What A Work At Home Job Scam Looks Like

Fraudsters are trying to take advantage of the unemployed in the bad economy by posting enticing work at home job ads. But what you’re really signing up for is to be the rube in an advance fee fraud scheme. Here’s the email one job-seeker got back. Bear in mind this is the first contact back from the “employer” after sending in her resume. All spelling and spacing is sic.

Detailed Job Description – HUMAN RESOURCES ASSISTANT

Your resume was received and it has been reviewed, I did appreciate it. So I will give this a GO”

I’m looking for someone that can be trusted and reliable to work very well and with good understanding.

This position is home-based and flexible, working with me is basically about instructions and following them,my only fear is that I may come at you impromptu sometimes, so I need someone who can be able to meet up with my irregular timings.As my Personal Assistant,your activities amongst other things will include;

*Running personal errands, supervisions and monitoring. Scheduling programmes, flights and keeping me up to date with them.Acting as an alternative telephone correspondence while I’m away.Making regular contacts and drop-offs on my behalf. Handling and monitoring some of my financial activities..
Basic wage is $700 Weekly

I’m sure you’ll understand I tend to have a very busy schedule at this point,as I am presently in Australia, I will be back in Three Weeks.
I think you’re the right person for this position,Please note that this position is not office based for now because of my frequent travels and tight schedules, it’s a part-time work from home and the flexibility means that there will be busier weeks than others, so it’s a little difficult judging the exact number of hours you’ll be doing per week.If you can manage your time properly,this job may even give you some extras while you do something else on the side. As I have said, I’d want us to get a head START with things as soon as possible.I do have lots of works piled up presently and a number of unattended chores which you can immediately assist me with, I hope we can meet up with the workload eventually. Permit me to use the coming week to test your efficiency and diligence towards all this, also to work out your time schedule and fit it to mine. I really need to find the perfect person for this job, I’m confident you can take up the challenge and on the long run we should have a relatively sound working relationship between us.. I’m online most of the time as I am hard of hearing so I prefer we contact each other through E-mails,but if there is need for me to call, I will be glad to do that.I am glad you are willing to work with me and i promise to be a good boss. I am also glad on the commitment in working.I have been checking my files and what i would want you to do for me this week is to run some errands out to some of the orphanage home, I do that every month.A payment inform of a Cashier Check/Money Order will be sent over to you from one of my clients and i have some lists to email you once you received the funds,You will make some arrangements by buying some stuff for the kids in the Orphanage at any nearest store around you so you can mail them out. I will get you more information on that,I will like you to get back to me with your Contact Details such as:

First Name :
Last Name :
Street Address :
City, State, Zip Code :
Cell Phone Number:
Home Phone Number:
Current Occupation :
Email Address :

Once I have received your contact information, I will get back to you with the task for this week,Understand you will also be paid as well as its important for me to make the necessary steps before i get back from my business trip back to the states. Hope I am clear with that.

I will await your response.

* Poor grammar and spelling
* Work at home
* Getting hired without an interview
* Big one: They’re going to send you money in the form of a money order which you will then conduct transactions with and send the results on elsewhere.

What will end up happening is a few weeks you will get a call from your bank telling you that the check was bogus and your new boss will magically disappear.

Enter any line from the reply email into Google and you’ll see that this email is some piece of scam boilerplate. Sometimes the places are changed to New York or another town, but the basic gist remains the same.


Edit Your Comment

  1. shepd says:

    “What will end up happening is a few weeks you will get a call from your bank telling you that the check was bogus and your new boss will magically disappear.”

    If that’s all, I imagine a lot of unemployed people are seeking this sort of employment right now, sadly. As long as the pay is more than the bounced MO fee, you’re good (financially, although I think there’s more legally that will happen, and your long term financials look bad).

    • zegota says:

      Buh, huh? I seriously doubt there’s any pay involved. You’re going to be liable for whatever you used the fake MO for, plus the bouncing fee, and you won’t see a dime from the scammer.

    • Tim says:

      The problem is that you usually take checks or money orders, deposit them and then draw checks on your account. So you get, say, $1,000 and have to write a check for $600 and keep the rest as “salary.”

      By the time the bank calls you, the $600 has already been taken from your account. Then they take away the $1,000 from the phony check … you’re $600 out and didn’t get paid.

    • DerangedKitsune says:

      You think they’d actually get paid?

      More than likely, the “boss” will just tell the person to take his salery out of one of the checks when sending back the remainder.

    • heismanpat says:

      Huh? If the check was bogus, you will lose the original amount *and* you’d be charged a bounced check fee. Why would you think otherwise? If it didn’t work that way, everyone could write themselves a check for $1,000,000 at another bank, pay off the fee, and pocket the rest. For obvious reasons, it doesn’t work that way.

      • jamar0303 says:

        So what happens if it’s one of those “checks cashed, no ID” type places?

        • heismanpat says:

          That’s actually a really good question…I’ve never used one though.

        • Julia789 says:

          Don’t those places require you to stamp your fingerprint on every check you deposit? That is what I heard. (Not that it would result in an easy track-down, if the person wasn’t in some sort of database already.)

          Maybe they also check for available funds before cashing the checks, I imagine they come across a lot of bad or fake checks?

        • FatLynn says:

          Those are for payroll checks, I think.

        • Putaro says:

          They make *damned* sure the check is good. I had someone cash a check I had written them at one of those places. I got calls, the bank got calls. What a pain.

  2. semanticantics says:

    Most thanks for this information of misunderstandings. Enclosed briefly accept the amount of $50,000,000 US dollars as money rewarded to truth speakers.

    • comatose says:

      You owe me a new keyboard!

      • keeper1616 says:

        You should be able to afford one with the money he is sending you. Buy two now, keep one for yourself, and ship me the other one. When you get that check, it will be more than enough to cover both of them. You may keeps the rest of the money as a thanks you.

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    “…working with me is basically about instructions and following them.”

    If I ever become a manager, this will be my opening line for every candidate.

  4. É®îç says:

    I know someone who followed up on this type of scam last week. She received a check from the “Universiary of Pennsylvania” to start her off on up front expenses. And yes, that is how they spelled university on the fake check.

  5. dolemite says:

    I love how the boss is hard of hearing, so they can’t talk on the phone.

    • bennilynn says:

      Actually, it’s so they can contact you using Internet Relay Services for the Deaf. Pretty scummy, but they’ve been abusing those systems for years to make free phone calls all around the US. It’s gotten so bad, many businesses refuse relay calls, at the detriment to the Deaf Community.

      • KingPsyz says:

        I work for a car dealership and all the scammers love using this.

        I used to get 20+ a year, now I get one or two… ahh the good old days.

        The worst part is whoever handles these calls hires the most brain dead retards, so hey subby and anyone else, contact ATT or whoever else about working as a relay operator.

        If you can speak clearly and read from a monitor and reply in type, you’ll be set. Please don’t apply if you enjoy a heavy dose of slang and heavy regional accent in your speach…

        • bennilynn says:

          Actually, I am one, have been for ten years, but thanks for the shoutout. :( It’s not really that easy of a job.

          • ceriphim says:

            I wouldn’t take it personally. This is the internet – where everyone’s entitled to spout off however much unsubstantiated jackassery they want

            • bennilynn says:

              Heh. I do understand his frustration, though. Those scam calls are frustrating, for everyone involved, including the Relay operator. Believe me, we know. A few years ago, though, there was nothing we could legally do about it. Now, thanks to the same operators that dude is calling ‘retards’, we have the ability to sort of head them off at the pass, although it took a lot of effort and a lot of lobbying by us and our companies. That’s why the volume of scam calls has so drastically reduced.

              • KingPsyz says:

                you’re not who I was referring to as a retard as you actually know how to do your job and convey a thought…

                thanks for your efforts in reducing the junk and scams, it’s much appreciated.

                what was hard was when we’d get people who honestly had a hard time reading what was on their screen, and then could barely speak clearly enough for us to understand. then 15 minutes later getting the “just give me your account and routing number so I can wire you the funds…”

          • ahleeeshah says:

            I’ve only ever gotten one caller like this in the four years I’ve been handling reception duties, and it was legit. Difficult call to handle, since the back and forth is slower than usual and I would often have to put them on hold while I answered other calls. The operator was great, though, and the guy calling was very nice.

            • bennilynn says:

              Glad it worked out for you! :)

              By the way, it’s okay to put us on hold. Just let us know by saying, “I have to put you on hold” or something similar and then just put the call on hold. We have ways of relaying that kind of information to the caller. I understand how hard it is when you’re on a switchboard, but so long as you keep us informed, it can all proceed pretty smoothly.

          • KingPsyz says:

            sorry, nothing personal… the last 2-3 I had were honestly, barely literate.

            If your job is to read, type, and speak you should have a grasp out of at least 2 out of 3 right?

    • Wrathernaut says:


      (maybe that joke only works in person)

  6. Me - now with more humidity says:

    I pulled my resume off Monster and CareerBuilder thanks to this crap. And the full-commission insurance sale and “event marketing” jobs that would call at dinner time. “Our President was very impressed with your resume and has schedule you for an interview next Tuesday from 12:30 to 12:45. Wear a sui9t and be upbeat!”

    I’d rather be groped by the TSA.

    • richcreamerybutter says:

      CareerBuilder is horrible not only for scams but the most bottom-of-the-barrel recruiters possible. Although you’re going to see this kind of traffic when displaying your info on any job site, I’ve received legitimate calls from decent HR reps with Monster. Their listings are also slightly less shady.

      I’ve had both my worst and best experiences through LinkedIn.

    • tbax929 says:

      I had even more than the usual insurance sales offers because insurance is actually my field. Fortunately for me, I do know the legit companies from the fake ones, but I ended up just reaching out to a colleague for my current job.

    • mandy_Reeves says:

      READ: not advertising at all just want to provide a tip on work at home stuff

      If you want a work at home job…a good place to start is work place like home. It’s a work at home community with job postings. Mostly telemarketing or call center order processors and customer service reps.

      I got a job through them back in July and still work for the same company…I do lead generating…I love it so much!

  7. halfcuban says:

    Theres also alot of “grant writing” scams out there targeting people in the non-profit job sector. When I graduated this past May with my MSW I sent my resume in to a number of these Craigslist grant-writing positions and got a call back from individuals who were interested in “drumming up” some business using “contacts” in the area read: trying to defraud non-profits or Medicaid/Medicare recipients.

  8. humphrmi says:

    I’m surprised they didn’t discuss the modalities. I won’t take a job without knowing the modalities!

  9. Cyniconvention says:

    And I must wonder; How are fraudsters faring in this economy? I guess it depends on how much money is conned from someone…

    • Hooray4Zoidberg says:

      I’d guess they’re doing well with more people out of work and desperate for jobs. They’re probably getting a lot more responses to these scam emails than they would in a good economy.

  10. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    419eater, endless hours of joy. Too bad YouTube punted them for getting the scammers to do things like set themselves on fire or jump off roofs. Scamming the scammers. /sniff/ I miss those videos. So far, I have just had them send the cheques to 1600 Pennsylvania avenue, but maybe I should have them sent to a POBox as souvenirs.

  11. ldavis480 says:

    I always reply with a throw-away email address and initiate a dialogue with the scammer. I usually create a rouse whereby I am going to require that the fraudster make contact with me by the way of a phone call. The contact information is always an FBI district office. My goal is to waste as much of their time as possible and I figure it doesn’t hurt if they have a little chat with an FBI special agent in the process.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:


    • Blueskylaw says:

      I always send them the name, address, e-mail address and phone number of my states Attorney General. I figured he needs the money more for his re-election campaign than I do.

    • rahntwo says:

      heh heh Ive been doing this on skype for years. Make them think I’m interested, ask them to call me, then give them the number to a us FBI office.

  12. RebekahSue says:

    I have been responding to ads, and getting a LOT of responses (10% or more) asking me to go to a site and complete a credit report request. When I google the sites, I get lots of RipOffReport and Scam Alert hits. They just get forwarded to the AG’s office and, if it’s Craigslist, I can find the ad and report it. (I think that some of them are also from CareerBuilder but, since they don’t cite the ad requirements, I can’t always match them to my spreadsheet.)

    • NatalieErin says:

      I noticed that all of those credit report ads failed to name the company. When I would email them inquiring about the company, I’d get the same boiler plate response telling me they liked my resume and my qualifications seemed like a good fit. Except I hadn’t attached a resume.

  13. Jerry Vandesic says:

    Not all of the scams skip the interview. A friend of mine actually had two phone interviews before they tried to reel him in. But as soon as he heard about the need to buy and ship equipment overseas, he new it was not going to work out.

  14. italianbaby says:

    you would be surprised at how many people fall for this stuff. people need to educate themselves and do their homework.
    if it’s too good to be true…

  15. shangyle says:

    A friend of mine fell for a similar scam, one of the “I’m out of the country, rent my apartment” scams. He went to try and cash the money order (he was supposed to send the remainder back or some BS) and found himself taken in by the police. They questioned him for hours before finally clearing him and letting him go.

  16. exsprintminion says:

    if you want to mess with these clowns, check out 419eater.com. I took over 1 millions in fake checks out of circulation and messed with the scammers big time.

  17. DanKelley98 says:

    Isn’t this really simple? Duh.

  18. brownhb says:

    Are there any (widely publicized) work from home jobs that are actually legitimate? I have never seen one on craigslist or Career Builder that I would even give a second thought.

    • RandomHookup says:

      There are some work-at-home jobs that are legit, such as translation and medical transcription. The big thing to watch for is how legitimate the employer acts — interviews, actual employment forms, a real paycheck.

    • Karita says:

      I have an amazing part-time work at home job. My company does advertise for employees on Craigslist. But it’s a legit local law firm, and it was pitched to me in a way that was nothing like the scammy jobs. (I didn’t apply – a colleague recommended me.) It was very easy to determine that it was, in fact, the real thing.

    • kmw2 says:

      Yes, there are some legit work at home things. Mostly, they’re skilled contract labor like translation or whatever, and require a lot more work than just mailing away for a booklet on how to sell people advice on how to work at home…

  19. Dukebruno says:

    The other scam to look out for is a company looking for someone to “expedite shipments.” You are supposed to accept deliveries at your home home address and then re-ship the items to another party.

    I get emails every day asking me to quote on computer equipment that we sell. It’s almost always the same half dozen items (Cisco Catalyst Switches, projectors, HP ink cartridges). I tracked one down to a Mailboxes USA in California and emailed the police detective bureau in that town giving them a heads up. Never heard boo back from the cops.

  20. sconner says:

    But he promises to be a good boss.

  21. yessongs says:

    Yeah, I had several of these along with the insurance sales position offers. I believe them like the emails I get saying I won 10 million dollars and only need to send 500.00 to somewhere in Africa.

  22. BytheSea says:

    Omg I totally got this same one (Bay Area), except it was for a “personal assistant” for a makeup company. She said she was traveling with her husband (but her daughter was sick so they were coming home soon — she never metnioned that again) and she wanted me to start working for her before they got home. She even sent me an “e-interview” with questions ripped off ‘how to prepare for an interview’ type websites. She finally gave up when I wouldn’t give her the above info without specific details and actual forms.

  23. TacomaRogue says:

    I have gotten 26 different emails exactly like this, or at least close to it. A few have even asked me for my age, sex and an optional photo, the job has ranged from nanny to PA but it’s always the same “I’m out of the country” story.

    My favorite aspect of the job is “Making regular contacts and drop-offs on my behalf.” My brain immediately jumps to drug deals or other such sketchy activities.

  24. Wrathernaut says:

    Hello.I am a entrepeneur of anti-scam job. Your job will entail helping me find scammers and bring them to justice. I will truthfully send you a good money order which you will use to pay the front costs scammers ask, then when they ask you to send the money to them, we will have police waiting for them.

    If you except my offer, deposit this moneys into your bank accoutn and give me the account number so we can get those scammers.

    God praise!

  25. LukeinDC says:

    There is an even easier tell. Does the sender address match the reply-to address? If the domains or the names don’t match, it’s probably a scam

  26. mbz32190 says:

    Around here, there seems to be this “Property Inspector” job scam going around that promises 40k a year, free training, no experience required, etc. With a random 800 number. I’ve seen this posted on craigslist, in newspapers, etc. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.