Scamming Jobseekers

How low can some scum go?

This afternoon, my sister called me to chat about some things. The topic of her ongoing job hunt came up and she told me about what we both think is a scam.

She’d applied for a bunch of jobs that were listed on Craig’s List. Later the same day, she got an e-mail message from someone identifying herself as “Sister Mary Joseph” who claimed that one of the people my sister had applied for a job with had forwarded her contact information. Sister Mary Joseph was supposedly a recruiter who had dozens of high-paying jobs waiting to be filled. She provided a partial list that was short on details. The problem was, my sister’s resume needed some work and Sister Mary Joseph’s company would have to revise it before they could apply for any of the jobs.

The fee for this service? $100.

Sister Mary Joseph offered to give my sister 90 days to pay the fee. All she had to do was give Sister Mary Joseph her PayPal information, and Sister Mary Joseph would deduct the money from my sister’s PayPal account when the time came.

All this was revealed in a series of e-mail messages between my sister and the oh-so-generous-and-helpful “Sister Mary Joseph” — one of which actually ended with the phrase, “God bless.” When my sister pointed out (truthfully) that her resume had just been redone for her by a professional, Sister Mary Joseph said that she’d shown the resume to a bunch of people and they were all critical. It definitely needed the work that Sister Mary Joseph’s company would provide.

At this point, my sister, who recognized this as a scam as soon as the $100 fee was mentioned, broke off communication. Baiting a scammer is fun, but after a while, it does become a waste of time.

My sister thinks that a number of too-good-to-be-true job ads in Craig’s List (New York) were posted by a person or company who uses them as bait for desperate job seekers. They con them into coughing up $100 for resume services they probably don’t need to get jobs that probably don’t exist. Or, for the really dumb ones, they get PayPal information so they can suck an account dry or go on a shopping spree. She’s reporting the scam to Craig’s list. With luck, they’ll act and remove these scammers before they con anyone else.

Because I’m sure they’ve already sucked money out of enough job seekers.

4 thoughts on “Scamming Jobseekers

  1. Hey all, Maria’s sister here. I just wanted to give an update here.

    I went onto Craigslist the next day to report the job listing as a posible scam only to find that the listing was gone. Anyone who has used Craigs list knows that a listing will be posted for 30 days unless the person listing it removes the listing or if Craigslist discovers it to be a scam or not what it is advertised to be. Obviously one of those two things happened. That doesn’t mean that Sister Mary Joseph, or others like her, aren’t still out there. That includes all websites, not just Craigslist which I’m very happy with.

    I was the vice president of operations for a bank, therefore I am trained to notice things that just don’t seem right, and that’s what made me question what was going on, but not everyone out there has a suspicious mind. (And let’s face it, some of these scams are real convincing). I just want to give a few tips to those of you who are seeking employment.

    1. You should never have to pay for a job. If anyone tries to sell you anything with the promise of getting you a job, just say no, even if they tell you they are a recruiter. Recruiters make their money from would be employers not employees. If they feel you need to improve your resume, they will help you for free.

    2. If you get a reply from an online job search and it is very long (full page or more) be careful. Ask questions. Look at their website is available, if not find out what it is. If someone want to interview you, they’ll wither call to set up an appointment, or send you a very short and sweet e-mail.

    3. When looking online for a job, look at the details of the position. If it lacks details, asks if you are unhappy in your present career, or has a salary range that is either too good to be true for the job posted, or goes from one extreme to the other ie. “compensations:34K-74K, reply if it fits what you’re looking for, but be cautious.

    4. “no experience necessary” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen that one, especially in the finance world. If the job seems like it should be performed by someone with experience ie: Financial advisor” chances are it might be more of a pyrmid scheme, not a full time paying job. And don’t be fooled by being told that it’s a sub of a well known corporation. Some of these companies are, but once you have to pay a fee for, oh, let’s say to get your series 6 or 7, be smart about it. Find out what the service is that they are providing. If it’s a free service they offer to the public and by the way, if you bring people into the company you can get a percentage of their comission too, etc, etc, etc, well think, how is that possible if the service the company provides is free. You’ll find this mostly in the finance industry and insurance. And yes, believe it or not, some of these are legal due to loop holes in the law. Just remember, if it’s a legit business that requires you to have any kind of licensing, such as a series 6 or 7 or any other series, they will sponsor you and pay for it.

    I don’t mean to be long winded about this, I just want any of you out there who has been effected by the economy, especially those who are unemployed, to be safe. We all need to stick together, especially during these hard times. If there are any of you who have any additional tips or who know of other schemes or scams, please share.

    Good luck to all.

    • Thanks for adding all this, sis. I think the fact that scum like “Sister Mary Joseph” are out there is something worth speaking up about. Glad you added your own advice. If we can stop even one person from getting scammed like this, we’ve done a good thing.

  2. Our latest information is that Harris Black is presently running this scam from Pattaya, Thailand. Please advise Craigslist of the fake job ad and flag it for removal.

    If you live in the United States, you should file a complaint with the FBI at:

    If you live in Canada, please file a complaint with the RCMP at:

    A complaint filed with the Better Business Bureau will also be of great help in warning others.

    IX web Hosting is the company that allows Harris to keep his website, We have informed them of Harris’ scams, and we have supplied proof but they still refuse to close him down, so they are in fact now, knowingly helping Mr. Black to run his scams.

    Please share our web address with your family and friends. The more people who know about him, the fewer victims he’s likely to get.

    Thanks for letting us know and please take the few minutes to file the complaints.

    BTW…The email addresses that this crook uses for his scams are: &

    Gary R. McHugh


    • Gary: Thanks very much for sharing this information with us. I just followed your link and read up on this scammer. At first, I thought he was a different con artist than the one who tried to con my sister, but the information you provided at the very end of the piece convinces me that it’s the same person. I’ve told my sister to follow up with the FBI. I hope other folks reading this learn something that will protect themselves from scammers in the future.

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