The company representative scam has been around for years. Yet, it must be producing some results for the criminals behind the scam.
Based on historical reports and patterns from MetroActive members, it appears that scammers are obtaining your contact information through social media, primarily through Linked in and Facebook. They are suspected of either setting up a fake profile or partnering up with another individual who feeds them the information they need to email you directly.
The email message asks if you’re interested in being a company representative, usually for a foreign steel company. At first these companies were primarily located in China, then some in Japan and now they seem to have moved to Italy. They claim to be looking for an online or part-time representative to help with collecting on accounts and offer $60/hour or more, or offer a significant commission on the money processed.
Signs of a “Company Representative” Scam
- Email Address is through Gmail and has numbers after the name . For example, a member received one such email from firstname.lastname@example.org
- The email address does not match the name. In the example above, the name on the email address was Olimpiaacciai.
- There is no company office address or phone number.
- They offer a significant amount of money and/or commission.
- No job description or details are provided in initial email.
The first of these scams was reported to MetroActive in 2006 by a MetroActive volunteer who was promised generous compensation. After some correspondence she was asked to transmit some money to the contact in order for them to release a cheque. They then asked for more money, coming up with more reasons as to why they could not release funds. In some cases, these individuals may send a fraudulent cheque which they ask you to deposit and send them 50% of the funds. Before the bank realizes it is fraudulent or that the cheque has been cancelled it is too late.
How To Avoid Being Scammed
- Only deal with people you know or can verify their identity
- When contacted by someone over the internet, ask to speak to them by phone
- Verify their identity through passport or similar document (be careful – they can still be forged)
- Do an internet search for their name and address and check their phone number location against their address.
- Call the company’s internet obtained head office phone number and verify the details of the offer
Be cognizant that sometimes scammers will use a real person’s identity or may hack one of your friend’s account. This is common in other types of frauds which will be covered at a future time.
Please share, in the comments below, experiences you’ve had with online scams to help others avoid becoming victims.
THE GIFT: This email was sent on August 17, 2019 with the simple subject line: “From LinkedIn” and the message “I wish to inform you that a gift was made to you”. It was sent and received through gmail. Surprisingly, the gmail spam filters didn’t pick up on it, probably because it didn’t have any attachments or virus attached. It would not be surprising if this person asks you to send money to cover shipping in order to receive your gift.