job-scams.jpg“It’s one of the most sophisticated job scams I’ve seen lately,” said Susan Joyce, editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org.

And Christine C. Durst, Co-Founder of RatRaceRebellion.com and a home-based career and Internet fraud & safety expert, has been getting queries from readers about the same swindle as recently as last week.

A job offer that seems to good to be true but this time it’s connected to the website of what appears to be a legitimate company. The name, the flashy graphics, the photographs, they all look real. But they’re not. It’s “corporate identity theft,” proclaims Joyce, and you better not let it nab you.

Here’s the job ad that a scammer attempted to post on Job-Hunt.org:

OIL AND GAS JOB OFFER
CPL PETROLEUM COMPANY - Harrisonville , MO 64701
Do you want to work for an oil and gas company and get paid weekly.Here is a great opportunity as CPL petroleum company is giving you a great offer.
Visit our website and click employment opportunities,If interested fill the form required.
Email address: admin@cplpetromm.net
Company Website: www.cplpetromm.net

Please send your resume to admin@cplpetromm.net

If you go to the website, the first thing that pops up is animation and these words:

“CPL Petroleum is part of the UK’s largest independent distributor of petroleum products, delivering billions of litres to businesses and homes each year.”

CPL Petroleum is indeed a real company in England but this is the firm’s official website http://www.cplpetroleum.co.uk/, not http://www.cplpetromm.net/home.

The .net site was only recently registered, according to the domain name organization Whois.org, and there is no information about the company provided or contact information, which is always a warning sign folks. The other tip off is the url, or site address, was only recently registered, earlier this month.

“This is very typical of these types of scams,” said Durst. “They purchase a domain, put a website up very quickly, and immediately begin blasting the Internet (usually via job boards, Craigslist, etc.) with their ‘opportunity’.”

I emailed the real CPL but haven’t heard back yet from the company. I’ll update you if I do.

Job-Hunt’s Joyce said the scam is apparently trying to get job seekers to provide their financial information, yet another sign a job ad may be bogus.

Even though it’s supposedly an established company, the job offer claims: “we are unable to open Bank Accounts in the United US without first registering the company name.” Warning sign!

The ad goes on to outline what you’ll be asked to do:

Your tasks are;

1. Receive payment from Customers
2. Process Payment received from our customers
3. Deduct 10% which will be your percentage/pay on Payment processed

All this will presumably be going through your bank account, and that’s when you can be fleeced.

Before you even send your resume to any job ad, Joyce stressed, you should snoop around and make sure the firm is legit, even call or email the company if you suspect a job ad is bogus. But you should keep in mind that some times, she continued, companies do have more than one url that could be slightly different than their main site. But usually there is contact information that is directly connected to the real employer.

Durst offers some red flags she picked on on the fake CPL site you all should think about before you click on anything:

*Free website - in the lower left corner of the page, you’ll see a “create your own website” remark with a link to a website builder site. The person(s) who built this site used their free trial option to build this site. NO established company sets up its primary website using a free trial tool since it give the appearance of being new or poorly-funded.

*The “About Us” link leads to a page of “legal information”. A real company would use an about us page to share information about the company, its management, history, mission, etc.

*In looking at the underlying code, the scam site actually pulls the pictures it uses from the real site.

*This is supposedly a UK-based company, but the use of the English language, particularly on the employment page is horrible! (”…Unfortunately we are unable to open Bank Accounts in the United US “) Also, look at the use of capital letters throughout. Clearly not written by or for an organization in an English-speaking country.

*The “application form” asks nothing of the applicants experience. This is supposedly a position that would involve a high level of trust as “big money” would be involved. A real company would never hire an employee to handle their money without knowing something about that person.

Here’s a link to a recent Better Business Bureau article on scams that also offers tips on spotting fraud.

I know, many of you are thinking, “how the heck do people fall for this stuff?” Joyce and I discussed what drives some people to put common sense away. “I’ve had so many people tell me, ‘you know what, it looked odd,’” she explained.

But during tough economic times, desperation can make us do crazy things.

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