It is sad to say that humans are opportunists and this often means taking advantage of others when they are at their most vulnerable. For those of us who have scruples, this sort of activity feels extremely wrong and wrenches our guts when we hear the victims’ stories. I never thought I’d ever run into those scams that you see on investigative reporting shows, but I did.
I’m looking for a job to do on the side. Something along the lines of Freelance Writing or Data Entry. You know, things that can be done from a computer at home. My search (via GenuineJobs.com, a.k.a. Beyond.com) came upon one which sounded promising:
Candidate with 3 years of experience in Admin/Data Entry field is needed, NOTE: You must have knowledge on how to use MS Word And Excel,Your WPM must be over 29 words per minute.forward your resume for our proper review. Compensation: $21.70- $25 per hour based on experience Telecommuting is ok. This is a part-time job. This is a contract job. OK for recruiters to contact this job poster. Please, no phone calls about this job! Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests. Interested Applicant should forward his/her resume to ([email protected])for consideration.
Now, the email address did raise a red flag, but I justified it with the thought that maybe the company didn’t want to get spammed at their true email address so they used an alternate. Either way, I figured it didn’t hurt to submit my resume, after all, it didn’t contain any personal information beyond my name, address and work history.
A few days later I received a reply email:
Dear applicant, we apologize for the delay in response, as in regards to your resume that was forwarded to our head department for the Customer Service Position / Data Entry/ Accounting position, The Hiring Desk of Manufacturer and Trader Trust Company has reviewed your resume for the Customer Service Position /data entry /Accounting Officer and we believe you have the required qualifications to proceed. This is a Customer Service Position /Data Entry/ Accounting officer ,Working hours are from 8am-3pm,Monday-Friday.The starting pay is $25 /hr for this customer service /Accounting position, you are also expected to come online through Yahoo Messenger during working hours.
I want you to setup a yahoo messenger and if you got one already use it, add Mr Mark Stewart the Hiring Manager and IM his on this ID ( [email protected] ) asap for the interview/briefing and comprehensive job details.This is our first step to proceed further. He will be on online waiting for you. Interview Schedule date/time is on Friday 2nd of September @ 8am to 3pm..
Well, at first I was like “OMG! Yes!”, but then as I calmed down I realized that it did sound suspiciously too good to be true. Yet, I felt that I should at least participate in the interview and since I was already signed up with Yahoo!, following their instructions was no problem.
The interview started out nice enough, exchanging the usual greetings and then Mr. Mark Stewart began to describe the job. He even gave me the website of the company to check out what they were all about: http://www.globalfinance.gr/. If you read the site and their brochure it makes it sound like they are an investment firm that specializes in helping companies acquire other companies to grow bigger. He gave me time to check out the site and then continued with the interview.
Here is an excerpt of the conversation (I meant to have the whole thing but for some reason I lost the beginning):
net2officedesk411: The supervisor, who will be connected to you online, will assign logs of duty daily and you will be required to follow instructions to the detail using Microsoft Office and a specialized accounting software. The function of the accounting software is to arrange, formalize, and manage the data you have processed which you will then send to your supervisor via e-mail
ME: Is the software downloaded or do you send a CD?
At this point I had already googled the company name and the results were…you guessed it…about how Global Finance was nothing but a scam. I even read one report that explained how the company asks you to purchase their software thru a 3rd party vendor and they supposedly reimburse you with a check, which of course, is a bogus check.
net2officedesk411: The software’s will be sent to you .
net2officedesk411: You will undergo a week training from your training supervisor. During that time, he will be training you to work with the company-specific programs with much accuracy and other data entry tasks you will need to get done. Your training will be conducted online through your PC or cell phone.
ME: Well, training can’t really start until I receive the software right?
net2officedesk411: The following software are what you will be working with: PeachTree, MYOB, QuickBooks, NetSuite
ME: PeachTree and QuickBooks are both accounting software. Why do you need to use both?
(I wonder how many other people know this. I just so happened to have used both software during my work experience.. It makes absolutely no sense to use 2 different accounting software for the same job.)
net2officedesk411: Yes you will be using all those software’s for this position.
(LOL! I think I literally said that in my head at the time too.)
net2officedesk411: The company will provide you with an HP laptop with a fast and reliable internet connection. Your W-4 form will be arriving shortly with the other working materials you need to start earning money with our company. You will be required to purchase the software you will be working with and the company will have you reimbursed for your order. You will need to place an order with a certified vendor and trusted third-party company who will then have the programs installed free of charge on your company laptop. It will be sent to you via overnight shipping from FedEx.
ME: Ok, well right there I have problems. I am not going to put money upfront and be promised to be reimbursed. If this was a legitimate setup, especially with the size of the company the website professes it to be, there should be no need for an “employee” to have to purchase anything. The company should have already purchased the necessary software and send the disks to the employees, or make it available for download.
net2officedesk411: Alright then sorry you cant get this job without this software’s
ME: Ok. Sorry for wasting your time.
After it was all over, I wished that I had the foresight to ask more detailed questions about how to purchase the software and get the addresses of where they expect the money to be sent to etc. I do not know which organization would be able to use that information, but it may have helped someone.
From what I gathered through the conversation and the search results online, the scam works like this:
– The company “hires” you to do data entry of figures and create reports. My interviewer told me that it was in preparation for a office to be opened soon in my area. Even when the office opened I could still choose to work from home. – You are told you need the specific software but will be reimbursed for it. – A check may be sent to you, and you are to deposit this in your own bank account – You are then to purchase the necessary software through their preferred vendor and the funds are sent via wire transfer (Western Union or Moneygram) – After you have sent the money to purchase the software, you’ll find out that the check they sent you was bad and you will be owing your bank those funds.
What amazes me, is that this company name appears to have been in use for several years already. As I said, if you run an internet search you’ll find plenty of results and almost every single one is a report about how it is a scam. So why are they still able to use this company name? Why hasn’t anyone shut them down?
I guess it is a lot like the Nigerian scams. Because of their locale and the methods they use to contact people, it is very difficult to pinpoint their exact location. Especially if they continuously move the location, as it appears they do with this scam and all the other scams under the same company name.
Doing a little of my own detective work, I realized that this domain itself was a bit difficult to track down. Because it is a .gr extension (Greece) many of the most common registry databases do not have them listed. I finally found the information through a Greek website: http://www.papaki.gr
Domain Name: globalfinance.gr
Domain Handle: dr-20143-gr
Protocol Number: 20143
Creation Date: 7-10-1999
Expiration Date: 6-10-2011
Updated Date: 20-2-2006
Registrar: HELLAS ON LINE
Registrar Referral URL: http://www.hol.gr
Registrar Referral Email: [email protected]
Bundle Name: globalfinance.gr
Name Server: ns0.hol.gr
Name Server: ns1.hol.gr
Name Server: ns2.hol.gr
Now this information in of itself does not reveal much. It does however, show us that the domain has been registered since back in 1999, and yet, despite the overwhelming reports of scams, the domain still stands. I did note that other urls were used for the Global Finance scams, such as http://globalfinancesolutions.net. So it is very possible that this domain was registered, but not actively used until recently. In fact the web pages themselves seem to have been created in 2005.
The other very real possibility is that Global Finance, the owner of globalfinance.gr is in fact, a genuine investment firm that does real business in the acquisition of companies. Some online searching into the press releases do appear to stand up. This then could mean that Global Finance itself is a real company but its name and website address are being used by scammers so that the con has the appearance of being perfectly legit. If this were the case however, I would think that Global Finance would have some sort of documentation available online discerning itself from the widespread scams. I have yet to find any such documents.
So a strong word of caution to any who are looking for work-at-home jobs: never EVER agree to a job that requires you to purchase anything to do it. This includes software, envelopes, hardware etc. Even if they send you a check to use for the purchases…don’t deposit it or cash it. Any company that requires YOU to do the purchasing of the tools necessary to do the job is not a legitimate company.
ScamChasers.com: detailed report on Global Finance and how they sent a bad check
Example of a Job Listing
Ripoff Report.com Search Results for “Global Finance”
ScamChasers.com: another report on Global Finance