Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gone Phishin'

Yesterday I sent off some job applications and then went out for the evening, came home, went to bed without checking my email.

Imagine my delight this morning when I found this in my Inbox:

Dear Applicant:

Congratulations, this is a tentative offer of employment for the available position with Fujitsu Limited.

As you know, this position pays a generous hourly wage, with benefits, and also provides potential to earn additional bonuses and incentives throughout the year. You are also provided with a full lunch every day, which is made by a local catering company. We are hiring rapidly at this time, and are fully prepared to make you an employment offer, provided that you comply with the rest of the recruitment terms.

This is a full-time position. You will be providing administrative support including, but not limited to, answering phones, completing reports, tracking shipments, and some minor inventory management. Some experience working as an administrative assistant is preferred, but not required. Full paid training will be provided.

To accept these terms and move on to the final stage of the recruitment process, you must provide us with a current copy of your credit report to go in your employment file. Fujitsu Limited has a zero-tolerance policy in regards to theft of company property. Your credit scores or payment history are not important to us; rather it is a means of verifying your identity, and will also serve as your acceptance of the position. Once you fill out the report, an email is automatically generated that notifies us of your acceptance of the position, that in turn will email you new hire paperwork and give you times for your orientation. Be sure to bring 2 forms of identification with you to the orientation.

Your free report can be obtained here:

This tentative offer will expire in 72 hours from the time sent. If you choose not to accept it, or have any questions, please email me directly.

We appreciate your interest in joining the team at Fujitsu Limited and hope you decide to come aboard!


Thomas Williams
Human Resources Executive

This message contains information from Fujitsu Limited that may be confidential and privileged. If you are not an intended recipient, please refrain from any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of this information and note that such actions are prohibited. If you have received this transmission in error, please notify the sender immediately.

A job! Already! Gainful employ! Huzzah and hallelujah! I leapt out of my seat and did a happy dance and did a victory lap and put on Angel of Death by Slayer and headbanged and announced it on Facebook and called my mom and all was right in the world. Then I hopped on Fujitsu's website and did a search for this Thomas Williams. It came up empty.

How unusual! I thought to myself. Then I googled '"Thomas Williams" Fujitsu USA.'

First result:

This is an employment phish for credit info correct? I got this for my wife this past evening the second of it's type in three days.

This is a phishing expedition I am assuming? Can anyone help me make heads or toes of this.


Dear Applicant:

Congratulations, this is a tentative offer of employment for the available position with Fujitsu Limited....

POP! goes the weaseling. My jubilance similarly deflates.

Moderator Dorothy provides the scoop:

It's an affiliate scam (though certainly some may add identity theft)...

We've seen several of them at scamwarners, and they have all worked the same way. The intermediate site leads to the real credit report site, as you already noted. You will get a "free" credit report, but you will have to give a credit card number and sign up for credit monitoring service as part of the deal. Of course you can cancel free of charge, but suffice it to say that there have been numerous complaints of people canceling and being charged anyway, or having to jump through so many hoops that they somehow weren't able to properly cancel.

Then, when your credit card is billed for the first monthly fee, the scammer collects an affiliate fee (last I checked it was $24 for for referring you to them.
A few hundred people falling for this makes quite a profit for the scammer...
They do the same thing with apartment rentals, too--place ads for gorgeous apartments at less than market value, then tell the "applicant" they need to get a credit report to be considered...

And again, there are possibilities of identity theft here too, though it appears that some of them at least are not going that far.

Edit to add:

For Freescore360

Affiliate Program Details:
Name: Credit Report - Free Score 360
Payout: $22.50 / Sale
Network: EWA Private Network
Landing Page: View Landing Page
Categories: Financial Services

So it's $22.50 per person who takes the bait.

A Portland Craigslist user also posted the email under the title JOB POSTING SCAM!!!.

Of the applications I sent off yesterday, all were to Craigslist offerings that did not provide a company name or a contact person outside the Craigslist email. I can't be sure which one baited me, but given the language they used in the posting and the email, I'm going to go with this one, which I'm posting in the interest of public awareness:

Office Assistant (Washington, DC)
Date: 2010-10-18, 10:55AM EDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

A vacancy exists for an Office Assistant with people and communication skills. Must exhibit a flexible hands-on and can-do approach. Job includes maintaining time sheet and tracking work progress. Full training given although some existing office experience is preferred. Start at $16.50 per hour including benefits. Opportunity for promotion.

Living in the big city is proving to be quite the education.


  1. Lesson learned *before* giving up your credit info is pretty good, I'd say! Call me soon with updates, m'dear.


  2. What flagged you, just the general request or the "redirect" in the web address?

  3. I was too happy with having "found" a job to think twice about the email's veracity. It was only because I wanted to find out who I'd be talking to that I took to Googling this imaginary fellow's name.

  4. My Heart just sank... I was checking my gmail account and clicked the spam button and it said 72hrs and that was 5 days ago I went OHNOES! ...but wait...job offer from blind ad need ID information required... *redflag/hopeswasreallyspam otherwise I just f*%ked up a good thing by not checking spam folder... This scam was cruel... As if I didn't have enough of a reason to hate craigslist blind job ads.

    Email was identical Fujitsu email but the scammers ID was: .../?id=jmad

  5. Got the same BS! When they wanted a credit report, I questioned it. Got another bogus email from a marketing firm in Orange County that asked to take an IQ test...

    This sucks, I so feel for you when you said you got so excited and now so disappointed.