Brent – Feb 05, 2020
Victim Location 55104
Type of a scam Employment
Saw the following posting on Craigslist:
Savvy Admin Assistant
Seeking an experienced Receptionist/Admin with at least 2 years of recent office experience.
• Be detail-oriented, self-motivated, with a positive attitude and possess excellent phone skills.
• Have strong computer skills and be familiar with the internet (online website navigation).
• Be proficient in Microsoft Excel & and Microsoft Outlook (Email).
• Be able to work independently, be organized, detail-oriented, & efficient.
• Be able to handle workloads that vary from day to day and week to week—from fast pace to slower periods of time.
Job Description includes:
• Front office duties will include answering telephones, greeting visitors, & ordering/maintaining office supplies.
• Provide general administrative support for various departments of the firm.
If you meet these requirements, please submit your resume with business references through this posting.
Wasn’t a fan of how there wasn’t any identifying information about the business, but I also understand that it’s Craigslist — there are definitely legitimate reasons for maintaining some level of privacy.
After sending an email, received a text message from the (657) number:
This is in regards to your application for the post of Savvy Admin Assistant position. You are to fill out a questionnaire from our website, https://jessicagallery.com/job-offer/ to be considered for this position."
The imperative language in the text raised a few red flags — and the fact that I received a text rather than a call, or even an email. So first, I checked out the website.
We are shaking up the art industry. Gone are the days when art was reserved for elite collectors with deep pockets; Jessica Gallery makes it possible for everyone to own original art. Our expansive online storefront features professional artists from around the world, offering clients a diverse range of art at accessible prices
Jessica Gallery provides a platform for artists to express their creativity without any societal boundaries. We promote “unpredictable art” as predictable art is neither inspirational nor is it collectable. Our Gallery serves the entire Art value chain. Ranging from collector consulting/advisory to valuation, restorations, private & public commissions and exhibitions. Our passion is driven by the belief that art is the ultimate form of expression of man’s inner most thoughts.
The website does not actually have a storefront. It has a "gallery" of art: pictures of nondescript modern art, some recognizable pieces (like Klimt’s The Kiss), but zero information about any of the pieces. Then, the further you scroll down in the gallery, you start to see weird photos of terrible "antiques" — like a cheap collection of cookie cutters.
For fun, I clicked on "job offer" — another odd word choice.
The job description was totally different from the job description on Craigslist, and initially struck me as the type of delusional "entrepreneur" who needs a "personal assistant" — not scammy, just crazy. But then the job offer started listing art supplies that would need to be purchased. The art supplies ranged from acrylics and gouache paints to "crayola" and "terra-cotta" and "brick" and my favorite, "high temperature superconductors".
Then, the form states that your pay will be sent "by courier." It asks for fairly standard information, until you get to a required field for "birthdate". Finally, there’s a question "Do you have a bank account?" and asks for your bank’s name, with the explanation "FYI: Note Bank Name is just to let us know if we have your bank on Our Payroll Platform".
Searching google for "Jessica gallery" yields no results tied to this website or this "business". In fact, even though the website is "jessicagallery.com", even after many many pages of google results, the website doesn’t show up.
Searching for the phone number I received the text from doesn’t give any substantial results — not even the "reverse phone number directory!" results.
The only other identifying information on the website were two phone numbers listed on a "contact us" form. After googling one of them, a result popped up for "Ada Pagan Arts" — which was word-for-word the exact same website as "Jessica Gallery".