Unsuspecting company involved in internet scam

I believe that it takes a special kind of person to work from home. While the idea sounds delightful to some, others may reject it because they like the social aspect of an on site job.

Working from home requires the worker to be very discipline, more so than a regular job. While it may seem that working from home has more flexibility, that’s not so much the case, you have to be disciplined enough to put in the required work hours and not get distracted by things that distract you at home.

Of course there is the benefit of working in your pajama bottoms, but sometimes you can end up working more hours than you would at an on site job. Here’s why, you tend to lose track of time because you’re in a more relaxed state, as a result you carry on later than you would at “work”.

That said, I’ve noticed that jobs that you can do from home has increased in the number of years that I have been doing it. I’ve worked freelance on a project by project basis with a few different companies. The thing with that is when the project is done, you have to look around for something else, build trust with the potential employer and prove yourself all over again. It’s an on-going cycle if you do it that way.

The best thing in my opinion would be to find a company that hires at home workers and possibly stick with them. These are the ones that are hard to find, so imagine my delight when I was plucked from the talent pool over at Freelancer.com to interview with an Italian pharmaceutical company called Zambon. I had never heard of the company so I looked them up (click on this link if you want to know more). They are a real company with branches all over Europe. So I accepted the interview.

Here’s the exact email about the interview:

Dear Freelancer,

Your proposal/profile has been successfully reviewed and approved by the HR department and you’ve been selected an on-line interview.

The online Briefing & Interview will be conducted Through Google hangout Messaging Chat IM and you are hereby necessitated to instant message or contact the company’s chief information officer ( Mrs Denise Albert) on {zambonrouphrdept@gmail.com }.
If you don’t have a G-mail Account, you are required to set up one at ((http://www.google.com/hangouts/ ) and download a google hangout (http://www.google.com/hangouts/ ) . She will look forward in connecting with you online.

The Positions Available are : Data Entry Clerk/Bookkeeping , Administrative Assistant , Receptionist , Customer Service, Clerical Admin, Accounting Clerk Bookkeeper , Credit Correspondent, Sales, Front Desk, Administrator , Management .

A week Training will be given in any of the position listed above.

Note: You can have your response and resume mailed to Mrs Denise Albert for proper review to [ zambonrouphrdept@gmail.com ] for further communications.

Confirm and acknowledge the receipt of this e-mail as you read.

Thanks For Your Co-operation!

Thank you
Human Resources

The first red flag for me was the Gmail email address. Surely a company that large will have their own domain email, heck I have one for this site, it ain’t hard or expensive.

Next, notice the spelling in said email address: there is no “g” in group. Immediately my warning signs went off. I decided to dig further. I looked at the position advertised on Freelancer.com and realized I never applied or submitted a proposal for the job. I checked out who else they’d targeted for an interview. There were several people who applied but only me and another guy was selected for an interview, remember I didn’t even know about the position, so right there that told me I was targeted. I looked at my resume, it was only partially done because I am still new to the site and hadn’t filled in all the fields yet.

Back to Zambon, I read as much as I could online about them. Checked out their LinkedIn profile and the thousands of employees who posted their profile. I looked for the woman who contacted me and she wasn’t there.

I also found out that according to their hiring process on LinkedIn, they sometimes hire people using headhunters, and they do hire employees that work remotely. So that tamed my suspicion flame a bit.

I agreed to the interview, Denise Albert responded back:

Here is my screen name (zambonrouphrdept@gmail.com) have me added Via this link .. (http://www.google.com/hangouts/  )… kindly get online with me for the job briefing/interview, i will be online waiting for you.

The interview was routine, typical interview questions and of course the stupidest interview question Americans love to ask: “What is your greatest weakness.” (I f-ing hate that question.)

After about 90 minutes of questioning and asking for 3 references, I was told to stay online because she is going to consult with the board to see if I was a good candidate.

Here are the benefits of the job:

*This is a Part Time Job. Overtime is 1.5 time above regular pay.
*Pay mode: Checks or Direct Deposit
*Hourly payment: $25.00/hour during your working hours and $19/hour during your training hours .
*working hours: maximum amount per week is 30 hours.
*Benefits include: 401k, health and dental, paid vacation,2 weeks sick leave and Holidays with Generous Company Discounts .
*You will be enrolled for Benefits after 4weeks.
*You have to keep strict record of time and activities. A time sheet would be sent to you every Friday for monitoring (In your own format).

Here are the duties:

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES : Track data and source documents. Prepare and sorts source documents, and identities  interprets data to be entered. Compiles, sorts and verify data for accuracy. Contacts responsible parties to resolved moderately. complex questions, inconsistencies, or missing data.Enters alphabetic, numeric, or symbolic data from source documents into computer following format displayed on screen, Also enters necessary codes.Compares data entered with source documents identifying errors and subsequently correcting any errors.

Even with my suspicions still looming, because you know the saying, if something is too good to be true, it is. I got a little excited. Okay, a lot. I could work part time, work on my novels and business yet still have more than enough to live on. So when she got back to me and told me I got the job I was thrilled. Something still bothered me though. Here it is:

Before you start up with your training/working, you will receive a payment in form of check and you will be using this payment to purchase your working materials and also purchasing your accounting software’s plus the shipping logistics.
NOTE: All software’s  and working equipment are to be purchased from the software office the company has been buying from for years now.

That’s it! Flames of suspicions re-ignited. I even over-looked the grammar and spelling errors in her email and our interview in hopes of getting this job but the above had me thinking: Why don’t the company send me the materials instead of a check? What’s to stop me from running off with the check? Of course I wouldn’t but they didn’t know that.

Needless to say I gave them my mailing address and the interview was over. Next I got an employment offer with the wrong dates, bad spelling and a slap-on version on Zambon’s logo, EMPLOYMENT OFFER LETTER FROM ZAMBON GROUP I didn’t sign it because the dates were wrong. The person who sent the letter was “Austin Green” email zambon_group@job4u.com. Notice the email. He apologized and sent me another with the correct dates. If you read the letter, notice the signature, what the hell is that?

The next day I got a call from “Mr. Fergusson” he was calling from a Philadelphia number. In my previous enquiry with “Mrs. Albert” from HR, she said they are now setting up an office in Philadelphia, and they will have some people working from home and some at the facility.

Back to Zambon’s website I went, no US office. Okay so maybe they didn’t add it yet. I did online searches for Zambon scam and found nothing.

“Mr. Fergusson” called, on a Saturday mind you, and demanded that I check my mailbox because the check was delivered. (They’d sent me a tracking number and when I checked it was coming from California). What? California? Whatever. I was curious to see how much the check was. Lo and behold I checked my mailbox and the express mail package with $100 insurance was there. Here’s the check, notice the bank.

Zambon fake check

The check felt and looked like something they just printed. Per “Mr. Fergusson’s” instructions I was supposed to deposit it using my phone.

I didn’t, instead I took it to the bank and asked them if they could check to see if it is real. They had no way of verifying the bank or anything and said they would put a 9 day hold on it, and if it was fake, I would not be responsible.

That worked for me but not for “Mr. Fergusson”. I was supposed to direct deposit it with my phone and forward him the receipt. HA HA HA, never happened because I don’t play that way.

In addition to the check here is the letter I got with it Zambon Scam142 Notice it was written in RED ink, the tone was pretty harsh too don’t you think?

Long story short “Mrs. Albert” contacted me saying they will send me another check that I am to deposit. I told her unless it is from a reputable US institution don’t bother because my bank will not clear it. Either they send me the software or we wait for the check to clear. She gave me the tracking number and said this check is as I asked. When I checked it, the check was being mailed from Jackson, MO.

Now I was convinced it was a scam. I did a search for company work from home scams and bingo! Turns out a lot of people have been conned by scam artists like these, who use real foreign companies to trick people.

The scam is, when they send you the check, you direct deposit it and write them a check for the amount and send to the “software” company. That’s how they get your info and money, in the meantime you’re in the hole because their check was a fake.

Luckily, all they got from me was a mailing address. They lost more because they spent over $44 to overnight express the check to me. Turns out that gut feeling I had was real. While there are real work from home opportunities out there will always be scammers waiting to pounce on the innocent.

If this or something similar have happened to you, please share, the more we call attention to these things the less innocents will get scammed.

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