An Ontario lawyer notified us that his office started receiving emails from Florida from people who had responded to a Craigslist ad advertising for a local office assistant. The ad said the lawyer was Ontario-based but looking to conduct transactions in Florida and needed someone to run an office, book flights, etc. Because the ad used a Hotmail address instead of a proper law office domain name, some responders grew suspicious and contacted the lawyer directly.
Here is the message received by those that replied to the ad (which has since been removed).
Thanks for your interests in the Office Assistant position, i will deeply appreciate all genuine efforts to help me monitor and keep up to date with all my activities. I am offering you the position of Office Assistant, so i will give this a go with you. I'm looking for someone that can be trusted and reliable, someone with good understanding also good working skills.
I am **lawyer name*** , the President and also owner of ******* Law Firm based in Canada. I'm also an Investor and I have been pretty successful in a handful of ventures I get involved in; from Canada and United State to various welfare and community service programs. I most very often get my hands occupied, so it is imperative for me to have a worthy admin assistant who can monitor and keep me up to date with my activities in the United States.
This position is private and flexible, working with me is basically about instructions and following them. My only fear is that I may come at you impromptu sometimes, so i need someone who can be able to meet up with my irregular timings.
I'm sure you'll understand I tend to have a very busy schedule at this point as have been through lots of resumes today, i think yours stand out and you could be the right person for this position. Please note that this position will be a part-time job for the next three weeks, after three weeks it will be full time, you can work from your home office or any where you like during this three weeks, if you also like to keep this job as part-time job after three weeks, that option is open to you.
I am making this position part-time for the next 3 weeks because of my frequent travels and tight schedules. I'm also opening a new office in the city which will be my first office in United State, on my getting back to the states this position will be an office base job in my new office so there will be no interview for this position till i get back to the state.
As my admin assistant, your activities will include:
*Create and modify documents using Microsoft Office
*Running personal errands, supervisions and monitoring.
*Scheduling programs, flights and keeping me up to date with them.
*Acting as an alternative telephone correspondence while I'm away.
*Making regular contacts and drop-offs on my behalf.
*Handling and monitoring some of my financial activities.
*Basic wage is $3,500 a month, Be-weekly $1750
As I have said, I'd want us to get a head start with things as soon as possible. I do have a pile up of work and a number of unattended chores which you can immediately assist me with. I hope we can meet up with the workload eventually. Permit me to use the coming days to test your efficiency and diligence towards all these, also to work out your time schedule and fit it to mine. I sure you will be perfect for this job according to what your resume says, am sure we can have a relatively sound working relationship between us.
I'm online most of the time as I am hard of hearing so I prefer we contact each other through E-mails but if there is need for me to call, i will be glad to do that. I have been checking my files and what i would want you to do for me in a few days time is to run some errands out to some of the orphanage home which I do every month. You will make some arrangements by buying some stuff for the kids at the nearest store around you and I will get back to you with more information on that, but first I need to know if you are accepting this job position.
Kindly get back to me with a confirmation mail if you willing to take on this job position also want you to confirm your details as listed below:
Full Name : _____________
Full Address : _____________
City : _____________
State : _____________
Zip code : _____________
Cell Phone Number : _____________
Email : _____________
Its not clear if the scam intends to use local dupes for some kind of bigger scam, or simply is preying on desperate job hunters who might supply their bank information for "payroll" reasons or pay a fee to have their references checked. And because the ad used a Hotmail account, a lawyer might never be aware his name is being used until someone takes the time to contact him directly.
We saw a similar scam last week in a newspaper advertisement. It used a name that did not match-up with any current Ontario lawyers, but did promise work in a law office here in Toronto.
One way to keep tabs on how your name is being used online is to sign up for Google Alerts, which will email you when your name or your firm name (or any search term you choose) appears online.
If we find out more about this scam and how it plays out we'll update this post.