Fake Job Scam: Google Hangout
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT – Fake Job Scam:
If you’re already aware of this fake job scam, good. For everyone else, please read on. I actually fell for one of these a few years ago. For a computer guy, that’s a tough one to admit, but so be it. I’m human. I’m receiving on average one to three of these per day lately.
BE ON THE LOOKOUT for return email addresses that are Gmail addresses rather than a corporate email address. In all likelihood, they’re spoofing a real person. I will reach out on LinkedIn to the real people and send them a message to let them know they have impersonators out there. This is generally appreciated, and who knows, that act in and of itself could land you a job. Just saying.
The less obvious and more ambiguous aspect to be on the lookout for in this fake job scam is overall tone of voice used in the email. Note the second paragraph starts with “You are to immediately contact…” This sort of language is rarely if ever used in an authentic recruiter response. Add to that the last sentence of the first paragraph: “The window for this screening test/interview is Monday 12/04/2021 and Tuesday 13/04/2021 from 10 am (EDT) each day.”
A couple of things here:
First, the date format is a clear indicator that this originated from outside the United States, as it’s expressed as day/month/year rather than our standard month/day/year.
Second, odds are you never agreed to any specific dates and times previously. You might not even recall sending an application in for this job/company. I myself don’t keep track of each and every job application I submit online. It’s simply not practical.
DEAD GIVEAWAY (at least for now):
“This virtual screening test/interview is online through Email correspondence and Google Hangout.”
This is always the kicker. That’s how I got suckered. For now, they’re still using this method of contact, but be forewarned that Google Hangouts is going away eventually, according to Google. That was supposed to happen a while back, but Google has been slow to actually get rid of it.
ONE MORE THING:
Note the odd indentation of the greeting (“Dear Keith Ratner…”). This in and of itself is not necessarily a red flag, but it’s an easy thing to spot. For me, that does set off alarms. The vast majority of emails don’t look like that, so this is a quick visual cue if you happen to be scanning tons of emails.
HOW THIS FAKE JOB SCAM WORKS:
I’m speaking from personal experience here. Your mileage may vary and there might be other processes which ensue should you be inclined to actually follow up on one of these. I did, and this is what happened, in a nutshell:
I began to engage via Google Hangout (chat only; there was NO VIDEO) with what was clearly an actual human being. (This is another thing that will inevitably become less obvious thanks to better Artificial Intelligence and automated tools – but these people are rather slow to update their methods. Don’t count on them not getting smarter, possibly much smarter, possibly overnight.)
After chatting back and forth for a short while, it was agreed that I would be sent a check to purchase the computer equipment I would need to perform this work-from-home job. Sure enough, a couple of days later, a FedEx package arrived containing a $2,500 check. I was instructed to deposit the check, go to Wal-Mart, purchase said equipment, then reimburse the sender directly for the difference, which would be roughly $1,000.
The check was suspicious, but I was in a bind. This was on a Friday, and I wasn’t going to be able to get to the bank until Monday. So, I deposited the check via my mobile device, and the amount showed up promptly in my bank.
By the time Sunday rolled around, I needed to pay rent, and I could not access any funds. I finally got customer service on the line on Monday. They informed me the check was fraudulent. I spent the next couple of days explaining to a chain of bank agents what had happened. They very politely told me they were severing their relationship with me and would be sending me a certified check for the remaining balance in my bank account (minus the fraudulent $2,500, obviously).
Needless to say, this was highly inconvenient. I still feel like I got off easy, and I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who end up facing considerably more hardship due to this particular scam.
DON’T BECOME JUST ANOTHER VICTIM TO THIS FAKE JOB SCAM.
If anyone has any ideas on how to foil these people, I’m all ears. At the very least, I can provide this as a cautionary tale. This problem is likely to only get worse during this time of high unemployment. There are tons more people who are not technically savvy being forced to go through the online job application process. The last thing anyone needs is this type of nonsense.
Here is a screenshot of the email, followed by the actual unedited text:
Actual text of the email (UNEDITED):
Dear Keith Ratner,
Thank you for your application for the Creative Director position at Shangri-La Construction. After reviewing your application, our online recruitment team has recommended you for the open position and you’re among the candidates shortlisted for a virtual screening test/interview session with a Senior Recruiter at Shangri-La Construction.This virtual screening test/interview is online through Email correspondence and Google Hangout. The window for this screening test/interview is Monday 12/04/2021 and Tuesday 13/04/2021 from 10 am (EDT) each day.
You are to immediately contact the Senior Recruiter Ms.Kristi Hogan at her email (kristihogan.hr.shangrila@
The goal of this interview is for us to get to know you better, and for you to ask any questions you may have. We want to make sure that your skills, goals and ambitions match our company’s culture and the position.
It is important that you send email to the Senior Recruiter Ms.Kristi Hogan to proceed with the screening process. The email again for the interview is (kristihogan.hr.shangrila@
Please do stay safe during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank you for reading, and PLEASE BE CAREFUL!
Now, PLEASE go visit my podcast! Video versions are on my YouTube channel here: THE KEITH RATNER SHOW ON YOUTUBE
Audio version of the podcast available on Anchor here: ANCHOR.FM and on Google Podcasts here: GOOGLE PODCASTS
VISIT MY HOME PAGE for more links and additional information.
Facebook Cover Video
Facebook Story Video
Video Intro April 2021
Portfolio and Interactive Samples
Welcome to my UX and UI Portfolio
View some of my motion graphics and Promotional Video.
See some of my past work on Behance.
Exploit Prediction Scoring System (EPSS) Data Visualization
React Video Streaming Application Prototype
- Front- and rear-facing cameras on mobile
- Live drawing canvas overlay with colored swatches in the left sidebar. Swipe the screen or click-and-drag to see it in action. The trash icon clears the canvas.
- Map overlay. This is a work in progress. Click the map icon to pull up the overlay. Map has not been fully implemented yet.
- User profile setup
- Sharing of geolocation (available on mobile devices), azimuth, and streaming status
- Stream recording and data storage
- Stream sharing
The concept is a live video streaming with a drawing interface and map overlay. HTML5 capabilities are used to track GeoLocation and device orientation. On the development roadmap are the following features:
- Toggle full-screen mode
- Logging in as new or existing user
- User profile setup
- Tracking of user activity, i.e., user’s logged-in status, whether the user is streaming live video, user’s location (if logged in)
- Map overlay should display logged in users along with their streaming status, device orientations and camera facing directions; icons should appear on map, color-coded by streaming status, with icons rotated to reflect real direction based on compass’ true north
- Functionality should be accomplished entirely through HTML5
- Native application development (iOS, Android, etc.)
- Recording of user’s drawing activity as SVG, possibly with configurable frame rate
- Screen recording functionality; this should include recording of live media stream as well as user’s drawing activity on separate recorded tracks
- Cloud storage of recorded media tracks with administrative interface for managing user’s media
- vHyve Studio module to manage stored media inclusive of post-production tools
View the live work-in-progress here:
I’m also building a React front-end using WordPress as a “Headless CMS.”
View the application live here:
A sampling of my design and development work over the years
User Interface Design and Implementation
Primary User Interface for a complex Excel application powered by VBA (2019 version):
California Biotech CEO Conference 2013
Bio-Community.org Website 2012
BayBio.org Website 2011
Print Collateral Developed 2010 – 2013
Visit my Behance profile for a sampling of visual and user interface design work over the years.