Sunday, October 28, 2007

SCAM

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.

49 comments:

slouching mom said...

OH NO! Will the daycare take you and the girls back when the director hears your story? I hope so. What a horrible situation. I'm so very sorry. You didn't lose any of your money, did you?

These people who scam have no conscience. They are scum.

Please keep us posted. I wish there were something I could do.

thirtysomething said...

SM -- unfortunately, no. The girls' spots are gone, filled immmediately. And my director would offer them back, but she can't do that and remain within the ethics of her job duties.

Lisa said...

Oh my, this is awful. I am SO sorry that this happened to you, and I wish I had words to make it better.

Please let us know what happens, and I do believe in karma, so those scammers have payback coming.

WorksForMom said...

I came from SM's site. I am so so incredibly sorry that happened to you. How awful. I'm hoping you didn't lose any money in addition?

jen said...

here via slouchy...this is completely horrible and i am so, so sorry.

that daycare piece makes me want to crumble, i know how very hard that is.

Kyla said...

Here from SM, too.

I am so sorry. It makes me so sick to think of those people out there doing this to countless others in situations like yours, too. They stole from you, stole your livelihood and your kids' schooling. I am so sorry.

Family Adventure said...

I'm also here from Slouching Mom.
I am shocked and horrified. I don't have words to express my outrage. And the injustice of it happening to you.

This is my first visit to your blog (not my last!), do you have family who can help out in a pinch? Can you get your job back?

I hope your luck changes ASAP. I dare say you are overdue!

- Heidi

FENICLE said...

That SUCKS! I'm so sorry you had this experience. Here you are trying to create a better life for you & your girls and this happens. There are some things I just do not understand.

You are in my thoughts & prayers that your luck changes soon and good things come your way!!!

Mamma said...

Here via Slouching Mom. I'm so very, very sorry!

I don't understand some people.

Nancy said...

I'm here via Slouching Mom as well. I am so sorry to hear of your frustrating situation. Can you file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or some other federal government agency? (And definitely with CareerBuilder, so they know to look for this...)

I like to think that things happen for a reason, and hopefully this means an even better opportunity will soon be coming your way. Best wishes.

thailandchani said...

Oh, it's just horrible to read about something like this! There's got to be a special hell for people who prey on others when they're vulnerable.

I hope you will file charges with someone, somewhere. The only thing that stops people like that is a good hefty fraud charge and a permanent criminal record.

At any rate, I'm sorry you had to experience something like that.

It's sickening!

Jennifer said...

SM sent me your way, too. I'm so incredibly sorry to hear what you're going through right now. Things like this really make me sad, sad, sad for humanity. What is WRONG with people? I'm wishing hard for something good to come of this, for you.

Beck said...

Oh no - poor you. I'm so sorry to hear this and hope that things improve VERY soon.

InTheFastLane said...

That is completely awful! I wish I had something to offer you that would help right now. But, all i can offer is my apologies.

flutter said...

I am also here via SM. My god, I am just so sorry. This is the most horrid thing I have ever heard

Candygirlflies said...

Slouchy sent me over... and I want you to know how very, very sorry I am... Is there a Better Business Bureau, or a legal aid service that could help you try and document some of this?? Just so that those eff-ers have a bit less of a chance of scamming someone else in the future?

I, too, believe that what goes around comes around... Hopefully, one day, those awful people will "get theirs".

And in the meantime, we are all out here, thinking of you and praying for you and your girls. Because the GOOD stuff comes around to those who deserve it, too.

xo CGF

blooming desertpea said...

Jeeee, why do things like this have to happen and you of all people - I'm so sorry this happened to you and I hope that this experience is serving for something better. You're in my prayers, girl. You know what they say - when one door closes another one opens. I hope it will be soon!

Hugsss

Julie Pippert said...

I am so, so sorry. Thanks for the heads-up.

Have you contacted law enforcement?

I am sincerely hopeful that you find something good for you soon.

Julie
Using My Words

Aliki2006 said...

This is *horrible*--absolutely awful. I am so very sorry about all this. Please don't blame yourself--I would have done the same.

Please let us know how things work out--I'm so sorry.

Christine said...

oh my friend! this is awful and you are NOT gullible and stupid. this could happen to anyone. please take care and keep us posted. i wish i could do more. . .

Laura said...

Oh how terrible. Slouching Mom posted a link to your site and I am so sorry for yoru hardship.

Is there any legal action you can take? Have you notified the police - how can we stop this from happening again.

I am sending you all the positive vibes I can.

Good luck.

Sara said...

here via SM. so so so sorry to hear this, actually crying with/for you right now. how terribly awful, how can people live with themselves when they do such things, i can imagine how lost you are, i'm praying for you and for your girls.

Tere said...

Very sorry to hear this. I do think you should contact law enforcement, if just to file a report. Also, Careerbuilder and the FTC, which handles Internet fraud.

That might not fix the problems you have at hand, but might help you feel a bit more empowered.

Best of luck, I'll be hoping for a resolution!

Magpie said...

Oh honey, that sucks. I'm so sorry.

And I hope that the dream job comes through in a hurry.

zellmer said...

As if being a single Mom isn't hard enough, this has to happen. I hope you can find strength in going after those bastards. Maybe when Careerbuilder hears your story, they can highlight your resume and help you get that dream job. I'm sure there are ways they can put you front and center. Have you thought about telling your story to an editor at a newspaper? I think a New York Times article about this scam could not only get these bastards, but also give you some exposure toward getting a job.
Just a thought.
So sorry this happened to you. I'll be hoping things get better for you soon.

Matt said...

hello,

my name is matt mcnair and i am a web developer that works at Careerbuilder.com. I have a google blog alert setup for Careerbuilder, which is how i found your site.

I am terribly sorry to hear about what happened to you and I would like to do what I can to help out. Can you please provide me with any information about the company? Can you forward me the emails that you received from them?

If I can determine who they are, then I will shut them down.

I know that you are probably more concerned about groceries this week then bringing them to justice. Do you have friends, family, or a church for support?

Stimey said...

Also here via SM. I'm so sorry about this. It happens to the best of us. I wish you luck!

Jenifer said...

This just sucks! I hope that when that window closed another opened and you will be blogging soon about the best job yet. Good Luck.

mitzh said...

This so awful. I feel so bad for you.

I have heard so many things like this happening and it made me really wonder how do these people sleep at night, don't they have any conscience?

Hope you'll get through all these and things will turn out just fine.

Wishing you all the luck and keeping you in my prayers.

Take care. ((((hugs))))

edj said...

I'm so bummed for you and mad at them! I hate this!
I hope things are better soon.
Here from Slouching Mom too, btw.

Snoskred said...

Hi,

I'm a scam baiter. We bait these scammers. I've been doing it for a few years now. I even have my own post office box set up where they can send me checks - of course it doesn't have my real name or address attached to it because these scammers are criminals.

One of the reasons that I do this is because in December 2004 - not long after I got into scambaiting - a scam victim travelled to South Africa and went missing. The victims brother reported it to the police. At the time scambaiters had an association with the South African Police so fellow scambaiting friends of mine were asked to help out and try to find out more about the scammers from the little information the victims brother had. They were able to get quite a bit of info all of which was passed to the police. Three days later after following up on some of the info given to them the police found the victim - he had been murdered and not in a nice way. In a way that gives me nightmares. I won't tell how because it is just too horrible.

I know the name of this scam victim and almost three years later I still think about him at least once a day. It is why I still bait scammers. It is why I volunteer at victim support websites.

Stories like yours I hear every single day. It could have been a lot worse. Just recently I spoke with an elderly lady who lost her entire life savings when a fraudulent check bounced. Many scam victims end up arrested. These are reasons why I try to get the word out there on the internet so that people like yourself are not scammed.

You can help - this post of yours helped. Someone would have read this and now knows about these scams. I know it doesn't seem of much comfort but you may have prevented others from being scammed.

I have written a blog post today - we have actually just launched a new scam warning blog.

Please Help - What You Can Do To Stop Internet Scammers Now

Please "steal" my post and put it on your blog, and encourage others to do the same. :)

Regards,
Snoskred
www.snoskred.org

s said...

I'm sorry. I have never heard of such a thing -- and yes, thanks for the heads up. But, how are you; will the daycare understand... And poor you.

Anonymous said...

You are not the first person to buy into this scam, and you won’t be the last. With that said, this what you need to do. You have four weeks to find a job. If you start interviewing now, that means you will land a job in four weeks. Do not tell anyone that you are interviewing with about the recent case of events. Just move on, and find a job to take care of your family.

Look for work on Craig’s List, Charlotte Observer (Careerbuilder.com), Monster.com, Hotjobs.com, and whatever else is out there.

Your credentials would work in various fields of work. Don’t limit yourself right now.

HR people are available on the following days: All day Tuesday, Wednesday afternoon, and Friday afternoon.

Monday you need to look over the jobs online: Jobs are refreshed and posted Monday mornings. If you have sent out 50 resumes on a Monday then you are doing the right things.

Tuesday, follow up on those 50 resumes and check calendars for initial interviews.

Wednesday, for those people that you didn’t reach via phone, call them again Wednesday.

Thursday, 65% of all jobs are filled through a referral. That means you should be contacting all of your friends, family, City Employee’s, and anyone that knows anyone for a job. Spend Wednesday morning, and all day Thursday calling for work. Don’t be afraid of the phone; don’t worry about the kids in the background. Just call for work. Dedicate more time to the networking piece.

Call the school that you recently graduated from and tell them to help you find a job. “Tell them, that the monies they receive for education services are directly related to you find a job”. You made an investment in yourself and the school. Hold them accountable. If someone says they are helping you find work, hold them accountable as well. Follow emails, follow calls are very important to you right. Don’t fill your days with anything but productive ideas and goals.

You have four weeks, good luck!

thirtysomething said...

To the above commenter...thanks for the advice, but I WILL not be trusting job sites such as Careerbuilder or Monster anymore, for obvious reasons, and explain why I have 4 weeks to locate employment?? Who are you?

to the rest of you, thank you for your support and encouraging words. I am vehemently searching for employment through trustworty sources. I will keep my blog posted of new developments. thanks again.

Karrie said...

I am so sorry that this happened to you! With the number of victims we deal with, please count your blessings that you're not out thousands of dollars, or worse, arrested and facing jail time. This scam is so common and snares men and women regularly. Know that you're not the first, you won't be the last, and that ANYONE can fall for one of these scams. For more information on how to recover, written for the victim, please review www.fraudaid.com

Sober Briquette said...

Keeping you in my thoughts, wishing I could do something tangible to aid you.

Sephyroth said...

Hi, I came across from Snoskred's post.

I've been searching for work for over 2 years now, and one of the things I learned pretty quickly is that careerbulider (Monster as well, for that matter) is fairly useless for finding work.

Most of the postings I had seen when I was looking at CareerBuilder were those "work at home" schemes (as in the ones where they promise loads of money from working for a short time). Also, with Monster, I found that the jobs they had there were mostly irrelevant to the areas I was searching in, or mistakenly posted in my area when they're interstate.

I'd recommend finding jobs on more locally-targeted sites like North Carolina Job Network (they're part of a national group, but a lot of local employers in my area use their service). Also, as someone else suggested, look at your local paper's classified listings online (and the dead-tree version as well).

Another thing that I noticed from Monster is that I received a lot of "interesting" offers - such as insurance sales, even one offering me the chance to become the franchisee of a Citibank location. All of them started with a similar tag - "I saw your resume on {x site}".

The best of luck to you with this experience.

Sephyroth
http://www.sephyroth.net

Kirsten said...

I came here from Snoskred's site. I'm sorry this happened to you. In addition to reading up on all Snoskred's advice on how not to get scammed, I also recommend the site I've Tried That, which focuses mostly on work at home scams.

I've worked in the recruiting industry and searched for jobs via the major job boards, so I'll be writing a post on this later this evening.

Best of luck to you - I hope everything works out for the best.

Kirsten

MP said...

I think your post will have done quite alot for people. You are a smart person, it's not like you fell for the "Candian Lottery" or something like that. I don't know how these people can sleep at night.

FYI: I did find a great job through Monster.com I just realized the ones that seemed "too good to be true"...were...they were usually pyramid scams of sorts.

Good luck to you!!
FYI..came over from slouching mom

manic mommy said...

Another SM groupie. I'm so sorry. I often wonder what would happen if these assholes put as much effort into honest work as they do into stealing from those of us who do work.

Anonymous had amazing advice albeit a little scary. I was going to advise about the school as well.

Maybe if you don't want to leave your info on Monster or others, you could at least look up jobs on them? I know plenty of companies who do use them and plenty of people who've found jobs through them. If you do at least search them broaden your search criteria significantly (i.e., people with social working credentials would be great in HR).

Good luck!

Ally said...

I'm here from SM's site as well. Just read this and just wanted to say, this is crazy! It is ridiculous that they are allowed to continue this fraud! Shouldn't they be prosecuted?

I'm so sorry for you. Don't beat yourself up for not knowing. I just hope you'll find something quickly in terms of job, daycare, etc.

Kirsten said...

Snoskred's post recommended that we all post something about scams. I did, mostly about scams on the job boards. You can read it here.

Kelley said...

OH! How absolutely horrific. I have no words of comfort or advice. Just big hugs and sending positive vibes to you that something good will come of this for you.

Amy York said...

Sorry I'm just now dropping by... Life is crazy right now and unfortunately blogging has slipped to the side.

But please know I am thinking about you and sending "find a *legitimate* job soon" vibes your way!!!!!! I am so sorry you had to go through this...

Hang in there, mama.

Chaotic Joy said...

I appreciate your candor in posting this. I believe you will help some people by doing so. I am so sorry you had this awful experience.

sweet said...

I am not sure the craigs list is good either, just seen in the news where a nanny was killed when answering an add, i think we all need to be more careful. I am on my way to the bank to file a complaint about someone using my sons bank card, seems they are paying for web sites etc with it. I have no idea how they got the numbers but it is a mess.

b*babbler said...

Here via SM.

I truly hope things turn around for you and that perhaps this is a gateway to something much better.

I'll be thinking of you.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I'm so sorry this happened to you. The circumstances of your life have already made you very strong, and dedicating three years to getting your degree will not be wasted. I absolutely believe that something better will come along to replace what you have lost, and I hope it's soon.

I raised three children alone and it wasn't easy, but things do have a way of coming along just when you need them most.

The best of luck to you. You are doing the very best you can, and it WILL pay off.

Emily said...

That is HIDEOUS!