Startup Influencer had the chance to interview with a guest, Meg, who is from the Philippines and was looking to work online. Unfortunately, her first experience is the story of many. Confusion, a lack of clarity and payment methods, and an illegitimate company resulted in her hard work going without payment.
1. Can you tell us the whole story about your experience when you were scammed online by working for a company you found on craigslist?
It was in the year 2011, I had no job, no income, I was just a plain mother just earning from a simple Ukay-ukay store in the side of our apartment. (Ukay ukay = used clothes in the Philippines).
Until a friend of mine mentioned to me to look for online work in google. I stumbled upon a website named Craiglist.org as was suggested on my search list when I hit the keyword online work from home, the named Craiglist appeared. So I browsed and found a suitable position I agreed to on my preferred work description, salary, and set up as remote.
I contacted the company by sending my Resume (not a CV) and a cover letter regarding my intention to apply as a Home based encoder for their company.
After 3-4 days they responded to my email with the schedule of interviews, it looks legit because there were series of interviews that I need to pass before they confirm my employment and also I completed an online typing exam.
Since, I’m applying as an encoder for them to test my typing speed skills I completed this. In short,
I passed the 3 interviews and the online typing exams.
Another email was sent to me by another person who introduced herself as the recruitment assistant for the company and she sends me an NDA and another one for the contract that looks legit.
But, because I’m not aware of the legitimacy of what a contract should look like I just read and then signed it.
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You should read and comprehend before you sign contracts in 2021
After a few days of waiting, they confirmed my employment and I am now officially part of their awesome team. I was happy and excited as it was my first time working from home with a US-based company.
I started asap since I need the work asap. I was told that I will need to report every week to my manager which seems to be okay to me since that is the company protocol and I need someone to review my work. I then proceeded to my work and I was scheduled on a nightshift around 12 am-7 am in the morning, that was hectic since I’ll be receiving a lot of documents to encode, so they keep sending me documents each day to encode regarding their automotive company plus the sales meter data that I need totally as well.
They told me in the contract that I’ll be working during that schedule, what I missed is that they never put the payment terms nor the date of my salary, and I didn’t review my contract well, I missed that part so it's my fault. I worked for them for 15 days and I was hoping they will pay me sooner than expected since they told me they will just transfer it via western union. I agree to wait for another week and I expected they will pay me at the end of the month, maybe they were just delayed since I'm their first employee from the Philippines.
But, unfortunately, nothing was transferred and after I submitted and finished my work for them they suddenly were out of reach in the email and the email just bounced back after a few days of contacting them and even their company website was down too. I was wrecked, brokered, and frustrated because I worked so hard for that job and I just felt betrayed and fooled.
That was frustrating because I need the money for my kids but then I had no other option but to just let it go and stop sulking since I have no control over those people and situations, I trusted God He looks over my situations and I will learn something from this. A lesson that I cannot forget until now and because of that I was very careful in dealing with employers and online work that I see online today. That mistakes gave me an idea of what details I need to look into in applying for a legit work-from-home job today. Lessoned learned so much! I'm thankful rather than hateful today because if it's not for that mistake I won’t learn.
2. Do you recommend searching for online work in other places?
Yes, I recommend LinkedIn, Freelancer. ph, upward. ph as my top platform for online work search. These are the best for me. But still, need to be cautious these days and read the company profile.
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Use LinkedIn to find legitimate companies, then find the opportunities there.
3. How do you make sure a company is legit?
First verify their online existence either by Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, read the comments of the people, how many likes and recommendations. Read their bio and contact information, some companies that are pretending to be legit will just put any numbers to dial or bogus addresses online which you can never find in the google map.
It's better to have a search on linked in too and find some comments regarding this company.
Check the www. who.is for domains for those company who has websites it will be useful information as well. Check the spelling and grammar on their website, bogus companies are mostly having grammar errors on their post and on their addresses.
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See who owns the domain, by checking whois.domaintools.com for example
I also checked with my community friends and asked them if they are aware of these companies, in the Facebook group you can ask the freelancer groups in FB regarding the authenticity of the company.
4. How could you have found out you were getting scammed sooner?
First, after submitting my work there are too many excuses regarding sending the salary to me, it’s either they are having errors on their bank account, or their people are not in the office so many excuses. Other than that they are out of reach for days and no communication at all.
5. How did you find your current job now?
I'm thankful to God, I was already volunteering in the IT community for years before I found my current work. Since the iT community is like an incubation of talents and skillful people, companies are merging with the meet-ups and conferences, and sponsored events. I met my employer through a conference and they sponsor one of our Drupal to meet up and from there I was introduced by one of my community friends and she referred me to the boss who organized tech meet-ups too.
History begins when I joined the community as an advocate for Drupal and volunteer for women's tech meet-ups. It's easy to find work when you are active in the tech community.
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Seek opportunities from your personal network; that way scams are reduced since personal relationships are on the line.
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