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Anatomy of A Work At Home Scam

Every so often I like to troll around the net a bit and see what kind of scams are out there attempting to lure people in. As much as I like the well-known classified site Craig’s List, their “Jobs” section has become a place that draws scamsters in droves.

Although I’ve actually had good luck finding some great opportunities in the Craig’s List “Jobs” section in the past, sadly, the people that run that site have either decided to allow it to become the wild west for scamsters or have just not figured out a good way to put a stop to them yet.

image While browsing through the “Jobs” section not long ago, one particular ad caught my eye. It was an advertisement for article writers and was offering between $5 and $20 per article for “quality writers.” Having done some writing work in the past, $20 per article seemed like a pretty sweet deal. A little too sweet perhaps. I had to find out more.

I responded to the ad and told the advertiser I was interested and wanted to learn more about the opportunity. This was the e-mail message I received the following day:

Sorry, for the EXTREME delay in getting back to you. I have had so many applicants, and it is hard for me to sift through all of the applications, read material, and pick the best candidates. I also have had some spots open up..

Like I said in the listing, we START out at $5 per article written. That is because we NEED quality articles and I fully expect quality articles to be written.

I have selected what I think are the best candidates and this is why you are receiving this email.

You can expect $500 a week from my writing projects alone, BUT, and this is a big but, if you fail to meet my quality standards, you will not get any more projects from our company. All you need to do is follow the guidelines and write, and you have been selected because you have shown that..

We may need to contact you from time to time and send you presentations .We use a company through exciting promotions, called EFAX. It is an all in one web conferencing platform.

Go to the links below, and sign up for the free 30 day trial, go to your corresponding country, so if USA, you go to the USA link, if Canada you go to Canada’s link –  it takes no more than five minutes. This is our main software program, and we require every one of our freelancers to have it. It requires a credit card or debit, but will not be charged.

The links are:

(Removed) – for USA

(Removed)  – for Canada

(Removed) – For UK

We will try each other out for a 30 day period, and if you do not like working for us, or we do not require your services you can cancel Efax in the free trial period.

If our relationship goes further than the 30 day trial period, you will be required to pay the monthly fee from the projects we give you. It will only be $16, and like I have already mentioned, you will be getting at least $500 a week in projects.

Ok, if that is all good, I need you to contact me after you are Efax enabled and I can begin giving you projects.

I need a confirmation email from you that says that you are EFAX enabled. I also need to know how you would like to be paid. Mostly everyone I work with has paypal, but we can send you a check if need be. In the email you need to specifiy how you want to be paid.

The email I need you to send –

Subject ‘ EFAX enabled ‘ Good to Go

Body:

  Payment method ‘ paypal ‘ my paypal address is ” yourpaypal address@mail.com

That is all and if you do good, I send some freelancers over $1000 a week in articles.

Cheers,

Now let me take you through the clues in this message that began to convince me that this is a scam and not a real opportunity.

First, there was no “EXTREME” delay in getting back to me — I received the message the very next day, which tells me that this e-mail came from an “auto responder,” which is kind of like the “vacation” feature that some e-mail programs feature which allow a pre-written message to be sent out automatically to anyone who sends you an e-mail message. This same exact message is going out to every person who responds to that ad.

Secondly, the message says “I have selected what I think are the best candidates and this is why you are receiving this email.” With the same message going out via auto responder going out to every person who responds to the ad, it kind of shoots a sizable whole in the claim that he has selected the best candidates.

Thirdly, the promise of $500 week for writing articles is a bit tough to believe. I’ve seen legitimate opportunities for article writers and they typically do not offer that kind of money, much less tell you it will happen every week!

Fourth we find the most glaring evidence that this is a scam. As you can see, he claims you are required to sign up for the eFax service. He provides a link to the sign up page where you can sign up for the 30-day free trial. However, it is not a link to the eFax site. In fact, it is a link to a site he controls that re-directs you to the eFax page with a little bit of extra information attached that benefits this scamster.

That little bit of extra information in an affiliate ID number. When a visitor arrives at the eFax site with this affiliate ID number appended to the web address (URL) of the eFax site and then signs up for the 30-day free trial, this lowlife makes money – about $12 if I recall correctly. This is because he has sent a “lead” to eFax, someone who has signed up for the free trial and may decide to stay on as a customer for a monthly fee.

He re-directs all inquiries through his own web page to hide the fact that his affiliate ID number will be seen if he simply puts the eFax URL inside his e-mail message, because it will have to have the affiliate ID number appended to it and it could make people a little suspicious, especially if they understand affiliate marketing!

The problem for this guy is that this kind of “marketing” is very much against the terms of service of most affiliate networks and if they found out he was up to this kind of thing, they would likely terminate his affiliate account and refuse to pay him the money he has managed to make so far. That’s the risk that these types of low-life affiliate marketers take.

As you can see, he tries his best to lend an air of credibility to his scam by sounding firm about the qualifications required for anyone the he hires. “…we NEED quality articles and I fully expect quality articles to be written.” Oh, give me a break, please! This coming from a moron that can’t even spell “specify,” and he has the nerve the be asking for “quality” writers?

Asking for your PayPal ID also intends to make it look more like a legitimate opportunity and may make some people more inclined to believe he is serious about paying people for writing assignments.

Fifth, the part about requiring eFax is also a bunch of baloney since any writing assignments or other materials that needed to be sent could be sent using e-mail attachments. There is NO need for a service like that in order to send out writing assignments.

Sixth, he really tries to set the hook on unsuspecting victims by saying that he pays some freelancers $1000 a week. Wow, $1000 week for writing articles sure sounds great, doesn’t it? That’s because it’s a crock of you-know-what.

Although I was sure this was a scam, I decided to try a little test on this weasel and I sent him a response to his ad from another e-mail address. In this message, I intentionally misspelled words and even misspelled his name and I still received the exact same e-mail message. Confirming that this is coming from and auto responder (or perhaps even a cut-and-paste job, I suppose) and going out to everyone no matter how poor their writing skills may be.

He has no intention of sending writing assignments to anyone, much less pay them for it. Chances are good that responding to his e-mail would result in him telling you that he has found a sufficient number of writers and does not need any more. If he’s a real maggot, he might even ask for a sample of your writing and then tell you it is not good enough and he cannot hire you.

Although this particular scamster isn’t really hurting anyone financially, it’s a pretty low-life trick to be playing on people during a time when the economy is in bad shape and some people are desperate for work.

Scumbags like this have been around since the beginning and there’s no reason to think they will be going away anytime soon.

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