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 Interact 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.

Security

We all want to be secure. Secure in our retirement. Secure in our home. Secure in life.

And then it happens. Perhaps it is just a teeny tiny prick or a major impact with a blunt instrument but something hits you. And your sense of security is gone. Just like that. Your life falls apart like jello nailed to the wall.

The stock market crashes.

Your retirement is no longer secure.

A thief breaks into your house.

Your home is no longer secure

The last checkup with the doctor brings bad news.

Your life is no longer secure.

You order a burger with ketchup and it comes slathered in mayonnaise.

Your stomach is no longer secure.

I spend a disproportionate amount of time in worry. I must love it. Worry, that is. I spend so much time worrying. About anything and everything I can.

But, more than anything else, I worry about making mistakes.

I imagine the worst possible outcome. Frequently. Lorraine might even say always.

Sure, I blame it on my corporate career. There I had to be constantly evaluating alternate scenarios around impactful decisions. The question “what might happen” was foremost in my mind when working with other senior executives, board members, and team members. As a former Chief Information Officer, or CIO, I was painfully aware that even one little mistake could result in being given a different CIO title: Career Is Over. The unemployment line. End of the line.

And I brought that thinking home.

My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened.

That quote, attributed to Michel de Montaigne, way back in the 1500s, resonates. I might even toss it on my tombstone although I am not quite ready to do so. Not for a while I hope. Hmmm. I worry about that too.

What happened to us a few months back was a wake-up call for me. A time to really get serious about preparing for the inevitable. To face the unknown, unknown risk, that, even though unknowable, must nonetheless be faced.

Some of you may recall that our vehicle was ruthlessly ransacked in Florida.

Okay, perhaps not necessarily ruthlessly. I had, after all, left the doors unlocked, and the thief had simply opened the door to get into the car.

Not really ransacked either. He opened the glovebox and the storage area under the armrest and the only trace of his entry and exit was a streak of suntan lotion. I could understand the suntan lotion. It is sunny in Florida after all and, despite the fact that the crime occurred sometime after midnight, I applauded the thief’s desire to protect his skin from the sun. He was a fellow worrier. He knew how to face the unknown, unknown risk. After this incident, I immediately started applying sunscreen at night.

Just in case.

Better safe than sorry.

What was stolen from our vehicle you might ask?

As it turns out, nothing. Despite having significant amounts of Canadian money in the car, roughly 10 dollars or so in coins, worth perhaps 50 cents or so in U.S. currency, the thief decided to abandon that stash of cash and try his luck elsewhere.

Back to the unknown, unknown risk.

I live by the following words of one of the greatest leaders of the free world, Donald Rumsfeld, who once said and I quote:

Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.

Ah yes. The difficult ones.

We must have eyes on our coach and on our toad.

After all, I spend far too much time hiking around in the remote regions of California.

I might look happy up there in that photo in the middle of nowhere but really, I am worrying. Worrying about whether some other thief is going to try to break into our vehicles and leave our stuff alone because our stuff isn’t worth all that much because we bought that stuff using Canadian loonies. And Canadian loonies are really just pennies in these United States.

Yes. The unknown unknowns!

And so I searched high and low. Low and high. Wide and narrow. Narrow and wide.

I even went on Amazon. Then Google.

And lo, there it was.

The solution to all of my worries. The thing that would singlehandedly restore my sense of security.

The Nightingale Drone.

Winegard and Customer Service

I am not a fan of Winegard. They are not a customer-focused company. They build products that fail and they make their customers go through a lot of inconvenience and expense to get Winegard products functional again.

You can read about the issue, an SK Motor Stall, here. It happened on February 2nd just as we were moving our coach to another site. Our satellite dish was stuck, pointing straight up into the air. This motor stall happened, mind you, after perhaps a mere dozen or so duty cycles on the system.

I called them up. They told me that the unit was no longer under warranty and that I would have to ship it to them at my expense, pay $350 USD plus taxes for the repair, and then they would ship it back to me. Oh, and it would take a couple of weeks to turn the repair around but only after I had submitted a WF-799 REV 2 Customer Evaluation Repair Request Form. Winegard would issue an RMA number and I could then ship the unit.

This is the WF-799 REV 2 Customer Evaluation Repair Request Form delivered as a fillable pdf document only it wasn’t fillable on a Mac. I had to import the pdf into an image editor, manually enter the required fields as text blocks, and export it back out as a pdf.

The first task was the disassembly and removal of the motor turret, dish and extension arm. Took two of us on the roof roughly an hour. We had a third person helping us on the ground.

Here is the motor turret after being removed from the mounting bracket on the roof of the coach.

The motor turret weighs about 40 pounds. My American buddy, shown here on the roof, despite not having a Robertson, helped me with the disassembly of the satellite dish. Thanks to Ron on the roof and Ron on the ground for all of your assistance.

After filling out the form, I waited for an RMA from Winegard. As we were leaving Florida on February 5th, I needed to get an RMA from them on February 4th so that we could arrange to have the motor turret packed and shipped to their factory before we left for California.

I called Winegard several times on February 4th, patiently explaining our situation each time, only to be told that they were overloaded with RMA processing — that in itself tells you something about the quality of their products.

Finally, late in the day, I received the RMA. I took the unit to the UPS store, paid $200 USD to ship it, and went on with life.

I received a call from them as we were travelling to California. They informed me that they would repair the unit without charge and ship it to our current location.

Okay. That is an acknowledgement that the product was known to be defective and that they are, to their credit, standing behind it.

But why make your customers go through all of these steps? Why cause the inconvenience associated with disassembly and reassembly of a complex piece of equipment? Why make your customers wait several weeks before they regain the functionality of the equipment? Why create complex forms and RMA processing?

Don’t get me wrong. I like engineers. I just don’t think they should be running businesses that interact with customers. And Winegard should use motors that can perform more than a few dozen service cycles.

Break and Enter

They broke in at 1:08 am. According to the cameras at the front gate. And they went site by site, breaking into any car that had unlocked doors, which was pretty much the whole park.

There is a bit of a false sense of security, being within a gated community, that you will somehow be immune from petty crime.

Not so.

The police are out in full force at the park. Two forensic units, 3 cruisers and one detective unit. As I write this post, one of the forensic officers is taking pictures of my car. Inside and out.

It appears as though the thieves were only looking for money. They went through our car, opening the storage areas within the centre console as well as the glovebox. We had sunglasses, our supplementary braking system, detailing products and a few other odds and ends. Those are all still in the car.

The thieves did leave residue from their break and enter. Those of you who know me well, know that I am very particular about detailing the car. I would never, ever tolerate suntan lotion smeared over the interior areas of the vehicle. I cleaned everything up before the forensic crew came along.

Oops!

I made it difficult, likely impossible, for the forensic officer to lift fingerprints.

We were fortunate in that nothing of value was taken from our car.

Did we have money in the car? Absolutely. All of the money was in Canadian currency. Loonies, toonies, quarters.

The thieves decided that the value of the Canadian dollar was so low that they left our Canadian money alone. They may have been petty thieves but they understood the value of a Canadian dollar.

Looks like we have to make sure that we keep everything locked up for the night. Might need to get a couple of security monitors for the coach.

Norway

This is my office for the nine days we are onboard the Norwegian Jade.

I could get used to this cruising lifestyle.

We lucked out and the good folks at Norwegian provided us an upgrade to a suite.

This is our main living area:

And our bedroom:

I think they knew we were celebrating something:

We just returned from our first day in Bergen, Norway. Stunning city and a great start to our time here.

Weather so far has been sunny and warm. Long days. Sunset is at 10:30pm.

Internet access is decidedly mixed. I seem to have a bit of bandwidth right now so pushing out a quick post to let you know that we are doing well and having a wonderful break.

We’ll have lots of pictures and experiences to share on our return to Canada.