BBB Warning: Possible Imposter Employment Scam

  
     
September 14, 2017

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:

  1. Ormsport Consulting Group
  2. Galdav Investments Ltd
  3. Alt Equipment Inc
  4. Allenwood Consulting Group Inc
  5. Optiva Consulting Group
  6. Sierra Software Technology
  7. Camel Freights Ltd
  8. Altamont IT Solutions
  9. Bennecon Ltd
  10. Insight Software Technology
  11. CosalX Technical Support Inc
  12. Andie Logistics
  13. DeepLearning Financial Technologies
  14. Cariaso Technical Consulting

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

  1. Understand the Job Market. Some positions are more likely to be scams. Always be wary of work-from-home or secret shopper positions, or any job with a generic title such as caregiver, administrative assistant, or customer service rep. Positions that don't require special training or licensing appeal to a wide range of applicants. Scammers know this and use these otherwise legitimate titles in their fake ads. If the job posting is for a well-known brand, check the real company's job page to see if the position is posted there. Look online; if the job comes up in other cities with the exact same post, it’s likely a scam. 

  2. Consider Appropriate Protocol. Different procedures should raise your suspicion. Watch out for on-the-spot job offers. You may be an excellent candidate for the job, but beware of offers made without an interview. A real company will want to talk to a candidate before hiring. Don't fall for an overpayment scam. No legitimate job would ever overpay an employee and ask for money to be wired elsewhere. This is a common trick used by scammers. And be cautious sharing personal information or any kind of pre-payment. Be careful if a company promises you great opportunities or big income as long as you pay for coaching, training, certifications or directories. 

  3. Research Public Employment Offers. Government agencies post all jobs publically and freely. The U.S. and Canadian federal governments and the U.S. Postal Service/Canada Postal Service never charge for information about jobs or applications for jobs. Be wary of any offer to give you special access or guarantee you a job for a fee – if you are paying for the promise of a job, it’s probably a scam.

  4. Get Everything in Writing. A legitimate company will provide you with a complete contract for their services with cost, what you get, who pays (you or the employer), and what happens if you do not find a job.

  5. Beware Informal Communication with Spelling and/or Grammatical Errors. Reputable companies strive to ensure their correspondences are as professional as possible. Although mistakes do happen, prospects are encouraged to consider the formality of any correspondences they receive. Be aware that frequent spelling and grammatical mistakes might signify a possible scam.

  6. Verify the Company’s Legitimacy on bbb.org or BBB Scam Tracker. Employment scams were the most reported scams to Canadian BBBs in 2016. If an offer seems too good to be true, always attempt to verify the opportunity through BBB. With no sign of employment scams decreasing, BBB has an extensive record of scam details to share.

If you believe you have been targeted by a possible employment scam, please visit bbb.org/ScamTracker to share your story.