WESTLAND, Mich. (WXYZ) — A new scam is emerging in Metro Detroit, and it comes in the form of a job opportunity. The authors offer people the opportunity to work from home and earn a lot of money. It sounds too good to be true, and it is.
Michael Linblade, 24, knows these trickster games very well.
“They texted me saying, ‘Are you interested in applying for the job?’ and so on. And I said, ‘Yeah, sure!’ “, explained Linblade.
Michael Linblade works at McDonald’s but was looking for a job in other areas that he was very interested in, such as science and/or technology. He was excited when someone claiming to be from the biotechnology company Aldevron took an interest in him.
First the text message, then a Zoom interview.
“They went through Zoom but it wasn’t like a face-to-face video. It was more of a conversation,” Linblade said, explaining why he never saw the face of the person who was supposed to be leading the video. maintenance.
The scammer on the other end asked him a variety of questions, in the form of an interview, but nothing that raised alarm bells for Linblade.
He admits that he is considered a vulnerable adult. He has had health and cognitive issues to deal with in his life. Also, it was really the first time he had applied for a job in the traditional way. He didn’t know what he had to watch out for at that time.
The whole “interview” didn’t last long. The next day, Linblade was offered the “job”. The scammer even sent him a contract to sign. It looked legit, with the company logo and confidential information all over the page.
After further conversations, the scammer mailed a check to Linblade. He was instructed to deposit it at an ATM so he could set up his home office.
Fortunately, Linblade did not follow the crooks’ instructions. Instead, he entered his local bank.
“I didn’t really think about it until I went to the bank to cash it and they said there was no bank name. It just says Subaru on it. Which, at first, I’m like, ‘Subaru is an automotive company, not a biotech company.’ This put me off a bit, but I still wanted to cash it in just to be sure. And of course it was fraud,” Linblade explained.
He said he only started researching after the fact.
Linblade called the real Aldevron. He was told that they are not currently hiring anyone for remote work.
“So I cried afterwards,” Linblade admitted.
Unfortunately, as Melanie Duquesnel, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Michigan and Upper Peninsula explained, Linblade is not alone.
“Unfortunately, this is one of our top five scams of the month. In fact, in our office alone, last week we had three employment scam calls,” Duquesnel said.
There were five calls the previous week. Additionally, the Better Businesses Bureau isn’t the only entity collecting scam reports, so it’s unclear how many there were in total in the Detroit metro area alone.
“If you’re looking for part-time work, if you’re looking for full-time work, and for whatever reason you don’t feel like working in the workplace, you’re at risk,” Duquesnel explained.
She said it’s a reality when you don’t see the employer face to face.
“When you walk into a place, you can get a sense of whether it’s legitimate work. When you rely on people to do things with a Zoom camera, you don’t always get the full picture,” Duquesnel said.
Regarding Linblade’s strange check situation, Duquesnel explained that scammers often ask that part of the check be returned, or that they use the transaction to glean personal information.
“They also now have on the back of that check when they pick it up, or sometimes the scammer actually asks you to deposit it, they now have your bank account number. So they’re going to rush whatever money there is and leave you dry,” Duquesnel explained.
Alan Castel is a professor of cognitive psychology at UCLA who studies why people fall for scams.
“We are really sensitive when we are looking for things that we really want. If it’s something we don’t care about, we quickly hang up the phone or say, “It’s not for me.” But as soon as it’s something like “Oh, a job where I can work from home and that’s exactly what I was looking for, I had my resume there, it lets our guard down.” Our emotional brain takes over and we stop thinking rationally,” says Castel.
He said the work from home/cheque scam follows a certain theme.
“I think it’s kind of a foot-in-the-door technique, where you ask someone to agree to something and discuss work and they offer you things that seem legit and then they make a request that you couldn’t normally. Like if a stranger asked me to cash a check for them, I wouldn’t. But now we have established a relationship and you give me a job, and to start the job, I just need to file or do something. He establishes that power situation,” Castel said.
Castel also explained that any time someone tries to rush you, like Linblade was when he was told to deposit the check at an ATM, you should be wary.
As for Linblade, he said next time he would be more aware.
“Do your research and if it sounds too good to be true, then it definitely isn’t,” Linblade said.
For reliable places you can go to look for a job or report a job scam, click here.