Hey ladies. As the days, weeks, and months pass and I have received nary a call back or even so much as a whisper of a phone interview for the roughly 700 jobs I’ve applied to, I have found myself to be at a bit of an impasse.
On the one hand, am I growing cripplingly discouraged to the extent that I looked up a website which allows you to sell your used underwear to interested patrons, and only backed out when it required me to upload a photo of my driver’s license as proof of identity? Yes. Has my will to live begun fading like tinker bell’s wings when some four-eyed little brat says he doesn’t believe in fairies? Sure has. But, I suppose there are worse things than not hearing back form entry-level positions that you’re overqualified for.
One example was roughly two winters ago when I also found myself on the job hunt. After applying to any and everything I could find, I was elated to come across a job that was advertised as a “work from home assistant” to a “prominent businessman”. Although the actual occupation of said businessman was not actually listed, and I was a bit unclear at how an assistant would be able to work from home full time, the pay range was right up my alley and I eagerly applied.
After being reached out to by said businessman personally via a g-mail account with several random numbers and out of place capitalized letters in the handle (ex.- toMMJonEs11897652@gmail.com) , I had agreed to start as his assistant on the contingency that I could preform a trial task to “prove I had what it took”.
My assignment was as follows: I was to purchase blank checks and write one to myself for approx. 2k. I was then given his express written permission to essentially forge his signature on the check, and then deposit into my own bank account. After this, I was asked to immediately wire the money which I deposited in my account to the bank account of one of his “clients”, which he provided me the account and routing number for.
Now I have always recognized that my fatal flaw is that I believe myself to be smarter than most people I know (which honestly isn’t that off base because most people I know are fucking idiots) truth be told I’m not allllllwaysss the brightest bulb on the Hanukkah tree. Especially when it comes to things that require common sense. With that being said, I thought this assignment sounded easy enough, and I quickly ordered the blank checks off Amazon. The only problem was, the checks would not arrive for a few days.
When I told my future boss this information, his tone changed entirely and he seemed to grow pretty.. impatient. At this point we had advanced beyond communicating via gmail and he was now texting me from a number which had an area code I did not recognize. I wish to God I still had the texts, but they went something like this:
Me: Hi there! I have ordered the checks and they’ll be arriving on Sunday, so the task should be completed by Monday the latest- just wanted to give you the update!
Prominent Businessman: What? That is too late!!!! Can you get the checks sooner?????
Me: I apologize, I ordered them off Amazon and that’s the earliest they can arrive.
Prominent Businessman: CAN YOU GO TO A NEARBY STATIONARY STORE???? THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT???
That night, I had dinner with my cousin Sarah and was beginning to grow increasingly uncomfortable with the many many spelling mistakes in P.B.’s text messages, as well as his intense conveyed urgency that I receive the checks and wire the money ASAP.
I had not yet told Sarah about my exciting new job and did not want to this pesky little detail to cast a shadow on what was meant to be a night of celebration. I began to tell her about my promising employment opportunity and the trial assignment before I noticed that she looked like she was going to choke to death on her rigatoni a la vodka.
“So basically, I’m going to try and go to like Walmart or something tomorrow and get the checks so I can just get this over with. I know forging someone’s signature is usually illegal but he told me that since he’s going to be my employer and he gave me written consent that I had nothing to worry a-“
Sarah remained silent and motioned with her hand for me to stop talking. I watched as she retrieved her phone out of her bag and called her boyfriend who I knew worked as some sort of cyber security expert. I assumed that she was merely going to ask him to run a cyber background check to make sure that I wasn’t having some sort of To Catch a Predator situation with my future boss, and continued sipping my glass of wine.
After a few minutes, she paused and put him on speakerphone.
“RACHEL. THIS IS A CLASSIC SCAM. IT’S A FAKE CHECK SCAM,” Kevin said through laughter.
“What?” I asked bewildered.
As it turns out, this scam is quite common and is one which seemingly everyone who I’ve ever told this story to has heard of. Except for me. For those who are equally as in the dark as I was, here is a warning featured on the U.S. Government’s Federal Trade Commission website:
Followed by this description:
Fake checks drive many types of scams – like those involving phony prize wins, fake jobs, mystery shoppers, online classified ad sales, and others. In a fake check scam, a person you don’t know asks you to deposit a check – sometimes for several thousand dollars and usually for more than what you are owed – and wire some of the money back to that person. The scammers always have a good story to explain the overpayment – they’re stuck out of the country, they need you to cover taxes or fees, you need to buy supplies, or something else. But by the time your bank discovers you’ve deposited a bad check, the scammer already has the money you sent, and you’re stuck paying the rest of the check back to the bank.
In the words of Ja Rule after the whole Fyre Festival fiasco (which he somehow managed to get out of virtually unscathed, but that is a topic for another time) I had been hoodwinked, bamboozled, and led astray. To make matters worse, after having the whole thing explained to me by Kevin for several several minutes, I immediately attempted to call my fraudulent employer to give him a piece of my mind and he/she/they/it declined the call and immediately blocked me.
Anyway, all in all the point is that while it is increasingly disheartening that I have not yet acquired my dream job, at least I am not once again being duped into joining some sort of money laundering by proxy scam. I also pledge to put my seemingly boundless amount of free time to good use by writing more, and plan to go back to writing once weekly blogs. Or maybe perhaps my manifesto.
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