I Think I Just Avoided a Job Scam

I checked my email yesterday morning and discovered an email from a company called Apitope Technology.

Three seconds into the email, I think, “This looks like an agency email telling me how I’m a perfect fit for a role yada yada.”

As I continued to read, I noticed the pay scale, remote option, and job description, but noticed the company was using an @gmail.com address.

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“Hmmm.” Side-eyeing commences as my lips clench together and shift to the right side of my face.

I immediately thought, “This has to be a scam.”

As I continued to read, I noticed they wanted me to contact the interviewer through Google Hangouts. I had to send the interviewer an invite and include a “Ziprecruiter ID Tag.” This email also gave me a date and a specific time for the interview without asking for my availability. Most interviewers will give you time slots or ask when you’re free to chat.

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“9 am your time.” Do you know what time zone I’m in?

The email didn’t provide a link to the company page or a phone number.

“Did I apply to this job? Let me check my profile,” as I doubt the authenticity of the email harder.

I couldn’t find the company in my “applied to jobs” section.

I thought, “My profile is public for recruiters. Maybe they found my profile and wanted to contact me.”

As I do with all companies that contact me for an interview, I conduct research via Linkedin to find the names listed in the email. I also visit the company website to validate its existence along with other Google searches.

The company has a Linkedin, but I couldn’t find the job title of the interviewer mentioned in the email. Since I’m out of their network, I couldn’t locate names due to only “Linkedin Member” being displayed.

“OK, people don’t always link their profile to their job. Some people don’t update their Linkedin.”

I visit the company website. I discovered it ONLY has two locations, Belgium and the UK. I’m in California. Based on the job description, why interview someone who’s eight hours behind?

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“Why would a job all the way over there contact me? Maybe they’re expanding?” I quickly thought as I tried to justify my discovery.

I then noticed the company uses @optimumcomms.com email address for media inquiries.

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“Hmm. You mean to tell me it has a professional email address for media inquiries, but not for its own HR?”

Side-eyeing at maximum.

Checked out Optimum Strategic Communications. An office in New York is listed. Viewed its Linkedin and all of the employees are overseas.

With my suspicion alarms ringing and my new found information, I replied to the interview request asking for the Linkedin profiles of the two people mentioned in the email, a contact number, and more information about the interview process. A company would be pleased you did research happy to answer any of your questions.

Here we are a day later and no response. Big surprise!

My first thought after reading the email was it’s too good to be true. I’ve worked remotely through another company, the difference, I found their business address, the employees, their names and job titles matched up, I saw faces, active business social media accounts, and current employee reviews. I did my interview via Google Hangouts, but they at least had an @name_of_business.com email address.

I’m going to email the actual company so they’ll know a scammer is using their name. If they get back to me stating the email was legit, doubt it, I’ll suggest they hire me to write their emails properly, get a business email address for HR, provide proper contact information, and communicate better so they don’t appear to be a scam.

Have you ever received fishy remote work emails? This is a first for me.