I fell prey to a scam. However, if it wasn’t for my wise father, It could have been worse for me. There are a lot of feelings that come from being scammed. The feeling of being stripped as another trusted person gets into one’s space and then strips your belongings and leaves you standing there with a cup of empty coffee in your hand with no pot to refill it.
It all started one morning when I received a text message from the Chief Operating Officer from one of the companies I sent my resume too. He texted me saying that I have been chosen as one of the top applicants.
I have had many resumes that I sent out to a lot of companies that I had checked out thoroughly for gaining steadier employment. These jobs seemed reputable. But let me tell you, as reputable as they are, keep alert because scammers are lurking for their next victim and targeting people looking for work.
My text message, ‘dinged,’ from my cell phone at 8:00 AM. It was from the job I was hoping to get because it was a remote job I could do at home. I had all the credentials, reviewed the company, and looked up the individuals who texted me through LinkedIn and the ‘said’ company off their website. I should have picked up on the ‘possible warning alert’ when I had to go through the mobile app called telegraph to discuss the job by the human resources interviewee on my phone. However, I didn’t grind my coffee beans yet and was very excited over the opportunity. Everything looked legit.
I covered the tracks, reviewed the company. I confirmed their existence, and I was ready; once they told me they would like to offer me the job, it sounded fantastic, they sent the offer letter via email. I signed it and sent it back to them via email (bad idea). Soon after that, they sent me another email expressing that I needed to purchase a MacBook and a fax machine with a Norton program and other Software. Things were looking great. They spoke of the benefits, the fact that employees can purchase shares. The job seemed easy enough, data entry and client service, something I can do while building my dreams as I complete my diploma, even if it means reaching for the lightbulb at home instead of the stars.
I was thrilled that I got the job! What made me feel unsettled in my toes and tummy was that this human resource person had stated that they needed to deposit some money so I could purchase the office equipment. She also mentioned that she would send the cheque in a pdf format, and I would have to print it off and then use my mobile banking app to deposit the cheque. I did it. Why did I do it? I double-checked their names and the company, and I knew they had my resume for quite some time now. I rationalize it by my past work experience where when I worked for a Chemical Co., my manager gave me money to set up all the offices for our operators coming from overseas, so I didn’t think much of this. I didn’t heed my inner warnings.
The next thing that jarred me was when she texted, “you must get the office products right away so that your training can get started. I texted back, “okay.” What does one do when one does not have a husband to talk things over with? I called my dad, “Dad, did you hear I got the job with this awesome company? They have great benefits, and I can work the night shifts and still complete my studies during the day! It is a lot more money than what my last position paid me. Also, they sent me a cheque already in my email, which I deposited in my bank, and I am waiting to purchase the office equipment!” He said, “I just heard on the news not long ago about a student who did what you did print off the company cheque, deposited it in her bank, purchased what they asked her to, and then the cheque bounced. She was out all this money.”
I felt like I hit a wall. “I have been scammed.” After about 10 minutes of thinking, I panicked.
They had my name, address, a signature from the offer letter I signed. They had my confirmation that I sent them via email with my bank information. Wow! all in one afternoon! I was one busy girl.
I called my bank after the fact and told them of my recent deposit and that I needed them to check if the cheque cleared on their end. They told me it would take five business days to determine if it bounces. They logged my account, sent me to the fraud department, and advised me to make another account and transfer everything to be safe, which took the remainder of the afternoon into the evening. I contacted the local police they opened up a file. I called the TD bank, which the scammers used for their pdf cheque. The TD clerk took all the information down off the cheque and thanked me.
There is a lesson here: when you do an interview, do it over zoom or a remote job, then ensure you facetime, or skype with them and never download a pdf cheque and deposit it into your mobile bank app on your phone.
Okay, so I fell flat on my face, and it was okay because the sun shone somewhere else in the world, just not on me that day. I am wiser, and I am extra cautious now. Once things got straightened out on my end, I decided that bad things happen to vulnerable people. There is a good tune that cheered me up. I cranked up the volume and danced around my living room to the song by Blue October, ‘Life’s like a Jump Rope.’
Check this CBC news article here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/banks-online-scam-fake-cheque-fraud-td-1.6244111