Although my life goal is to write full-time and take on medical missions or disaster relief teams, most writers have to take on extra work.
Friends, please be careful. Thieves are becoming smarter and more aggressive. Today, I received an attempt to steal my personal information, and a second business offer similar in pattern to TheRealGroup pitch I fell for in May 2019. And just yesterday someone asked me to front for them on Upwork.
Social Security Fraud First Thing This Morning—Before My Cup of Coffee!
Let us first tackle the social security fraud.
It began with two calls from a number listed as from the state of Georgia, but no other identifier. I could not fully understand the person who called me twice in an hour and left two voice messages, but it was the same person in all three calls, of which I dialed one. The person attempted to alert me to fraudulent activity in the state of Georgia. He made it sound urgent to return his call. I did a reverse telephone number search but could not find any business listing connected to the number, so I returned the call.
Here is where it gets disturbing. They have a message at the front of the call that identifies them as a branch of the Social Security Administration, which intends to make it sound authentic. I am smarter than that. Social Security does not call you or suspend your Social Security number/card. If there is a problem, they usually send you a letter first. My guess is this is an overseas operation that has set up elaborate intake software connected through the internet to hardware or even an untraceable cellphone in Georgia. Well, the “agent” sounded like he was from overseas, anyway.
This person did not even try to hand me off to someone I could understand. This person attempted to explain through broken English that my Social Security had been used for fraudulent activity and wanted me to verify my personal information. Umm, NO! When I began to air my suspicion, the "agent" gave his name as “Agent So and So” (I am telling you his English was that bad!) and his "badge number," then aimed for more of my personal info. I hung up.
Before you ask, I have already filed a complaint with the SSA Office of the Inspector General.
Job Scams and Schemes Messing with My Day's Work
Later this afternoon, I received a job offer from another company called Venture Base Group, with a lure to draw you in. They start by designating you as a supply manager where you process and re-ship orders. The pay is decent, $7.00 per processed item—this is like how TheRealGroup (see below) started me out. Venture Base Group’s “website,” ancient and crude HTML by today’s business standards, has only vague descriptions of the business and has no images worthy of even a sixth grader’s talents.
You probably already guessed I did a reverse search on the phone number. It did not return a business listing, either. There might be some credibility in the address; the map places it in a building in Norfolk, VA. However, since there was no suite number, I could not verify whether the business was there or that was a false address.
Earlier Bad Experience With TheRealGroup
I am telling you this due to the eerie similarities to TheRealGroup, which had filled me with the hope I would elevate to better income while actually working for the money, something I value highly. I started out processing shipments for them during the “training” phase, for which I received a grand total of $28.00.
This is the terrible way this set-up works. Not even 30 days into the job, I received notification from the “Hiring Manager” that they wanted to promote me to Warehouse Supervisor. My pay would increase to a $4000.00 advance each month, with another $400.00 for storage fees. They even had a professional-looking contract and registered an LLC with the State of Texas for me. (They paid for it with an invalid credit card). I had to set up a business checking account. They wanted me to do some bitcoin trading to secure funding from an investor.
I worked for two months after the initial “promotion,” but I never received another dime other than the initial $28.00. When they wanted direct access to the checking account and disabling two-step verification, so I would have no real control over my checking account, I called it quits. And yes, I reported them to the FBI for fraud.
A Little Bonus Scam
And just yesterday, "Rich Mike" contacted me yesterday through Google Hangouts after contacting me through LinkedIn as Sam Sanderson. He wanted me to set up an account on Upwork because he had been banned from the site. He would pay me, but collect money earned from the site. It sounded too much like money laundering, so I said nope!
So, please be careful, friends. The wolves are out there. They are getting smarter and more deceitful and ravenous. The hungrier they get, the more dangerous they will become.
May God protect you,
E C Dollgener