Revelation: Craigslist Is for Scammers

After five months of searching for work, I feel I have exhausted all or most of the legitimate resources for job seekers.  Scanning the classifieds in my local paper had yielded surprisingly little within my areas of expertise (editing, office management, research, reception, and light technical support).  Monster.com had gotten me nearly entangled in a “legitimate” pyramid scheme.  Not knowing where else to turn, and not ready to sit out on the street corner with a sign reading “WILL EDIT FOR TATTOOS,” I turned to Craigslist.

Now, I am aware that Craigslist is a scary place full of horny malcontents and other variegated sleezeballs. However, I’d been having good luck getting responses and interviews from the people who were posting in the Writing/Editing jobs section, which made me believe that with a little discretion, I could avoid the pratfalls of online job searching. Unfortunately, the writing/editing ads are too scarce to sustain a thorough job search, so I turned to the Admin/Office section.

Here, I found a plethora of generic-sounding job offers. I picked four of the least creepy and suspicious and sent a cover letter and resume (one that I passed over was for a “Jack of All Trades” at a private school, whose ad read in part: “We delight in discovering the person who has a handle on grammar, punctuation, office professionalism, multi-tasking, reliability and will be dedicated to our school life. If you think that you have these skills, but not the experience, please tell us that as we leave no stone unturned. Please tell us a little about yourself. As a family environment we appreciate cover letters that tell us about the candidate.”) I have thus far received three replies.

All of them have turned out to be scams, with varying levels of obviousness.

The first reply was immediately apparent. They listed several generic secretarial duties, one of which was “buying office supplies with a company credit card.” You see, as they’d had problems with employees abusing the company credit card in the past, they wanted to be sure that I was trustworthy before bringing me in for an interview. If I could just go to this website and apply for a credit check, then email them my credit score, they would be happy to consider me as a candidate. Even if my credit score was low, because they were really just looking to make sure that I was honest. Stealing my identity and racking up huge amounts of debt in my name? Now that’s a level of honesty we can all aspire to.

The second one seemed legitimate at first. They just wanted me to submit an online application, which isn’t that unusual.  I filled out the first few pages of the application, but after clicking through a few times I reached the crux of the situation: they’re a company which helps individuals to make thousands of dollars per month working from home, and with barely any effort! Hooray, I finally found a job I can do while simultaneously playing Beatles Rockband and clipping my toenails. Search concluded.

The third reply, and most thoroughly rage-inducing, I received this morning. This one was a lengthy reply which was clearly written by a human (she insisted that you wouldn’t get rich working for them, but it was a way to make a little extra money on the side). The company is a mystery shopping organization, which Wikipedia tells me is a legitimate practice dating back to the 1940s wherein a company pays another company to have people pose as shoppers and review the service they receive. However, Wikipedia also alerted me to the vast amounts of recent online fraud surrounding these companies. The website that she had linked me to (another online application) contained a Manhattan address, so I hopped on over to the Better Business Bureau website and searched for it. Here is what they had to say:
“The BBB is unable to process complaints against this firm because all known addresses are false. Consumers report to the BBB that they are given a check by this firm in order to perform mystery shopping jobs. Consumers are told to deposit the checks and send half of the funds back to the company. When the checks bounce, consumers are out large sums of money and could be prosecuted in a criminal court for trying to cash a fraudulent check.”

I decided that the possibility that a human being had penned the email I had received was decent enough to warrant a response.

Dear “Sara Craver,”

Thanks to the fantastic services of the Better Business Bureau, I was able to find out that your company is a fraudulent one. It seems that most people currently advertising for administrative assistant positions are scamming the un- or under-employed during a recession. If this email reaches an actual person, I urge you to reflect on the concept of moral integrity. Quit your job. Tell your employers that this tactic is not acceptable. Your method of making money is downright evil, and you should probably find a corner somewhere, sit in it, and really think about what you’re doing, which is stealing money from those who can least afford it.

Shame on you.

You suck.

Sincerely,
Go Fuck Yourself.

It felt awesome.
Not as awesome as a steady job, but a close second.

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  1. Hey, I found your blog in a new directory of blogs. I dont know how your blog came up, must have been a typo, anyway cool blog, I bookmarked you. 🙂

  2. online jobs are many but most of them does not pay well enough so choose an online job well ;:’

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