Email recruiting scams – where fake recruiters lure you in with job opportunities that don’t exist so they can charge you fees for useless resume formatting or other services – have been circulating for at least a couple of years. Now, in a new twist, the scammers are playing off the COVID-19 crisis to approach potential victims.
One of our readers sent us the following email he received out of the blue:
Dear Warren [name changed for privacy],
I regret to inform you that our dear co-worker and friend, John Wheeler, went home to be with the Lord after a hard-fought battle with COVID-19.
He had been a valued founding member of our team and will be missed. Please keep John's family in your thoughts as they go through this difficult time.
David M. Morens
Executive Assistant to Edwin Albert
Exe Hunt Inc.
Now this would be very sad if it were real, but it isn’t. The Exe Hunt website is typical of all the other recruiting scam websites we’ve reported on – claims decades in business, yet has a recently created domain name; principals have no LinkedIn or other professional profiles and photos are from stock photo sites; New York City addresses that don’t follow standard address conventions, etc.
And our dear departed friend, John Wheeler, the Senior Executive Recruiter for Exe Hunt? He’s alive and well as David Williams, the CEO & Founder of Exact Hiring, another site that follows the typical scam recruiter profile.
The real question in this case is what angle are the scammers pursuing to get our reader’s money? Unlike the scams we reported on back in May 2019, there’s no direct pitch for a job opportunity. My assumption is that this is an attempt to create a “relationship” with victims to soften them up. Recipients who respond with condolences will get a follow up email that makes the fake job pitch. Or else the scammers may just send the job pitch email in the future to everyone on their list, hoping people recognize the initial Exe Hunt email, making it less likely to raise red flags in their mind.
Did you receive a similar COVID-19 recruiting scam email? Did you get any follow up from the scammers? If so, post the information in the comments below so others searching for this issue know to look out for the scam.