If you had of told me that in my job hunt I would be asked to illegally launder money out of the country, I wouldn’t have believed it.
After applying for work for about a month or so, I received an email to say one of the companies found my resume successful. I was then sent an application form to fill out and send back. Successful again! The next step was an over-the-phone interview as the company was American and outsourcing people for customer service roles. I finish the phone interview and wait to find out whether I’ve been successful or not. A day or two later, I get an email saying I was successful and I would receive a contract to read over and sign if I want to start training.
I noticed that in the contract, it mentioned the two week training would be paid and it contained the salary if I was successfully hired but didn’t mention any superannuation which is mandatory by Australian law. So I reached out to them and was reassured that whilst I was being paid for the two weeks training period and would receive superannuation once hired, as I still might be unsuccessful in the training, superannuation would only be sorted once I was successfully hired. A little off-putting but being successful and hired and then back-paid superannuation is better than nothing.
I read and reread the contract, signed it and sent it off. I was then told it would take one to two weeks to process. After one week of hearing nothing, I emailed them asking for an update on my papers and was told they were still processing. No worries.
Another week passes and they email me telling me that training will be part-time hours so I have to be at my laptop with my phone between 8:30am and 11am every day. So I did just that. For about two weeks. I turned down casual work with a family friend as I didn’t want to give the wrong impression to this company. So I continued to wait by my laptop for my training to start.
After two weeks, I contacted them asking for a clear commencement date as they had passed the one I initially gave them. This just happened to be a Thursday or Friday and I was told my training would start on the Monday. A little annoying I had turned down other work and social things for the past two weeks for nothing, but not to worry, I was about to get my stable income with this new job, right?
So it’s the Friday night, I log into my online banking app for whatever reason I can’t remember. I see that $1500 has been put into my account from a name I don’t recognise. After a bit of googling with the little information attached to this deposit, I couldn’t come up with any reason or answer and decided to call the bank once it opened in the morning.
I wake up and the first thing I do is call the bank and ask if they can see where it’s from or give me any more information. Since it was a direct deposit done online, they couldn’t give me any more information than what I already had and told me to contact the people I was waiting on money from. I remembered that this company was going to pay me for my training and think this could be the payment in advance.
I check my emails and the first thing I see is an unread email titled;
Your first training task…
My stomach sinks.
I opened it and found that I was being instructed to wire the money overseas, forge an invoice to make it Euro rather than AUD but not to actually convert it, and keep $75 for myself.
$75 to illegally launder money? No thanks.
I call my bank immediately, explain what I had just found and my suspicions to then be advised that the fraud department is closed but they have to freeze it.
Now, by ‘it’ I assumed the $1500. No, no. All my accounts. It was then decided that since we didn’t know how long it would take for this to be investigated, I could still access my debit card account but had to transfer a little more money into it because the account it was attached to, being the one the money had appeared in, had to be frozen indefinitely.
Guess who just went from savings and potential job to zero job and zero access to savings. Yep. Right here.
So I wait for Monday to roll around with the banks call to tell me all was sorted. I get a call Monday morning and answer eagerly. Turns out it was my ‘future employer’ wanting to know if I had completed my training task. I follow instructions given by my bank and convince them it’s out of my control and the bank is having some issues but I’ll get on it when I can.
I check my emails and find they had already tried to contact me a number of times, the most they had in the whole hiring process. So I call my bank and explain to them I’m being contacted and this needs to be sorted ASAP.
Late Monday night, after many more emails from said company, my bank calls and states the money that entered my account had been flagged as stolen the day before and the company I was apparently going to be working for doesn’t exist.
So the money is confiscated (no finders fee, thanks guys) and I have to go into my local branch the next day to close all accounts in my name and start fresh. This also meant I spent a day on hold with every company that was connected to those accounts for bills. Not much fun.
Now, I had been told multiple times if the job sounds too good to be true, it is. This job hadn’t promised me anything out of the ordinary. It was a regular salary, with regular hours and their hiring steps were nothing strange. I’ve since had companies with the same hiring process. It’s not out of the ordinary that a company recruiting for outsourced work would just interview over the phone. It’s not uncommon for companies to have their own applications for you to fill out nor is it strange for them to want you to sign a contract stating your rights to work.
I found this position on a reputable job search website and have since informed them of this incident however they’ve responded saying there’s nothing they can do. I was also advised to report the company to a federal website for cyber crime and have been informed that I will have to attend court if the apparent company is further investigated.
Not really the start I had anticipated.