Proofreading Employment Scams
Over the last few months I’ve been getting emails with job offers to work as a proofreader, business correspondence reviewer, texts proofreader or text editor etc. Of course I knew it was some sort of scam, but was curious as to what the scam was and how they pulled it off. Below is the most recent email I received:
Our actively expanding company starts a vacancy of a letters proofreader for the people who possesses excellent English skills to help in communicating
with our exterior clients.
Your job duties will be reviewing our business correspondence and fixing spelling and grammar lapses that might occur in the text.
The work takes ca. 1-2 hours daily. You may do this on your free time.
Payment tariffs for the services done:
Every 1 Kilobyte (1024 symbols) of text content is paid by $5.
This letter to you is near 1 Kb of size.
In total, it will help you to make about $500-$2500 per month.
To apply for this job you must meet our requirements:
*Location: priority – USA, but Most important – you Speak English.
*Having a Laptop
For more details about the vacancy, please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information about you:
Country of residence, Region:
Look forward to having a long-time cooperation with you.
Of course the yandex.com email address is always a huge red flag because a lot of scammers use them. But anyway, I did some research and found quite a bit of information about how exactly this scam works.
It Begins With A Couple Of Emails For Proofreading Or Translation
One recent proofreading scam I discovered was about some scammers claiming to be representatives for HUUTO.net which is an eBay type auction site based in Finland and from what I can tell is actually a legitimate business. (Another company that scammers claimed to represent in another scam was Swistak_pl) However the scam artists (who are not really reps for the company) apparently start out giving their proofreading “employees” a couple of emails containing correspondence to proofread and edit as necessary supposedly for their “HUUTO” customers and representatives. Seems reasonable to expect since after all that was the job description, right?
Well… after the employee feels comfortable and has done a “good job” with the proofreading tasks they gave them, the scammers will then offer the employee a better position as a “Representative” with more pay and 5% of each transaction. Usually this offer comes BEFORE the employee has been paid for the work already performed.
And So Here’s Where The Money Mule Scam Begins
The scam artists might come up with an excuse like the proofreading jobs has been suspended but you will still get paid, (but of course that is just a ploy to get the employee to agree to accept the “Representative” position.) The Representative is the “middle man” who handles the transactions between the “buyer” and the “seller”. The fake buyer supposedly purchases an item from the seller (who is actually the scam artist) and sends the funds usually by credit card to the Representative’s paypal or bank account to “hold” the funds until the “tracking” information the scam artists provides has shown the merchandise has been shipped by the seller and received. The rep then wires the funds to the seller who is of course.. overseas! Here is one victim’s account of what happened next…
After the first sale payment came into my PayPal account I received an email with instructions to first wait until the tracking showed the buyer had received the item. After that the instructions was to wire transfer the balance of $6572.00 USD to Denis Milyukov in Bulgaria. I didn’t suspect fraud until a few days after I transferred the money another payment came in. The buyer suspected a scam. Next I noticed the buyer from the first sale filed a dispute!
I asked my bank to file a transfer reversal. Of course Denis Milyukov refused to send the money back! I have been unemployed for almost a year and can not afford this! I will pay the money back for the text editing and the 5% for transferring the money but I should not have to be liable for the $6572.00! This will ruin my credit and good standings with Ebay and PayPal. PayPal has REFUSED to grant me an appeal. I have now mailed the 165 pages of proof that I was an innocent person in this scam! I’m now having to take legal action to clear my name. THIS IS A NIGHTMARE!
Apparently from what I read about the HUUTO scam was that their website was hacked and members accounts with their credit card and personal information and stolen by cyber criminals. We all know this happens all the time. Of course those who didn’t accept the Rep job never gets paid either!
There Are Legitimate Proofreading Jobs Out There
Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that all proofreading jobs are scams. There are lots of legitimate companies and individuals that hire proofreaders and translators to work for them from their home. There are proofreading communities/forums/directories etc where people can advertise their proofreading services so others needing a project done can connect with them. But you do have to be careful. Scammers will try to target proofreaders who freelance for a living by sending the proofreader work and then deliberately overpay them for the work and then say it was sent by mistake and asks that the check or draft be deposited and the overpayment returned or sent elsewhere. Here’s what some proofreaders experienced recently that advertises their services on findaproofreader.com :
..this scam artist, who goes by the name of Rebeca Alonso is sending people the following email: “We have few project needs proofread and edited to a high standard can you please let me know if you available to take on any new job…waiting to hear from you soon…Thank You”
She then sends you the work, and posts you a banker’s draft for much more than you asked for. You query it, and she emails back apologizing, saying that her colleague sent you the wrong amount. She asks you to pay the banker’s draft into your bank and then she asks you to refund her the difference. Of course, the banker’s draft will not clear in your account because it is fraudulent, so if you pay her any money it will be your own money you’re paying.
I’m sorry to any of you who have fallen for this scam – hopefully none of you got to the point where you actually paid the scam artist any money.
A huge thanks again to the advertiser who alerted me to this issue. I will write an article on the Find a Proofreader blog about it asap – if you could all read it, share it, like in on Facebook etc, that would be appreciated, as everyone in the proofreading community needs to be made aware of this problem.
Just goes to prove scam artists will try anything to steal YOUR hard earned money!
Are You A Victim Of A Job Scam?
If you provided any personal details such as birthdate or Social Security number to the scammers, you need to contact the 3 credit bureaus- TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, and place a fraud alert on your report. They can steal your identity and may try and obtain credit in your name. This will alert you for at least 90 days about any suspicious activity.
In the hands of a thief your personal information can be used over and over months- even years down the road to:
Open new lines of credit
Seek medical attention
Drain savings and retirement accounts
Provide an alias when arrested
Get a job or file false tax returns
Get Payday Loans in your name
Obtain service agreements for cellular service or utilities
Obtain Government Documents such as a drivers license or passport
That’s why I highly recommend you get some sort of ongoing identity theft protection such as the services offered through companies like LifeLock-Visit Their Website Here or Identity Force-visit their website here!
LifeLock and Identity Force are both reputable companies that monitors all your accounts and alerts and protects you from identity theft.
Have you received a suspicious text message or email offering you a “job” you never applied for? Feel free to copy and paste the email in the comments so we can help alert and prevent others from becoming victims.
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