Nova Scotia Man Warns of Work-From-Home Employment Scam

29 June 2015

Jonas Cosh had been looking for work for several years, posting his resume on employment websites in hopes that a recruiter would find it. Therefore, he wasn’t very surprised when he was contacted by a representative from a company specializing in student exchange trips who claimed to have found his resume online.

What did surprise him is that in the very first email, he was offered a job as a housing co-ordinator for international students. He had never applied for a position with the company before, and they didn’t seem to see the need to verify who he was. What’s more, the company was located in Fredericton and Moncton, New Brunswick, more than 3 hours’ drive away from Cosh’s home in Pictou County, Nova Scotia.

“I thought it was a bit strange because they never wanted to have a face to face interview,” Cosh told the CBC.

However, Cosh was willing to give the opportunity a chance because the idea of working from home was extremely attractive as a person with cerebral palsy. It also came with a convincing pay rate: $50 per hour for tasks like copying and filing.

Cosh exchanged several emails with the supposed supervising manager for summer group and school year exchanges before being asked to submit forms with his personal information. He was then given a series of tests. Finally, he was asked to set up an Interac e-transfer, which set off alarm bells in Cosh’s mind. When he said that this would be difficult for him, as he was disabled and would have to be accompanied by someone else at the bank, it “made them a little nervous”, according to Cosh. After that, he never heard back from the company again.

When Cosh contacted the New Glasgow Police and the Atlantic region’s Better Business Bureau (BBB), he found that 40 other people had reported a similar scam attempt over the past five to six weeks. He now fears that his information may be used for identity theft, and is certain that if he had set up an e-transfer with whoever was in contact with him, they would have attempted to steal his money. He thinks the scammers are intentionally targeting people with disabilities because they’re more vulnerable.

“It looks like such a good opportunity for people with disabilities to work from home. I think they could be easily targeted because they’re more desperate for employment,” he said.

The BBB is currently investigating four companies, which may or may not be connected, that have been offering similar fraudulent work-from-home opportunities.

“We are investigating it right now to see if there is a physical office location,” BBB spokesperson Jody MacArthur told the CBC.

If you receive a job offer without ever applying for the position, this is a sure sign of a scam. Other signs include unrealistically high salaries for simple tasks and being asked to wire money or fill out forms including personal information.

A credit monitoring service can help you track certain activities in your credit files and stay aware of potential identity theft.