A Scammer Hired Me to Work For Him!

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So I’ve been hearing that scammers are lurking around gig sites like Upwork. And they will post jobs for people looking for work, but they have no intention of paying you or having you do any kind of work. They just want to scam you. 

And to show you how they do it. I went ahead and I applied for one of these scam jobs claiming to need data entry and you’ll usually know which ones are scams because they’ll say they have spent $0 so far and the payment method is unverified. So after I applied, I think that they liked me because I got a message inviting me to contact the manager, Shanen Auld, but I’m instructed to download the Telegram app and contact him there. I’m told: “Your swift and timely response matters a lot in this beneficial position. We look forward to having you on the team”. 

Okay, well, this is very exciting. So I download Telegram and I add Shanen and I send him a message and I say: “Hi, I’m looking for Shanen.” 

And he responds and he says: “Hello Ben. How are you doing today?” 

I said: “Hi, I’m fine.” 

And I remind him about the position that I’m interested in. So he responds. 

He says: “That’s good to hear. Can we proceed with the interview sessions now” 

And I said: “Absolutely!” 

And he said: “Note that this interview and employment process will be a chat-to-chat session via texting on this platform. As we proceed further with the briefing and interview, you will get to know more about the opening position. You have a total of 50 minutes for this… A swift response is required.”

Okay, well, I guess I’m about to spend the next 50 minutes of my life interviewing with this guy. 

He said: “I am Mr. Shanen Auld, Materials and Quality Manager at MONTAG PRESS.” Okay, what is MONTAG PRESS? I google it and it looks to be a small independent publisher of fiction books and plays. They even sell their books on Amazon so it looks pretty legit. Maybe this isn’t a scam, or maybe the scammers are impersonating MONTAG PRESS but he continues. 

And he says: “Before we proceed, I would love to know more about you. That would help where to categorize you and how best to interview you. Please introduce yourself and indicate your full name and location.” 

Okay, so to test the waters, I just make up whatever comes to mind. 

And I say that: “My name is Ben and I have been doing data entry and copywriting for five years. I worked full time at Jim Browning University before the pandemic and then worked for a social media startup company called Pierogi, doing Facebook ad, copywriting and moderating.” 

Now if he knows anything about scam baiting, he’ll know that I just gave myself away, but it doesn’t faze him at all. 

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And he just says: “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Next is the briefing about the project and the company, I advise you to read it with care.” 

So he continues and he says: “With each line, just respond with an OK or Yes to indicate your readiness for further briefing.”

So for the next 50 minutes, I hear him out and answer all his questions. He tells me I’ll get paid 25 bucks an hour to do data entry and load quotes for customers. He tells me about the skills I’ll need. He asked me all kinds of questions about my work experience, and I just make up all kinds of garbage on the spot. He finally tells me that after much deliberation, he’s decided to give me a chance to show my commitment, charisma, diligence and to be a productive employee. Nice. I just got hired. Except I’m pretty sure it’s a scam. But either way, it’s time to start the employee paperwork. So he tells me that an employment letter has been sent to my email and I head on over to check it out. And I do in fact have an email from Careers@montagpress.com. 

Okay, this is strange. That’s the actual website for Montag press. How are they emailing me using the actual domain? If this is a scam, I open the attachment that they’ve sent me and it informs me that I’ve been given a provisional offer as a data entry. Okay, you don’t call someone a data entry. Data entry is what you do. So to see what happens next, I go ahead and I sign for Ben Dover and I send it back. But apparently, I was supposed to send it through Telegram and not through email because Shanen gets mad at me for emailing it. And I think I know why he’s mad because I immediately get an email back saying Careers@montagpress.com. couldn’t be found. 

Well, then how did he send me an email from that address if it doesn’t exist? I opened up the header on the email and I looked at the code and I can see that someone is spoofing the domain and sending it through a made up email address from Montag. You’re probably wondering how he did this and so did I. But my friend Ronnie taught me that there are these authentication methods called SPF and DMARC that basically prove to an ISP and email services that senders are authorized to send emails from a particular domain. And if a site doesn’t have a valid SPF or demark record on the domain, it means that anyone can send an email on its behalf. Now I’m not going to show you how you can do this because it’s a dirty trick and scammers are probably watching this video right now, but trust me, you can do it. Ronnie went ahead and did it just to show me that it can be done. So for heaven’s sake, if you have a business and a website and you don’t want people impersonating you, you need to add an SPF or demark record. I’ll put a link in the description with some instructions on how you can do it. 

Hey, another thing that you should do to protect yourself is to get a VPN and I’m going to show you why a little later on in this video. So I want to thank Surfshark VPN for sponsoring this video and tell you why I am using a VPN. Surfshark VPN is a virtual private network that keeps your online identity safe by encrypting all the information sent between your device and the Internet. This keeps your personal data protected from big companies or cyber criminals. And masking your IP address is essential to becoming private online. And a VPN makes sure that your city, country and download history aren’t linked to your identity. You can also change your virtual location and Surfshark has more than 3200 different servers in 65 countries that you can connect to. This helps you bypass censorship and bypass geo restrictions. And it’s not complicated to use. You just open it up on your device to push a button and your data is secure. It’s the right thing to do when you’re using public WiFi working with cyber criminals like me. You just want to access the content that you love regardless of where you live. So get Surfshark VPN at surfshark.deals/pleasantgreen and enter code PLEASANTGREEN for 83% off and three extra months for free. 

So now I know for certain that this is a scam because they’re impersonating a book publisher, but what’s the end goal here? Well, here it comes. He wants to send me a check to pay for the office equipment that I need to get started in my new job. So once again, I get an email from him with the check that I’m supposed to print out, then I’m supposed to deposit it in my bank. Now this is the classic advanced fee check scam. You deposit the check and the funds are made available to you. But if the check fails to clear and it will, you’ll be on the hook for the money that you just took out. So the scammers are going to try and get that cash from you as fast as they can. So Shanen asks for a screenshot once I deposit the check, and I’m not going to deposit the check obviously. So it’s time to try my hand at photoshop and see if I can make them think that I did. I just need to find an existing screenshot out there and replace it with my own details. Not bad if I do say so myself, but I go ahead and I send it to him and I realize that I’ve made a mistake with the cloning tool. Oh crap, if he notices this, I’m screwed. 

(To be continue…)

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