Last night I was watching “The Net”, movie with Sandra Bullock. Extremely exciting thriller which synopsis is probably very close description of life that some of us are living nowadys. What is happening when personal information is changed? Could it be that we don`t exist anymore? Instead of us, there is some other person?!
Maybe we are just piece of technology like chips, or program array.
After few minutes, I`ve realized that my recent experience with nowadays “online criminals” has similar consequences on the life of desperate jobseekers. Actually, it is story that I`ve heard from a friend of mine. His online research for a job, lead him to unbelievable series of events. Like in the movie.
Two years ago, he decided to look for the new job and one of the first point of his search was Monster. He posted his resume on the web site and applied on several positions. Each day, he was checking inbox and was waiting for some new opportunity. Nothing, only newsletters and few not serious offers. Trying with several other job board could help. He continued with posting his resume and looking for new ads.
His job wasn`t bad at all, but he was just one step to get fired. Because of this ongoing economic crises his company was having a lot of difficulties. Some of his colleagues already have lost their jobs. At the moment he wasn`t desperate, but the gut told him that something big was coming up. The rest of the story is like screenplay.
It was the same day he has got information from his boss that from the next month his desk has to be clear. Nothing could change his bad mood. Except one thing. In the inbox he found one message and it looked like a dream come true. Initial job offer from some company to work for their sales team in the U.S. It`s online sales. Not affiliate program, but it is work from home. He started to check details. Web site and management team. All valid information. Salary and other terms were negotiable. Nothing suspicious. Communication with their HR specialist was smooth and after he signed a job offer, Mrs. Mark (HR representative) asked for some extra personal details. Red lamp was lightning in his head, but she was persuasive and really confident.
Tomorrow, he has signed contract and tried to send from the business e mail account. Suddenly, some kind of uneasy run through his spine. He pressed the button and sent copy of his ID, details with his social number etc. Still he didn`t think about being scammed.
Two weeks after sending papers, there was no call from Mrs. Mark. One day, instead of his new employer, he received call from his banker. She explained to him that his credit card is canceled today. First thought was about his present employer. Maybe, his boss called the bank.
“Thank you for calling. How much is my debt now?”
“Mr. Collins your limit is fully charged.”
“You`ve spent over 10,000 $”
No reply. Mouth ajar, he was staring at the phone. Suddenly he realized. Mrs. Mark is a scam. She rubbed him. Instead of desperate jobseeker, he became desperate victim of ID theft.
Without finishing conversation he ran home and tried to read all messages. It was so clear. From her e-mail address, which was actually fake. Her address was displayed as firstname.lastname@example.org via yahoo.com. He didn`t notice yahoo.com. Than link for their web site has the correct name but with upper case like this WWW.COM.COM . It was actually hyperlink leading to other site very similar to original. In their introducing letter was mentioned that his resume was found on Monster. He didn’t have any notification from Monster about the company name. Usually on Monster there were notifications about companies which have viewed resume or have considered it. The most frightening fact was their offer. Too – good –too – be – true. Online sales, online training and good commission.
After he found out, every action, every movement had only one goal. To stop them. They have used his vulnerability and have extracted all necessary details for using his credit card online. They discovered his security question. Now is the time for one thing he should done before this whole mass. He read advices what to do in case becoming the victim of identity theft. You can read here about this subject.
Carefully taking every step according to this guide, he finally reported this incident to Federal Trade Commission. There was some file it could be downloaded and filled. It is called FTC ID Theft Affidavit. There is also possibility to call FTC hotline. He called them and told this incredible story. There is catch.
He is not hero of some thriller movie like Sandra Bullock. There are plenty of flies who already have been caught in spider net. Lot of desperate job seekers, instead of dream job, got nightmare.
After preparing documentation he called a police. Officer didn`t listen his complaint at all. Bad sign. He transferred line to another officer. Suddenly, female voice from the other side said:
“Sir, how can I help you?”
“I have a problem with identity theft”
“Really. How so? You were looking for a job or buying on E bay?”
Well, they have already categorized him. She politely explained to him that jobseekers among top 10 targeted groups for those cyber-criminals. He continued to talk and finally police clerk collected all details, about this incident. Hang up the phone and continue to read instructions from FTC. You can read here. One of the next thing was to order his CR and to check if there were more surprises. All three Credit Report companies were introduced to this issue immediately. There were no other attempts of fraud. Problem with his CR was difficult to solve…
Epilogue of this story was somehow more interesting than everything, because after two years police finally has found thieves somewhere in Florida. They were changing names of companies, names of recruitment people, but they didn`t change approach too much. Police were checking similar report and put pieces together. Just overall look and criminals were finally caught.
My friend has new job and still very careful about all online issues. We all have to be careful. When you are doing some business online, open your eyes and check every detail.