BBB has issued a warning about a possible imposter employment scam targeting Canadians.
Between May and September of 2017, BBB serving Central Ontario has received over 1,200 inquiries into five companies contacting individuals to offer high paying, high status job opportunities with no experience necessary. Consumer reports through BBB Scam Tracker indicate that individuals contact had not applied for jobs with the businesses in question. Many were told their resumes were discovered online.
Consumers are warned to beware of job opportunities from individuals claiming they represent the following companies:
BBB believes these are legitimate businesses or shelf corporations, whose public records have been targeted by imposters for the purposes of orchestrating employment scams.
Public documents indicate the business names involved are currently Federally Incorporated in Canada, with one registration dating back nearly 40 years. Up until recently, each of these companies has had a minimal online presence.
It appears the individuals behind the employment offers are taking public federal incorporation records and duplicating the details for website registrations and contact information. Meanwhile, consumers will never deal with the directors listed on any of the documents, nor will they be asked to visit a physical address for any reason.
BBB has made requests for additional information from all affected companies.
How the Scam Works
Prospects are contacted by individuals claiming to represent one of the businesses in question. The job offer will be for a high profile, high salaried, position, with the only requirement being a high school diploma.
All jobs have a short probation period (5 days), during which, each prospect is expected to use their personal bank account for all job related transactions. The company claims to do this because it is too inconvenient to arrange for each prospect to have a business account during a probation period. In some cases, consumers have been asked to use their own funds to set up an office somewhere in Canada. Others have reported being asked for pictures, passport copies, and signatures to verify their identity and confirm their employment.
All communication related to the job offer will be digital and informal. Interviews are conducted over the phone. Prospects will be asked to electronically transmit their personal information, along with banking details. Then, prospects are asked to arrange a wire transfer for funds related to the position, with the promise of reimbursement after the probation period ends.
The business will then offer to send a lump sum of money to a personal bank account through Interact e-transfer, which is expected to be withdrawn and deposited into a Bitcoin account that has been created. After a few days or weeks – usually after the probation period has ended – the money that was exchanged via e-transfer is found linked to a suspicious or stolen bank account, causing the issuing bank to reverse the transfer.
Since Bitcoin exchanges are uniquely anonymous, once a fraudulent transaction is found to have taken place, targets are left with a negative balance that cannot be recovered.
BBB Tips to Avoid an Employment Scam
If you believe you have been targeted by a possible employment scam, please visit bbb.org/ScamTracker to share your story.