Vietnamese social media groups as well as Vietnamese online job posting boards are seeing a dramatic increase in fake job postings, most of these are malicious scams that have been practiced over and over again elsewhere. In some Linkedin groups, the administrators are swift to act and delete these posts but on other very popular groups, perhaps due to the sheer volume of these listings, they remain displayed for days or never get taken down.
After reading this post, hopefully you will have no doubts in flagging these job scam posts and helping get them taken down wherever they appear.
Some obvious examples from the “Vietnam Jobs” Linkedin group (19.999 members):
Note the “choose your payment method” on this one, we’ll talk about this later
Some other examples in the “HR Vietn Nam (Vietnam)” Linkedin group (17.354 members):
Here are some more, also posted on Vietnam related Linkedin groups, just in case you still haven’t learnt to recognize them 😉
Here is a quick guide to how to navigate these murky waters and avoid getting scammed or being a victim of identify theft.
1. If it were so easy, wouldn’t we all be earning incredible incomes?
Ask yourself if the offer isn’t too good to be true.
Does the level of salary offered really match realistic salary levels? Wouldn’t you need to be in a high-responsibility and highly qualified job to even dream of getting near that kind of salaries?
2. Investigate the profile that has posted the job
Have you noticed that very often the profile photos are those of attractive young girls? Do some research on Google and you will find that the same image used by the person posting the job offer comes from other websites, has been used in different unrelated websites with different names and often has been downloaded from a Russian bridal agency’s website.
An example using one of the fake job posts above:
3. Never click on a link from one of these job posts without checking out where it points to
Most links that are displayed are shortlinks (also called tiny or shortened urls). Just by looking at the link, you will have no idea of where you will be landing once you click on it. It could be a malicious software (malware) download or a phishing site (were you will be reeled into a variety of scams, also called Nigerian scams). – Here is a useful post from the Better Business Bureau: http://www.bbb.org/blog/2014/03/the-danger-of-shortened-urls/
Here is an example of the results you get with this tool, using one of the shortened urls in the job posts we displayed above:
This website is great as it not only gives you the final destination of the shortened link (in this case www.click4surveyz.com) but you can also see a screen shot of the destination url as well. With just one more click, you have the option of checking if the destination is safe on sites like Norton, SiteAdvisor, Browser Defender, etc.
If you check with Google, you can use the syntax “site:http://www.click4surveyz.com/” to see how many urls have been indexed by the search engine. In this screen shot you see that there are no urls appearing for that site, a very strong sign of this website being penalized by Google who has decided not to index it.
What scammers usually do is that they create a large number of sites, each one replacing the previous one that was blasted out of search results by search engines. www.click4surveyZ.com can easily become www.click4surveyS.com or even a site called linkedinlife.info (would make sense if you were clicking on an add within a Linkedin group). These are all just mirror-sites, identical clones of each other, have a look at the destinations of the short urls we displayed above:
The destination website that eager job hunters arrive to after clicking that link, www.click4surveyz.com (same website actually for all the links in the job posts we have displayed above, just different domain names) supposedly will get you to earn a huge amount of money. All you have to do is fill in surverys for market research and you get paid by survey. By working at home (everyone’s dream) you earn thousands….but first you need to sign up, give up personal information and make a payment to become a member. And you’ve been scammed as soon as you make the payment!
Here are some users of this website sharing their experience: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20140904062538AAjnNts
You will notice that everyone has been scammed except this user, Hayyim who claims all is well and that he really is earning thousands of dollars per month. He even offers a link with a discount so that membership is cheaper… (that is another red flag, fake job scammers often offer discounts when the “mark” or victim hesitates with the original fee)
4. I contacted the “employer” what should I do now? More red flags to beware of…
Other signs that should make you very very worried about what you are getting into if you do make contact with an “employer” after clicking on a scam job post.
1) You get the job immediately
Most times, you will get the job immediately without even answering questions or perhaps a skype or webchat of a few minutes duration will land you the job.
Be sure to check out the email address before replying, if it comes from a personal account, beware. It should come from a specific domain and not from a free webmail service (gmail, hotmail, yahoo, rocketmail, etc.) If the email doesn’t include the company’s address and phone, it’s reasonable to suspect a scam. And it’s a good bet that it’s a scam if the interviewer makes an excuse for using a personal email address by saying ‘the company’s servers are down”, or “the company is experiencing too many problems with spam” or “the company hasn’t yet set up its email system.”
As there are many ways to make an email address look as it was sent officially by the employer (@company-name.com), always contact the REAL company to be sure that employee exists.
2) You are asked for your bank account and personal details almost immediately
Most of these scammers will entice you by saying they want to make a payment to your account (direct deposit). Sounds good? You might become an unwitting victim of wire fraud and money laundering. Once you receive the money, they will ask you to keep a small amount and wire on the balance to an overseas account, you are already in deep trouble and your budding career as an unwitting criminal has just begun.
In other cases, you are sent a cashier’s check for your work (which might not even have begun at that time), asked to cash it in and transfer a part of the amount to another account. After a few days, your bank will inform you that the check is fake.
Beware of being asked for your bank account details or being asked to open a new bank account to receive your advance payments. Identity theft and money laundering (wire fraud) are some of the more serious crimes you can get involved with or become a victim of.
3) A payment is requested before you begin working
Many of the “get rich while working at home” schemes are based on this. You are required to pay a membership fee to get access to a database or you must purchase a “special sales-kit”, a set of samples, etc. Whatever it is you purchase, be assured you will be loosing your money and never see it again. A popular scheme in the recent past (has not yet come to Vietnam, probably due to postal and import/export considerations), victims were tricked into buying specific instruments/tools and materials from the employer so that they could produce a specific product at home. Once they finished assembling those products and sent them to the buyer or employer to get paid, they would be refused due to “poor quality” or a variety of similar reasons.
4) When you get to the job interview, the actual position has nothing to do with the job offer
Very common in Europe and the US, a high-paying job offer of let’s say “Events assistant” turns up to be a “self-employed” position as a door-to-door salesman with 100% of your salary based on commissions (this job set-up being also a pyramid scheme, your earnings are distributed to all those above you). Many young victims, after seeing a very promising job post, have struggled to get out of this situation, having worked countless hours and barely being paid. Though it seems obvious, think twice, with fierce “bait and switch” techniques, aggressive mind games, once you are in it is not as easy as just walking out the door, there are quite a few people sharing their experience on the internet, here is an entertaining read: https://doortodoortruth.wordpress.com/
Keep in mind that these job scams also prevail on reputed internet sites like Monster, Careerbuilder and Craigslist, don’t think that because the listing is not free that scammers will not use it and that all the online postings on those sites are legitimate.
Hopefully you are now ready to identify an online job scam when you see one. Soon they will be written in Vietnamese instead of English, we haven’t found an example at the time of writing this post but it will happen in due time.