Scams, they are everywhere. You’ll find scams in your mailbox, on your screen, you’ll even find them on legitimate job posting boards. As per normal I’m going through all the boards looking for work. Writing is where I look first, then I start looking at other things.
Well I found a sweet looking job posting. A small but known art gallery out of London was looking for a representative in the U.S. I immediately applied and asked for more details on the job. I had visions of art shows and museum tours. I even figured the job would entail negotiating shipments or scouting for new artists. The employer sent me back a rather lengthy email detailing the history of the gallery and how his time was consumed by new a new family and how he didn’t have time for some of the tasks that were required to handle overseas (for them) deals. He needed someone in the U.S that would handle them. He then went on to state how it wouldn’t be a full-time job, only a few hours a week a the most. At the end of his letter he made a small comment that started ringing some bells for me, the primary job responsibility would be to handle the American finances. If it sounded like a job I was still interested in then email him.
I cautiously replied and got a response a few hour later. It still sounded pretty good until I got to “…collect payments from our numerous customers within your region, process the payments, deduct 10% of the amount issued to you as your personal bonus and you transfer the rest of the funds to our main account officer whose information will be provided to you in due time …”. Now alarms are fully ringing in my head. I pull up the gallery’s website and start searching for the name of the owner. I can’t find the name from my email, but I can’t find any one elses names either. At that point I decide, I’m going to call them, only by then it is midnight London time.
Next morning, once I’ve settled in I pick up my Ooma (Great internet phone system BTW) and call the gallery. The phone is answered by an older gentleman named Paul who is quite charming. It turns out that Paul is the owner of the gallery and he only hires a few people from his family to help with the gallery. He was a little surprised about the job posting. I spoke to him for about twenty minutes (actually he spoke to me) about his current artists and art show. At the end of our conversation I sent him an email with all the information I had on the job posting and then I went to the job board and connected with their live chat board to let them know it was a complete scam.
After going back and forth for a few minutes on the chat board Odesk escalated the complaint and is investigating the job poster. I just hope that no one has actually fallen for this and taken the job. Worst of all would be if the reputation of that gallery was harmed by this.