Contrary to the fact that I thought a certain amount of wisdom and the ability to recognize an untruth comes with age, I was scammed this week.
Hopelessly, unexpectedly scammed. Beyond repair it seems. I have reached, or should I say sunk to a new level of gullibility.
Backing up a bit, let me explain. For the last three months, since finishing WCU, I have been job searching for something in the field of criminal justice or social work, as those were my programs of study. I have been working, while searching, as a preschool teacher because that has been my livelihood for thirteen years. I love working with children, but unfortunately, one cannot actually make a living working in childcare if he/she has a family to support. Very unfortunately.
So, three years ago I dropped everything, moved into subsidized housing (to minimize rent expenses so I could attend class full time), downgraded what luxuries we did enjoy, and hit the books for a solid three years until August of this year. Tough transition for all of us, but one I truly felt was going to benefit us in the long run. I was embarking on a journey that I thought would lead to a better life for my little family, as it had become apparent that their father did not want to participate in their lives long term. (By long term, I mean past the point of conception. He pretty much lost interest after that).
So, back to present times. I have sent out over 40 resumes, all to no avail. It seems that each time I hear the standard, "oh, we love the fact that you graduated Summa Cum Laude, however we need two years experience. Come find us then!". OR the job turned out to be something that would not fit my lifestyle as a single mother, which of course does not allow me to work nights or 12 hour shifts. It also appears that Asheville, where I reside, does not have a high call for social workers or court service workers, as it is mostly a tourist economy. Who knew? Guess I should have.
In frustration, I began to accept the fact that, for now, it was obvious that I would continue to work in the daycare and at least that would sustain us until I could either move to a different city or find more permanent employment. I posted my resume' on Careerbuilder, as a last-ditch effort to rake in the possible categories or places in the area that I had overlooked or didn't know about. WELL, do I wish I hadn't done that. Here begins the slippery slope.
I was contacted by a company stating that they had an opportunity for me, had reviewed my resume' through Careerbuilder and sent me an email with a link to a web page explaining their business, should I choose to accept their offer. I was intrigued, naturally, especially because the position would allow me to work from my PC at home and stay with my girls. I clicked over, read the entire site, felt it was legit, but just in case I sought advice from someone close to me. To make this part of the story short, I decided to take the offer, after a few days of thinking it over and looking into it a little deeper -- albeit, not deep enough. I reasoned that it couldn't be a scam because it was through careerbuilder, payed reasonably well for the task requirements, and I could begin immediately. Oh, if only I had had a crystal ball.
I put in notice at my existing job at the daycare, also let them know my girls would no longer need to attend, and plunged forth into a new opportunity. I was unbelievably excited at the prospect of being able to work from home and stay with my kids. I was going to be able to be with them, watch them grow, experience their joys, and enjoy their days instead of passing them off to a teacher every morning for her to do those things and enjoy my children the way I longed to. For those of you aware of how daycare works, there is always a waiting list at the good schools, so when children drop or terminate, their spots are usually immediately filled.
Two days ago, the bomb dropped. One day after I put in notice at my job and removed my girls from the school. Within a two hour period, as I attempted to process the first transaction requirement for my 'job', I came to the realization that something was dreadfully wrong. The transaction would not go through Paypal. They put a hold on the account awaiting further investigation. At first I was blinded by anger, then finally a silent, slow resolve fell over me like a dark cloak of doom.
This was indeed a scam, I was told. A money-laundering scam. A bogus company that preyed on people like me, through agencies such as Careerbuilder that made their facade seem even more legitimate. Because who would think that fake companies could gain access to people's personal info and resumes on job sites that proclaim the utmost security? They operate by stealing websites of reputable companies, rerouting the emails to their personal email and operate as such, using unsuspecting people like myself to do the dirty work of processing the fake shipments and accepting the dirty money payments into the Paypal account. What?! Excuse me? Fake payments? Dirty money?
I could not believe it. It was like a movie, or something that happens to someone else. How could I be so gullible and stupid as to not see the signs that I am certain must have been there. Did it sound to good to be true? Maybe. Did I want it too badly? Probably. In any case, I am left holding a very empty bag with very few possibilities left in it. I have no job, my girls have no school, and well, as a single parent those two issues are inconceivably huge to overcome.
Thanks for listening. Please pass this testimony on to anyone you love or care about in an effort to squash these companies and force job-searching sites to enforce even higher security measures. Because let's face it. Scam artists are everywhere. And anybody is fair game.