~ By Bo Gembarsky
Like many people, I’m looking for work ~ ideally as a writer, since I have been doing that both professionally and personally for most of my life. Like many people, I have an account on LinkedIn. Also like many people, I prefer to think I can recognize scams when I see them.
In fact, I’m even more careful these days after a good friend of mine sent $6,000 to someone who did a good job convincing my friend that he was a relative and needed money for an emergency. Since that incident, I realized anyone can fall victim to frauds, so I’m on my guard.
Then this note showed up in my LinkedIn mail:
“Rosa” seems to be unaware that I have a name. That was the first red flag: if you’re going to send an email to someone, you should take a moment to personalize it, if for no other reason than it would instill an immediate familiarity and trust. So I took a look at her LinkedIn profile.
This person has been with “Elite Resumes Alliance Canada” for almost three years, yet her profile indicates she has only one “connection” and no one has recommended her for any of the skills listed, including “resume writing.” That was the next red flag: if you’re prospecting for clients in such a way, you should have some people endorsing your skill set. You should also have some testimonials from clients as to the quality of your service. After all, if you’ve been with this place for that long, someone must know who you are and how good you are.
It would also help if you and your business had a presence on Google. Quick searches revealed nothing about “Elite Resumes Alliance Canada” (other than the connection to this person) nor “Rosa Patton” (other than her LinkedIn profile).
Since her profile contained a picture, I did two things next: I Googled “Rosa Patton” and clicked on “Images” to see if her professional-looking visage was there. Among the first several hundred images I saw, none looked remotely similar… yet another red flag. Then I uploaded the headshot of “Rosa” into Google Image Search. Here is what I found…
Hey, she looks rather familiar. However, a search of LinkedIn for “Kerry West” found no one with that profile picture listed. Shocking, I know.
If that wasn’t enough to arouse suspicion, here is the rest of the LinkedIn profile “Rosa” posted…
She indicated that she came across my profile “as we share a few linkedin groups.” Yet her profile shows she is a member of only two: “Jobs in Canada (Citizens and Future Citizens)” and “Marketing, Sales & Business Development Jobs Network (a subgroup of Global Jobs Network).”
I belong to neither of those groups.
And her interests are… Cricket? Polo? Really?! Well, I guess that reinforces that fancy “bachelor of science” from Bishop’s. Very impressive… except that she identifies her degree as “BS” instead of the proper “B.Sc.”
Then I clicked on the footer note LinkedIn includes with these emails.
I have forwarded the email as requested: so far, no response of any sort from LinkedIn. Then I Googled “resumes-canada.org” which was the site listed in the return email link contained in the original email.
OK, so they have a website with testimonials. One thing that site does not have (as of this writing) is an “About Us” section where I could have confirmed that “Rosa Patton” is a “real” person. Even if there was such a section, I had already encountered enough dubious information to pique my suspicion.
Finally, I found this list of tips from careerprocanada.ca…
Yeah… it wasn’t even a good try. I would like to believe that someone with an actual B.Sc could come up with better BS than this ham-handed attempt. So thanks anyway and good luck in your future endeavours, “Rosa.”