300 per shop. Here is the email that was sent to L.M., with the warning signs in red (usually grammatical or spelling errors):

Dear Applicant,

Thank you for your prompt e-mail response. We are happy to have your resume for this work-at-home position (Customer Service/Call Center Representative) as posted on www.craigslist.org. Contact style Inc is a company that hires people to conduct surveys of financial service firms, especially banks. We use these surveys to evaluate their customer service performance. With the increased use of new technology, such as ATM and internet banking, a vast majority of banking firms are now in a position to differentiate their customer service from that of their competitors. This encourages customer satisfaction, and boosts productivity.

You are to visit businesses/financial institutions to evaluate,these evaluations are done anonymously, with you posing as a regular customer. After which you are required to complete a detailed critique, including a detailed written summary/story line of the visit, customer services and product, salesmanship, hospitality, etc.

Examples of details you would forward to us are:

  • 1) How long it took you to get services.
  • 2) Smartness of the attendant
  • 3) Customer service professionalism
  • 4) Sometimes you might be required to ruffle the attendant a bit, to see how they react to clients when under pressure. (I find this a bit fishy. I do work for a legitimate mystery shopping company, and they would NEVER have us do this type of thing.)

    And we turn the information over to the company executives and they would carry out their own duties in improving there services.

    After which we customize your evaluation criteria to meet the goals and expectations this companies have established for their customers. We then communicate your results back to the companies in an accurate, comprehensive and timely manner. Most companies employ our assistance when people give complains about their services, or when they feel there are needs for them to improve their customer service.

    Your job will be to evaluate and comment on customer service in a wide variety of financial service firms, especially banks. in your area. No commitment is made on this job, and you would have flexible hours as it suits you.

    This job is not specified on any discipline, anybody from any discipline can per take in this job.

    REWARD:

    You will be paid $300 for EVERY duty you carry out, and bonus on your transportation allowance, and funds would be given to you.

    It is important that_get back to us as soon as possible to let us know if you are ready for this task, So that a correspondent email can be sent to you on what to do or your duties as an evaluator.

    We will have to put your information down in our data base system as one of our numerous agents, And you would be covering your area, and some close cities near to you, you will find this job very interesting and rewarding. We have evaluation activities around your city that is why we need your services. We will have to get you the full details of the services which you would have to partake in. We will like to know what your schedule is so that we know what days to fix you in.

    If you are still interested, Please reply_ this email with the following information:-

  • Full Name:
  • Full Mailing Address (No P.O. Box please):
  • City & State:
  • Zip Code:
  • Cell Phone:
  • Home Phone:
  • Best Times To Call:
  • Present Job Status/Position:
  • Age
  • Email:

    And that is the end of that email. Boy, am I tired of typing the HTML code for the color red! What happened next is really frightening to me. When the check arrived in the mail, L.M. was surprised to find that it was for $3000 - $2700 more than the email had indicated. She had the Sherriff's Deputy come by to take a look at the check. He confirmed that it was a fake. L.M. ceased contact with 'John Wilson', but soon received a telephone call from him. She described the call - 'It was a scratchy connection - he said 'I vuz callink you bout de scheck I zent you.' - (you can imagine the accent with those words). I said, 'What? What Check?' I knew who it was. He got louder. 'I vant my muuny.' I said 'You reached the wrong number.' He got louder and started talking or cursing. I hung up. I changed my desk phone number.' Can you imagine? I would have been scared to death. Now this creep knows her home address. He's the one who is breaking the law here, so I don't expect her to receive any further contact from him.

    L.M. said that she has searched the Internet and found that the name John Wilson is involved in many different scams. Is it the same John Wilson? Who knows! L.M. has also told me that she thinks there are people helping the scammers with format and verbiage. Their letters and emails are getting better. I, too, have seen an improvement in the past couple of years. L.M. advises job seekers to not include your address on resumes or emails anymore. A legitimate company will not need it until later. One last piece of advice - 'the underlying giveaway is the pay or cost - if it is too good to be true, just assume it is'.

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