I realize I haven’t blogged in years, (maybe I should pick it back up?), however I wanted to share an experience I recently had. Therefore…
it's story time.
I got an email yesterday from someone claiming to be with [Established Production Company], who does a lot of film and television work. They said they found me on Production Hub and wanted to pay me a very good hourly wage to work remotely as a Graphic Designer. I could work from anywhere nationwide, and would only have to travel to set sometimes. (Wait, so why can I be anywhere?) The job required me to "be up to date with the latest computer applications and software". (That's vague, but I’ve seen vaguer.)
So as you can see, the email gets a little weird as it goes on. I don't have an account on Production Hub, I quickly realize. But I like remote work for good pay! So it's time to crack my knuckles and do some research to see if this is legit or as sketchy as it seems.
After reading the email, the first thing I do is check the email address.
ALWAYS CHECK THE EMAIL ADDRESS.
It turns out that [Established Production Company] was emailing me from [Company I Have Never Heard Of]@gmail.com. Yikes.
So, I google [Company I Have Never Heard Of]. They have a website. It says they “bring content to 40 million people”.
What content? There are no names or pictures of productions. Just… the Seattle skyline?
Their website has a phone number. I call it at 3pm. For such a big company serving up 40 million people I wasn’t expecting to receive the voicemail of a random employee (in the middle of the day), but I did.
Oh! And their website also had an address. Looks like a parking garage on Google Street view.
Ok, so does this company have a presence on Linkedin? They sure do— with 43 employees! All of the employees appear to have fake profiles with no contact information, except for one who has a twitter account that retweets extreme political opinions every day. Awesome.
So I decide to google the name of the woman who emailed me with the following searches:
“Woman’s Name” “[Company I Have Never Heard Of]”
“Woman’s Name” “[Established Production Company]”
ALWAYS USE QUOTATION MARKS
The quotation marks mean that the search can only bring back websites with exact matches to what’s in the quotations, spaces and all. So what did these searches bring back? Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. This woman doesn’t exist. However, there IS an MMA Fighter that shares her name! How cool and believable is that?
Around this time, if you’re like me, you might be thinking. "Hey, maybe this isn't legit." So I reached out to [Established Production Company]. I found their general inquiries email address on their website, and forwarded them the email. I explained the weirdness, and asked them if it was a legitimate email or not. This morning I just got the response that the email, indeed, was fraudulent. They don’t have an employee by that name working for them.
So keep up your Google-Fu, freelancers! I don’t know what this scam would have been, but I dodged that bullet like Neo. So can you!