Recently a friend asked me to look into a company that they had just had an interview with. While they were told they had gotten the job, something had not quite felt right. So they hoped I would be able to delve deeper than they knew how to research the company.
The name of the company is 1 Link Automotive Company. They have ads on Craigslist, and other internet job sites. The position is for a work at home job.
It’s not the fact that the job was listed on Craigslist that caused my friend to be cautious. It was the fact that the interview was to be held via the internet. Even more unusual was the fact the interview was done via IM chat, without even the benefit of webcam.
The interview was quite professional (I have seen the logs), though it was sparse on details about 1 Link Automotive Company (1LinkAutoCom). My friend had some confidence bolstered when the interviewer – “Lisa Branham” was the name being used – promised to send a check so my friend could buy a detailed list of items: anti-virus and anti-spam software, office supplies and software, and even a Server. That last part directly caught my eye, as it is incredibly unnecessary for the position that was being discussed.
The supposed “Lisa Branham” then wrote that a check would be issued for my friend, that would be cashed and used for purchase of the supplies. Any additional funds would be held by my friend, in their own bank account, on reserve for future supply needs. In addition the position would pay $20/hour, paid weekly via check express mailed to my friend.
Again, this was a well worded and almost convincing scam. My friend had provided their name, address, and the name of a bank they had once had an account with that was no longer active. My friend was concerned that if this were a valid company they may have caused themselves to lose the job by providing inaccurate information. It was one thing that was a good decision.
1 Link Automotive Company is not a real company, and should not be confused with 1link.com (a company that does exist and does business outside of the U.S.). While “Lisa Branham” purported the legitimate 1link.com website as that of 1 link Automotive Company, it was easy to determine they are not connected.
Further, the physical address provided for 1 Link Automotive Company – 29 S Washington Street, Tiffin OH 44883 – is in fact either a law office or a computer store, neither of which have anything to do with the scam. The phone number provided was equally false.
My friend did get a package – delivered from Brandon Inc. in Opelika, Alabama and containing a “check”. The check, seen in the picture below, is printed on plain paper without watermark, listing Coastline Realty, LLC (real company not connected to the scam) which is located in New Jersey.
The location for Coastline listed on the check is the property listed for sale seen in the photo below
Why did the scam artists go through all the trouble of fake names, abandoned locations, and the name of a real business?
Identity Theft Stealing from bank accounts that an innocent might provide – or a bank might provide access by accident since the scam artist has personal information. Break into victims home.
The list goes on from there. The point is that this is a federal crime at every turn, and designed to take advantage of anyone not familiar with the internet, proper business law and requirements, and/or desperate to have a job.
Steps have been taken in this matter to bring justice to the criminals that tried to take advantage of my friend. In addition steps have been taken to protect my friend from nefarious actions if the criminals try to use their identity. But please make sure that you let others know about this type of scam. The names will all change, as will locations and phone numbers. There are a number of criminals trying to lure people into this scam.
The best steps are:
You can find more information at http://www.stopfraud.gov/report.html
Alert your local authority as soon as possible. The criminals are likely targeting as many people in your area as possible before authorities start to track them down. The more authorities know and sooner, the better for your community.
I hope this helps.