Fake Jobs

I hope this might be helpful especially if you have kids looking for work.

Today’s generation of young adults are constantly connected to the Internet. And they are accustomed to doing many things online, including searching for work. But, there are some very sophisticated scams out there making it important to conduct due diligence on any offer that originates from an online source.

My youngest son is looking for work to get himself ready to resume his studies in September. He posted his resume online to indeed, a site which claims to be the number one job site in the world.

He received the following email from a Matt Hicks:

My name is Matt Hicks.
I am Sr. Human Resources Manager at Johnson Controls.

I came across your resume on an online job board (Indeed) and wanted to
reach out to you to see if you might be interested in a contract opportunity.

We are seeking energetic and reliable person to join our team.

Job Description

Position: Customer Service – Manager Assistant

What you will do:
The position exists to monitor and respond to all incoming alarm transactions,
calls and requests for access to select clients.

How you will do it:
We will provide you with our software for this.

What Johnson Controls can offer you:
• Training Budget
• Flexible hours / Casual work environment
• Competitive Benefits Package
• Winner of Best Workplaces (Benefits, Perks & Incentives)
• Awesome new development machines (full accessories & dual monitor)
• Salary for Full time: 40 hours/week (880 CAD)
• Salary for Part time: 20 hours/week (440 CAD)

Requirements:
• Place of residence Canada
• You have customer service and computer skills
• Organization skills for successful workday planning
• Ability to multi-task, prioritize and manage time effectively
• Basic knowledge of the PC and basic knowledge of Microsoft Office.

Company Profile:
Johnson Controls delivers products, services and solutions that increase
energy efficiency and lower operating costs in buildings for more than one
million customers. Operating from nearly 2,000 locations in more than 150
countries, we are a leading provider of equipment, controls and services
for heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, refrigeration and security systems.

Please make sure you add the above email address to your contact
list to avoid lost messages or having it delivered to your spam folder.
If you are not interested, please let us know and we will not bother you again.

Regards,
Matt Hicks
Sr. Human Resources Manager
Johnson Controls Hamilton Office
40 Hempstead Dr, Hamilton, ON L8W 2E7, Canada.

My son called me to ask my advice on the offer. I was familiar with Johnson Controls. They are a large company with well over 120,000 employees. And perhaps they had an initiative where they required students to perform basic data entry activities on a contract basis. Not all that unusual. I took a quick glance and tried to find Matt Hicks on LinkedIn. No profile.

I then jumped on Google Maps and searched the address in Hamilton, Ontario.

Using Street View, this is what I found.

Okay. The address seemed to check out.

I told my son to respond very simply this way: “Thank you for reaching out and I am interested in learning more about this opportunity.”

Within a very short period of time, another email from Matt Hicks which included an application form. As my son’s resume was already online, he used that as a template to fill out the application. We made sure that no confidential information such as a Social Insurance Number, was disclosed.

Then another email from Matt Hicks.

I am glad to inform you that your information has been reviewed.

Our company decided to hire you for the Customer Service – Manager Assistant position.

Equal Opportunity & Non-Discrimination
Johnson Controls is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer and
all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color,
religion, sex, national origin, age, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity,
status as a qualified individual with a disability or any other characteristic protected by law

Get Connected and Grow Your Career
Bring your passion for innovation and we’ll challenge you to help us create a better tomorrow.
We support you at every level of your career.

Learning and development resources offer you a variety of meaningful courses and programs
to guide your career with a focus on tomorrow. Gain the skills and insights you need to make an
impact on lives around the world. We also offer leadership development opportunities to potential
senior-level talent across the company.

Business Resource Groups (BRG) bring together employees with similar backgrounds and
experiences to work together toward professional development, improving corporate culture and
achieving business results.

Please follow the next steps to complete Employment Agreement:
1. Confirm you’ve got this message by sending me an email.

2. You can find a PDF “Employment Agreement” attached to this message.
Please look through carefully, print it, fill out your personal
details in required fields and sign the contract. Please email me back
a scan copy of the document as soon as you are done.

Your duties :
– Be in touch with your manager (It’s me Matt Hicks) by email or by phone constantly.

– Keep your mobile phone switched on (all the time of your work).

– Perform all tasks quickly and efficiently.

– You cannot engage in side issues that hinder your work during the working day.

– Strictly perform tasks (it will affect the decision about your permanent employment).

– Make a report of each done task.

Salary:
Full Time: 880.00 CAD/week
Part Time: 440.00 CAD/week

You should constantly check e-mail during the day and quickly respond to my messages.

Now I am waiting for the contract signed and will be very glad to see you as a new partner of Johnson Controls!

Regards,
Matt Hicks
Sr. HR Manager
Johnson Controls
Hamilton Office
40 Hempstead Dr, Hamilton, ON L8W 2E7, Canada

My son passed me a copy of the contract. It looked official. It included the correct corporate logo and the typical corporate legalese that you would expect to see in an employment contract.

There were, however several red flags. The biggest one? This line:

Use Bitcoin during your work to purchase software for customers.

What?

I told my son to not engage in any further communication with this Matt Hicks. And I decided to do a bit more forensic work.

The first, and easiest, task was to check the WHOIS registration information for the domain in Matt Hicks’ email address.

His email address: matthicks@johnsoncontrolshrteam.com

I entered the domain “johnsoncontrolshrteam.com” into the WHOIS system and out came the following:

Another red flag. Domains By Proxy is used by fraudsters as the registrant information is private.

Compare the WHOIS information above to the real Johnson Controls domain “johnsoncontrols.com”:

Corporations do not hide their identities by using a service like Domains By Proxy.

Time to do a bit of pinging.

Pinging the domain “johnsoncontrols.com” brings back an IP address of 45.60.0.197. And, as expected, this is the direct IP address of the domain.

Pinging the domain “johnsoncontrolshrteam.com” brings back an IP address of 216.239.32.21. That IP address points to the following domain: “any-in-2015.1e100.net”.

Enter that into a browser and here is where you land.

I knew that my son was being targeted by a scammer.

If my son had proceeded, here is how the scam would have unfolded.

He would have been asked to electronically transmit his personal information, along with banking details. Then, he would have been asked to arrange a wire transfer for funds related to the job duties to “use Bitcoin during your work to purchase software for customers”.

He would receive either an Interac e-transfer or a cheque prior to the transfer of funds. Once received, those funds would need to be withdrawn immediately and deposited into a Bitcoin account. The e-transfer or cheque would fail to clear a few days later causing the bank to reverse the transfer. My son would be on the hook for those funds.

The scammer would then look for another target.

Online fraud is becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Be careful.

30 replies
  1. Paridhi Shah
    Paridhi Shah says:

    I got the same offer and I am an international student. I felt suspicious too and decided to dig a little on my own. Your blog confirmed my suspicions and you saved me from so much trouble!
    Thank you so much!

    Reply
  2. Jillian
    Jillian says:

    I got the same job offer & I felt suspicious did a little more research & came a crossed this & didn’t go any further. I even got a weird phone call almost like a robot voice saying it’s Matt Hicks. Thank you so much saved me a lot of trouble.

    Reply
  3. Connor
    Connor says:

    My best friend was so excited when he got this. After he got the contract and saw the bitcoin, he knew it was a scam. Showed me the email and I knew something was up. Great digging!

    Reply
  4. Eds Palo
    Eds Palo says:

    Hi Thank you so much for this blog. I received the same job offer with Matt Hicks. When I read the Bitcoin thing, it triggered me to do my research and my husband found your blog. So scary. I just gave him my interac details (e-mail and Bank name). Your blog saved me from hell. Not only him I also received a job offer from Ken Ramos represented himself as HR Manager of Online News 24. I’m scared since they knew where I live as it was in my resume which i posted on Indeed.

    Reply
    • Richard
      Richard says:

      I am pleased to hear that you did not suffer any financial hardship!

      I wouldn’t worry about a scammer if you did not take the bait. These fake job offers are nothing more than phishing attacks. If you don’t fall for it, they quickly move on to someone else.

      Reply
    • Richard
      Richard says:

      The best thing to do is to end any further communication. The scam is based on getting you to send your money, in this case probably via Bitcoin, to some third party and then have you cash in their cheque or e-transfer reimbursement. The reimbursement will fail to clear and your bank will hold you responsible for the money you transferred. There is the possibility of identity theft if you provided personal information such as a Social Insurance Number and you may want to ensure that you check your credit file over the next few months. With this scammer, I suspect it isn’t worth their effort to steal identities. They are looking for a quick and easy turn of money.

      Reply
  5. Guy
    Guy says:

    All Students, BEWARE!!!
    The same thing just happened to my daughter!!!
    Very similar emails but different name/company.
    It came supposedly from James Mofford, HR Manager, Shopify Inc.
    Do not fall for this!!!
    Thanks Richard!!!

    Reply
    • Fatima
      Fatima says:

      Dear Lord! I got the same email today and was not sure so tried looking up this guy. Since he was no where to be found I got suspicious. This is so dangerous!

      Reply
  6. Suzan
    Suzan says:

    Thank you Richard! This was extremely helpful to me. The same thing happened to be and I sent my information to them but luckily it wasn’t anything that wasn’t already on my resume they found. As soon as I started communicating with them more I could see the unprofessionalism. Their only goal was to get the money into my account and get me to put it on to Bitcoin. Which was extremely sketchy. I searched for more information and came across your article. I right away stopped communicating and they stopped bothering me when they realized it wasn’t going to work on me. I also blocked them later on.

    Reply
    • Richard
      Richard says:

      Hello Suzan,

      You are most welcome! I’m glad the post was helpful to you and, most importantly, that you did not fall victim to their scam.

      Richard

      Reply
  7. Sara
    Sara says:

    Hi Richard!

    Thanks so much for this post. I was contacted by “Matt Hicks” and thought it was weird when he mentioned Bitcoins. I also have referred this to the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre so they can figure out who’s behind this.

    Reply
    • Richard
      Richard says:

      You are welcome Sara. Good that you caught the unusual request for using Bitcoins at work!

      Scammers operate with impunity, rarely ever caught or charged with a crime, and it is unlikely that the CAFC will ever find out who is behind this particular scam. CAFC can, along with other government agencies, raise awareness about these types of scams. And job sites, like indeed.com, should do a better job of quickly shutting down these fraudulent operators.

      Reply
  8. Sandra Aboagye-Mensah
    Sandra Aboagye-Mensah says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I was a day away from signing their fake employee agreement. I feel like such an idiot. In your post, the name they gave was Matt Hicks, however, just like Guy my email came from James Mofford, HR Manager, Shopify Inc. Unfortunately, an initial search of his name didn’t bring up your site. Also, he has a lot of my information that is readily available on my resume and also my references’ phone numbers (luckily no emails). I will inform them of this horrible scam and hope they do not receive calls from this horrible person. Thank you so much

    Reply
    • Richard
      Richard says:

      I suspect that “Matt Hicks” found this site and elected to change tactics to another company and name. Best to drop all contact with the scammers. They will simply move on and try to fleece someone else. I am very pleased to hear that you did not sign their agreement and that you did not suffer any financial loss.

      Reply
  9. Long Dinh Le
    Long Dinh Le says:

    I’m already do 2 deposit to bitcoin atm and i just read your article and gladly i will laid of the company and it’s make me confuse a lot because it’s been 2 weeks and almost a month but i didn’t got paid

    Reply
    • Richard
      Richard says:

      If you made the Bitcoin deposits, then, unfortunately, your money is gone. Cut off all communication and make no further Bitcoin deposits — you will never get paid from this scammer.

      Reply
      • long le dinh
        long le dinh says:

        And yes i lost 4400 dollar right now and i would wonder if the police can help to track down this person

        Reply
        • Richard
          Richard says:

          You should file a report with the police. Sadly, there is very little that they can do and highly unlikely that they will ever find this scammer. I am sorry that this happened to you.

          Reply
          • long le dinh
            long le dinh says:

            But i appreciate your post cause when i suspicious and do some research and when i read your post is the same as my case and i immediately get out of it so if i didn’t do some research i would lost more than 4k4$

  10. Mohak Soni
    Mohak Soni says:

    Hello Richard, thank you for sharing this with us. I recently got a mail from Matt Hicks offering me a Job opportunity to become a CSM assistant. He mailed me an application form which requires me to fill up my details. I had no idea that this would be a scam as the address of the work place seemed genuine. What should i do now ?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *