Some of my favourite jobs have come via Craigslist, but it seems there’s yet another scam for potential jobseekers to be wary of: the Personal Assistant scam. Basically, the scammer advertises a generic sounding job, then sends a response to applicants claiming to be some sort of successful businessperson who is out of the country or what have you, and in need of an assistant to receive payments or packages for them, along with other admin tasks. In another variation, they are “hiring” a caregiver for a relative who is in the local area who needs an apartment or other arrangements set up.
Then, like many scams of this nature, the supposed employer asks for personal and financial information, sends Western Union money transfers to be processed through one’s own bank account, i.e., they send a lot of money and the target is supposed to deduct their cut and send along some other portion, but of course it’s all a big fraud. Here are some other flags to watch for.
I find this an especially insidious twist on the classic Nigerian scam, as it preys not on greed, but on someone’s genuine desire for a job. Not to mention the loss of time it takes to send a resume and prepare that cover letter, which I sincerely hope, if you ever fall prey to this scam, is all it costs you.