Jobs For Sale? Look Out For These Red Flags

10:37 PM, Sep 28, 2012   |    comments
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CLARKSBURG, Md. (WUSA) -- Cynthia Leray- Coker loves her cockatoos and her computers. But lately, she's spending more time with her feathered friends and husband than working.

"You start to widen your search of, okay, I won't just look in this field, I'll look in this field and see what's available," says Cynthia Leray-Coker.

After two years of looking, this computer programmer thought she finally had a job nibble when a seemingly legit company reached out to her after seeing her resume online.

The offer came from someone who claimed to work for Ovex Technologies International based in Pakistan. We reached out to the company, and in a phone call from Pakistan, the CEO Syed Amir Hussain told us, they don't do this kind of work.

And, they don't hire American workers. In a follow up email, he points out that the website referenced in the offer to Cynthia, is not the company's real address which you can see here.

"I thought it was a legitimate offer," says Leray-Coker.

The so called offer would allow Cynthia to work at home as an administrative financial clerk - or data clerk. All she had to do was pass some tests.

"You saw the financial statements, and you had to answer the questions," says Leray-Coker. "They were really checking the answers. Which, I thought, okay, this is a real job."

But when we checked the correspondence that a representative who claimed to work for the company, Ovex Technologies International, sent, we found all kinds of "red flags" that might suggest otherwise. And so did Ed Johnson with the Better Business Bureau.

RED FLAG #1: Spelling and Grammar Errors

"An organized company, you would think that if they do have a job search going on, that someone had done spell check, somewhere down the line," says Johnson.

Cynthia eventually gets the job. But she never meets with anyone in person.

RED FLAG #2: No Face-To-Face Offer

"At some point along the way, if you're going to get a job offer, and you're going to accept it, you're going to be sitting across a desk from someone face to face," says Johnson.

The exchange between Cynthia and someone named Chris Salgado plays out over weeks, with more emails, more questions from Cynthia, and more ways Salgado tries to reassure her that the offer is legit.

Ed Johnson says, don't fall for this classic con artist tactic.

"They're trying to build your confidence. And, one way of doing that is by engaging you, getting you involved, asking you questions."

And, RUN, don't walk away from this red flag.

RED FLAG #3: Deposit Checks/Send Money Via Western Union

"They Fed ex'd a check for $2900. I was to deposit the check in one of my accounts."

Then, she was told to withdraw $2600 and send that over to the investor in New Jersey.

For her time and efforts, Cynthia would get to keep $300. The rest was to be sent to the investor for a laptop, printer and special software. Equipment Cynthia already had.

"One of the reasons that it works is that the check looks legitimate," says Ed Johnson.

It may look real, but as Cynthia found out when she tried to deposit one of the checks, the check didn't clear.

"I'm convinced they've got a lot of people sending money through Western Union thinking that they're really going to get a job, " says Leray-Coker.

Cynthia passed on this offer, but she did find a part time job.

The Ovex CEO, Amir Hussain, says Salgado does not work for him, and again, he does not hire people in the United States.

The Better Business Bureau tells us this kind of thing happens all the time. Recent phishing scams used the IRS, UPS and the Department of Homeland Security as covers.

So, if you're still job hunting, look out for the red flags.

Written by Lesli Foster & Stephanie Wilson
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