Potential Scam Warning

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  03 March 2018
Potential Scam Warning

Normally I would just move on with my life, but I feel like this scam attempt was a little too educated to just let it go by without informing people of the potential danger as it was a somewhat complicated attempt. Or at least the most complicated I've ever received.

I am a freelance VFX artist. I mostly work from home right now. I was contacted this week from someone claiming to be with a large companies TV department (DM me if you want to know the name of it) who had seen my resume on Indeed and was looking for an 'animator'. Right away I typed the name into google and Linkedin and found no such HR professional. The name was either fake, or they weren't on LinkedIn, but I found it highly unlikely an HR employee working in Burbank wouldn't be on LinkedIn. The job breakdown was pretty convincing, but right off the bat I was put off because the description sounded like a motion graphics artist, but they were calling it an 'animator' position. I know there are small clients that don't quite get the difference, but may be well intending so I decided to see what this was about. The email asked to chat on google hangouts as a sort of interview, the work is remote, so again, it sounded fishy, but I figured what do I have to lose from just chatting with this person. They clearly have my email, and they weren't asking me to join a chat room or follow any links so I gave it a go. Most of the questions were all honest interview questions like "what inspires you to make art?" "why do you think you'd be a good fit?" ...etc. I played along and answered the questions. It was pretty odd though because they were taking a while to respond. The next fishy thing was they were mentioning payment, and how there would be a 'paid training period' but weren't sending samples of what the work was or even would it would really look like - even though I had been asking to see what kind of work they did. The final straw that gave them away was the last question where he/she asked what bank I used so they could check to see if it would work for their direct deposit system..... *facepalm*.... I said I'd feel more comfortable if I could find out more info first, and what is the name of the supervisor I would be reporting to. After that they went silent and I haven't heard from them.

I guess it is technically possible it was real, but I highly doubt it. Even though they had a lot of obvious give aways, I was shocked at how targeted it was to the vfx/animation industry. The job breakdowns were lifted from somewhere and they seemed to have done their research. So stay safe peeps.

Cheers,
 
  03 March 2018
Thanks David. Definitely a predatorial scam
 
  03 March 2018
It's hard to believe someone would put that much work into a scam, but it does indeed seem like a scam. Thanks for sharing!
 
  03 March 2018
Oh jeez.

I think I may have just gotten the same thing.

I got an email claiming to be from a major broadcaster in Australia wanting to initiate a remote project. They said they were referred to me by someone I don't know but that's happened to me before and I figured that person may have just seen my work online. Normally I'm very paranoid about scams and never do remote work with people i haven't met in person but considering the fact that they were able to produce a whole bunch of professionally shot source footage for me to see, and clearly knew all the steps of talking through a project, I figured they must be legit. I started working on stuff for them yesterday.
Then just tonight, I get two more emails within ten minutes of each other. Both also open with a line about being referred to me from two other people I don't know. Both also in Australia, and both also seemingly from legit studios.

So, yeah. I don't know what's going on here but I think it's some sort of scam too. They did ask for my bank account information for wire payments. But these people are VERY convincing to the point where I'm almost sure it's really them, even now. It would take a spoof of pretty epic proportions to pull off all the things that they have checking out. I've been doing this for 15 years and clearly they know the industry. So I don't know if it's just a scam for free work from the people that are who they say they are, or worse they are just trying to wire money out of people's accounts. I'm just praying at this point the files I've downloaded from them aren't malware of some kind. It's all real stuff, just image and video files, and I scanned it all with 2 different antivirus programs and got no flags, so hopefully it's all clean. Either way I'm going to quarantine it all right now.

Regardless I feel a bit sick to my stomach. This was the first place I came to see if anyone else is having a similar experience. I didn't think to check their names on LinkedIn. But I just checked on one of them and she's on there as being who she says. Her emails are coming from the address with the company's domain. I don't know what's going on! aaaa haha

Thanks David for taking the time to warn us!
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adamator.com
 
  03 March 2018
@ Adam if you have any follow-up let us know. Indeed quite strange and elaborate:suprised:
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  03 March 2018
I don't know if it's a scam or not, but I've been contacted by a major rendering company, saying they want to use some of my works as a promo on their website. So they asked for HD versions, also to sign a form I'm allowing them to use it. It all sounds convincing, but my signature... I don't know.
What's the risk if you tell which bank you use?
 
  03 March 2018
They don't need a bank. With your bank routing number and checking account number they can withdraw funds and do all kinds of havok. I'd only do that with a known employer.

A better solution is to have them pay you through PayPal or one of the other international pay sites or western union or even crypto currency.

If they need an account and its legit, open a separate bank account from your regular money stash accounts. SOmething that only they have access to that's empty
 
  03 March 2018
Thanks for informing us. It's better to be cautious than be fooled. I also had an email like this before but I just ignored it since it seemed a bit sketchy.
 
  03 March 2018
PayPal may be safe, but it's still never a "better answer". If you want to give chunks of your money away, I'm right here, people.
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"Like stone we battle the wind... Beat down and strangle the rains..."
 
  03 March 2018
Paypal aint safe... it gets (ab)used by scammers very frequently.

They can transfer payments and have them cancelled later on quite easily.
 
  03 March 2018
UPDATE:

So in my case it isn't a scam, just a really weird mix up.

After talking to a couple of the other people who emailed me, it came to light that there is in fact another motion graphics artist in Melbourne with my name!

All these Aussies had been trying to reach him and probably just searched the name in Google, and got to my site first.

False alarm! haha.

Thanks ACiD80 for the note about Paypal, I wouldn't have thought of that.
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adamator.com
 
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