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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Tel: +852.81720004 scammer

I’m in the middle of a jobhunt right now. Like many people, I’ve turned to replying to ads posted on Craigslist. Craigslist, of course, has a colorful history of being a haven for all sorts of scum and villainy by its very nature of being a free-for-all posting mechanism. Much like Usenet, it’s got a high noise-to-signal ratio. Still, the last several jobs I’ve gotten have come from responding to ads there, so it’s sort of a ‘shoot and hope you hit’ situation.

So, there was one ad that was particularly innocuous looking: http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/ofc/1986383743.html. Labeled Data Entry (Portland) it looked promising enough. The pay rate, $15.50 per hour, should have been the first tip-off something was screwy- and the fact that they were basically asking for someone who could breathe and blink at the same time, skills-wise, should have been another- but I decided to go ahead and send a resume anyway. I figured it if was a scam, there’s very little anyone can get from a simple resume.

Thought nothing more of it until I received an e-mail from the company today:

We would like to thank you for sending your resume to (company) . After overlooking your initial credentials, I think you could possibly be a great fit for our company. Our Human Resource manager would like to schedule an interview with you before she leaves for vacation early next week. You need to complete the pre-interview screening before we can schedule an interview, which can be found at resume.(company).com or the career link on our homepage. Your applicant code is (number). Please write down your code, as that is the only way you can gain access to your application and employee profile. Once you complete your screening someone from HR will contact you within 72 hours to schedule an interview.

Okay, sure. Fine, I can deal with that. Although the fact that it is now Wednesday and that the HR person is going on vacation ‘early next week’ and that there’s a 72-hour gap… well, okay. Maybe.

So I go to the site to start going through their little process. That leads to an ‘applicant screening area’ where, after you put in your name and invitation code and e-mail, you get directed to a page with a bunch of your typical interview questions. Yeah, annoying stuff like ‘where do you see yourself in five years’ and ‘tell me why I should hire you’ and so on.

I filled this out, because so far my bells aren’t quite ringing, but then the -second- step of the process is that you have to go and get a credit check done. I am always wary of this as a factor of employability to begin with, but I noticed there was also a redirect involved as I was watching the bottom bar on Firefox, and this odd site, marketing707.com, pops up before I get to Experian- or something that LOOKS like Experian.

Hm, says I. This does not seem right.

I look up marketing707.com in WHOIS. Why, it was registered only on October 1, to a non-address in the Bahamas! Why, there’s no website for it as a seperate entity. You can’t Google it and if you try to load it directly, nothing happens. How interesting.

*******PLEASE DO NOT SEND LETTERS******
****Contact the owner by email only****
c/o marketing707.com
N4892 Nassau
Bahamas
Tel: +852.81720004

Well, that’s a giant blinking red flag to STOP IMMEDIATELY, of course. I backed out of there like my browser was on fire. I had put in no personal information.

So then I decide to take a closer look at the company website.

Hm, says I. There’s nothing on the damn site- every section is under development and the only portion that’s up talks about this company being involved in a lot of action in Belize. Yes, Belize. Home of many a scam international finance trading company.
(company) is pleased to inform you that in addition to the formation of International Business Companies, (company) also facilitates in the formation of Local Companies, formation of Panamanian IBC’s, Registering of Overseas Companies, establishment of Trusts, registrati of Trademarks/Service marks, Industrial Design and Patent.

Feel free to contact us if you require our assistance with the
above-services.

Uh-huh. Didn’t you guys advertise as a green consulting firm? So what’s this company doing in Portland, Oregon?

I look them up to see if there’s an office here. I find nothing at all. I run checks on every permutation I can think of of the URL, the named person in the e-mail, etc. Now I’m curious about the domain name itself, so I do another WHOIS.

Oh my, it appears to have been registered on September 30, 2010. Oh look:

****Contact the owner by email only****
c/o (company)
N4892 Nassau
Bahamas
Tel: +852.81720004

Looks like we got ourselves a bonafide scam. Apparently, this isn’t the first such thing pulled from the general area of the Bahamas:
San Antonio news report on Bahama job scam .
Scamcheck has info on another.

General Googling has turned up some commonalities: the address is often N4892 Nassau and the phone number in these scam domains is Tel: +852.81720004 Basically, now you have to check just about every site to make sure it’s not a Bahamanian scam of some variety. This scam shows up in random areas, including sales of consumer electronics and other kinds of white collar jobs . If only there was some kind of unified list of established scam domain names from these people… For now, there’s always just googling Tel: +852.81720004
I just sent the company back this e-mail:

I can not proceed with this application until I am convinced that your company is legitimate. Please respond to this e-mail with the local address of your Portland, OR branch office.

Thank you for your attention.

Wanna bet I get no answer?