Work from Home Scam with Google Hangouts Interview

Work from Home scamWork from home scams involving interviews over Google Hangouts are on the rise.  These scammers are out to steal thousands of dollars from you.  They can be clever and persuasive.  Don't fall for it.  Read more to learn how these scams work. 

The scams that steal your money often do so by sending you a check to cover initial equipment purchase after you are hired.  The scammers tell you to deposit the check in your bank account and then to transfer money to an approved vendor.  What you don't realize is that your bank will let you withdraw the money from the scammers check before the check has really cleared.  By the time the check bounces, you have already transferred the money to the scammer's accomplice and you are out thousands of dollars.

In order to help you understand how these scams work, we recently tried applying for one of these scam jobs.  The scam began when we received an email like the one below...

Hello how are you doing today?I found your resume online and believe your skills and experience may be a good match for an opening I am working to fill. I'd like to discuss this in more detail with you.  Please let me know if you're interested in discussing this further and you can also send me an email to the Hiring Manager Mr Robert Morrison on hiringmanager4vondialllc101-AT-gmail-DOT-com or text (765) 400-0896 so we can discuss more about the position to see if you will be capable to handle the position..I will be waiting for your prompt response...

Sincerely,
Cheryl Jackson
Vondial LLC
https://www.vondial15.com/439794056

The first clue that something is not quite right is the very odd email address used for the hiring manager.  First, it is a gmail address.  That is fairly unusual for a company address, though not unheard of.  The stranger part is that the address is so oddly formatted.  Most corporate addresses have the person's name rather than their title. 

Nevertheless, I emailed the so-called Mr. Robert Morrison to see about the job.  Here is the response I got:

How are you doing today?I am Mr Morrison the current Hiring Manager of Vondial LLC,We are the one that inform Mrs Cheryl Jackson to contact you about the position we available now and it is a Customer Service and Data Entry Position from home and the working hours is flexible to let you know more the position and the company you will need to add me up on Google Hangout so we can proceed further with the job interview and consideration..I believe you are familiar with Google Hangout?

From this message, we can tell something is clearly amiss.  You don't have to be an "A" student in English to realize that this email is very poorly written.  In fact, it seems almost certain that it was written by someone who is not a native English speaker.  An occasional typo or grammatical error is no big deal, but this email has more errors than I can count!

Undaunted, we added Mr. Morrison via Google Hangouts and our interview started within a few minutes.  The interview was very odd.  Often, Mr. Morrison did not respond for up to 5 minutes at a time.  Perhaps he was juggling many interviews with many soon to be scam victims. 

My comments in this chat are highlighted in blue and appear to the right of the screen.  The scammer's comments are highlighted in yellow and appear to the left of the screen.  When I want to comment on the chat, the text will not be highlighted.

Mr. Morrison, I am following up on the Vondial LLC position

How are you doing today?

Good.  Thank you.

I believe you are ready for the job interview and consideration?

yes.  absolutely

Great.Welcome to Vondial LLC.I'm Robert Morrison, your assigned interview agent. I will like to know if you are ready for your interview section?

I am ready

This is a bit odd.  He started out as the Hiring Manager, but now he is my Assigned Interview Agent.  That seems odd.

Ok perfect. Let me begin by briefing you about the job and the Company. You are required to read each briefing message(s) carefully and respond with just OK. As we proceed further you will get to know more and understand better about the available job position. You will be allowed to ask questions immediately after briefing. Your prompt response is highly needed. Let me know if i can proceed.

OK

please proceed

Vondial, LLC is a virtual Customer Service Company providing all aspects of customer service for contracted clients. We provide contact with customers via phone, email and instant message: assisting with account inquiries, scheduling appointments, processing orders and updating customer information within the online database.

OK

Vondial LLC was established in 2012 as an alternative to the regular 9-5 employment that was available.This company is based on the premise of work -life balance to enable individuals who need alternative employment options to fit their busy lifestyles a place in which to flourish.

OK

We promote long-term success by adhering to a set of common values. We are without a doubt a company that values Humility in our success, that has the right Attitude, and is always striving to Do The Right Thing. Together, we Own It and we are excited to discover how your vision aligns with ours.

OK

This position is currently only available online as a work-from-home job. This means that everything is being taken care of online from a remote access point. Eventually, you will be able to choose whether or not you want to continue working from home or work in the office. Working hours are flexible and when working from home, you have the benefit of choosing where you want to do your work. For example, one may choose to work using a wireless internet connection right on the beach

OK

We've entered "too good to be true" territory.  There are almost no companies who encourage you to work from the beach.

Benefits: Health, Dental, Life and AD&D Insurance, Employee Wellness and 401k plans. Paid Time Off and Holidays with Generous Company Discounts..All activities and corresponding time are to be recorded in excel spreadsheet. As for your duties, i will assist you with any difficulties via email/phone

OK

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITY: Tracks data and source documents. Prepares and sorts source documents, and identify and interprets data to be entered. Compiles, sorts and verify data for accuracy. Contacts responsible parties or clients from other organization to resolve moderately complex questions, inconsistencies, or missing data. Also perform Records keeping, keyboarding/data entry and performing a variety of invoice recording, proper data analysis of sales records and recording pay slips into accounting database all these will be done through the use of the Accounting Software provided to you. Function of the Accounting software is to arrange, formalize and manage the data you have processed, sent to your assigned supervisor via E-mail. Can you handle this duties efficiently if you are been trained towards it ?

Yes. I can handle those duties

JOB REQUIREMENTS:
-Must be a U.S. Citizen, Canadian Citizen Green -Card Holder
-Must be fluent in communication and English
-Must have a clear criminal charges
-Must be at least 40 wpm average(WPM means Your typing ability words per minute)
-Must be 18+ average....

I believe you have no issue's with the job requirements above ...?

I can meet those requirements

Soon we will be setting up a few branches near your location. Eventually, you will be able to choose whether or not you want to continue working from home or work in the office. The working hours are flexible and you can chose to work from anywhere of your choice, the Wages is $45.20 per hour during full working hours and the training wages is $25.75 and you will be getting your payment weekly or bi weekly via direct deposit or Paycheck.

Hmmm... this is odd too.  I have not told him my location.  How could they set up a branch near my location?  Later in the conversation, he asks for my location.  Also, file this under "too good to be true."  $45/hour for data entry/customer service?  That is an unbelievably high pay rate for that job.  When it seems too good to be true, it is.

You will be trained online for at a week. During that time, you will be trained to work with the company-specific programs with much accuracy and other data entry tasks you will need to get done. Your training will be conducted online. Let me know if you are interested so we can proceed.?

I am interested
what are the next steps?

This is the newest online screening that makes things easy for every applicants, no needs for ups and down, you can easily access your applications and Hiring process, this helps Mothers with children at home and also gives room for working class applicant to participate as they might be at there current job, so with this process they will easily access there new Job

sounds great!

I've been looking for a job for two months since leaving the Army.  So I am eager to get started

I will be asking you some few questions now, once you are through with answering your questions simply write {Done} to indicate you are done answering the given questions. I believe you are set and ready to answer my questions....Right ?

correct

Are you seeking for a full time job or Part time?

full time {Done}

Have you ever worked online remotely from home before?

No {Done}

How long have you been seeking for a new job?

two months. Since leaving the Army. {Done}

Are there more questions?

Mr. Morrison, are you still there?

At this point, my interviewer wandered away for almost 10 minutes.  It was getting close to lunch time and I was eager for him to stop wasting my time.  But this was another red flag.  Repeated long gaps in the conversation.

Please introduce yourself a little bit. What is your sex, age, last employment, present location?

I am a 26 year old male.  My last employer was the US Army.  I am currently in Fayetteville, NC.  While in the Army, I worked as a Personel Clerk.  The job involved lots of typing and paperwork.  I think it will be a good fir for this job.
{Done}

Do you have a minimum 40 wpm typing speed?

Yes.  I can type close to 50 wpm.
{Done}

Briefly describe your work experience, especially the administrative and Customer Service aspects?

I was a personnel clerk at the brigade one-stop center.  My primary duties involved assisting soldiers with issues with their personnel file.  As far as customer service, I had to talk to many soldiers each day.  I had to understand their problem, and communicate how I could resolve it.  As far as administrative, in order to fix the problems, I had to interact with the various Army personnel systems to look up records, find and correct errors, enter new records (for cases such as marriage, etc.)
{Done}

What work have you done that involved working with sensitive or confidential issues?

The soldier's personnel files were considered very sensitive.  They contained personal information.  They contained records of discipline problems.  They contained performance reviews.  There were strict rules for the handling of this information.  I also had a Secret clearance from the Army.
{Done}

A small amount of discretionary funds in the form of cash used for expenditures where it is not sensible to make any disbursement by check, because of the inconvenience and costs of writing, signing and then cashing the cheque. What is such transaction called?

I think that is called Petty Cash
{Done}

At this point, I am almost surprised by how hard the scammer is working to make this seem like a real job interview.  He is asking a fair number of questions.  The petty cash question seems to be out of left field, but some interview questions are that way. 

Do you have Professional Reference? ( Give me two phone Contacts and name )

I don't have that information on hand.  Can I provide it later?
{Done}

When will you provide the information?

I can provide the information this evening
{Done}

Even though I don't provided references, a few minutes later he hires me!

How would you like to be paid Weekly or Bi-weekly? What means will you like your payment to be sent, Via Direct Deposit or Check?

Weekly, please.  By check.
{Done}

Does Vondial provide a computer and other equipment I my need?

Vondial will provide you with a brandnew Apple Laptop and a fast internet... Alright. Before i proceed by forwarding your interview section answers and details to my superior's in Hiring Department for review, do you have any ADDITIONS?

I am very excited about this opportunity.  I am certain you will be happy with my work.  I'm looking forward to getting started.
{Done}

Your interview section rating is now available. I believe you are ready to know your score?

yes, please.

Congratulation!!! You have been rated 85% for the interview section by the HR Department. Due to your level of experience and communication skills the Company has decided to give you a chance to work as a Customer Service Specialist Online. We will like to see your diligence, Charisma, Commitment to this job.

85%!  I rock!  It is interesting that again, his role seems to have changed.  He started out as the Hiring Manager, then he was an Interview Agent.  Now he has to send the results to the Hiring Department, which he later calls the HR department.  The scoring of my interview was quite quick.  I think this is the first time in my life that a job offer has been extended at the conclusion of the interview.  Of course, this is a scam, so I should expect things to be a bit off.

I'm very happy to hear that!  When can I start work?

This Job offers Flexible hours but you are to report online by 9:00AM your time daily for duties, task and assignment.
You will be provided with training materials such as Data Entry Software(s), Time tracker (to commence your training and orientation), new computer and some other important materials which will be listed to you later. Our Affiliated companies will handle all payroll/payment proceeds necessary to purchase all required training/working materials and equipment(s). Okay?

Now we are getting to the real core of the scam.  The "Affiliated Companies" that will help me purchase the right equipment...

Ok.  How do I report at 9am?  Google Hangout?

Yes just login on Google Hangout for your daily update by 9am your time tomorrow morning.. You will be mailed a Startup check Upfront and funds to purchase all required materials needed for your training. You will be getting most equipments from assigned vendor's. They are customized with our Company logo meant for only approved company employee. You will make order from approved vendor(s) to enable vendor install the neccesary software programs and have shipped to you via USPS or FedEx Courier Service. Do you understand?

I understand.

He really wants to be sure that I understand that they will send me a check and I will pay that money to vendors that they select.  This is how the scam works.  They have me deposit the check and then they will pester me to frequently check with my bank to see if the funds from the check are available.  As soon as they are available, they will insist I transfer those funds.  The transfer may be via Western Union, or it may be that I withdraw the cash from my account and deposit into another account.  Once I transfer that cash, I am thousands of dollars poorer!  The check they sent me will eventually bounce and it will be my money that is gone!  And when I report the scam to the bank, they will not help me.  It was, after all, me who took the money out of my own account.  The bank is not at fault and will not reimburse me.

Perfect! In the mean time i need you to provide me with the following details below..
Full Name :
Physical Address : (PO Box Not Valid)
City/State/Zipcode:
Phone no# :
E-mail address:

Once details are received it will be forwarded to HR Department. You will be emailed an Employment Offer Letter which you will be required to fill/sign and email back for proper documentation.

Name: (redacted)
Address: (redacted)
phone: (redacted)
email: (redacted)
I will look forward to receiving the employment offer letter via email.  Thank you very much!

Your Welcome!
We are always looking for dedicated members to join our team.  If you enjoy taking on new challenges, working in a fast paced environment and working with a great group of people, then Vondial LLC is a good fit for you!

Is there anything for me to do now, other than return the signed letter once I receive it?  And then report at 9am tomorrow?

Yes there is nothing again for  today until you receive your Offer Letter and i received your details and they have been forwarded to HR Department for proper documentation. Please check your email for the Employment Offer Letter from HR Department within 2hrs. You will begin your training once you have all required training materials. List of training materials will be e-mailed to you accordingly. You are to report here online by 9:00AM (GMT-7 ) daily.

Thank you again!

We Values Integrity above all things. A commitment to excellence in everything that we do. To maintain a business in which we can always take pride. To provide a supportive work environment in which individuals are respected, encouraged to grow and to have fun.

A commitment to the exceptional norm at Vondial LLC.Our values ground us. Our culture drives us. And, our capabilities distinguish You..

This is rich!  The scammers value integrity above all things!

Almost three hours passed between the conclusion of my interview and my receipt of my offer of employment.  I wondered whether they had figured out that I was fooling them.  But finally, the letter arrived.

Hello Mr (redacted),
        Good day to you, I am Mrs Deborah Scott From Vondial LLC HR Dept and i will like to welcome you once more to the company, we are happy to have you working with us and we look forward to working with you and having you on our Team...Attached are your employment forms  which you are to have signed and send back to me As mandated By the US Law of Lab our. you are to have it printed out and once signed you are to have it scanned and emailed back to me. 

A timely response is appreciated.
Regards, From the Human Resources Dept.

This email is also littered with grammatical errors.  The attached document was even worse.  It was full of spelling and grammatical errors.  A big clue that this came from a foreign source is that many of the spellings use the British spelling of a word rather than the American spelling. 

In order to continue to let the scam play out, I sent back the employment agreement.  I'll update this post as I receive more info.

UPDATE: See what happens the next day when the scammers try to steal $4,950.00 from me.

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