BEWARE: Scammers are trying to take advantage of the unemployed during this pandemic.

As many of you know, I am an unemployed Canadian citizen who has been applying for jobs on Indeed and LinkedIn for throughout 2020. I was worried that, when shit really hit the proverbial fan with respect to the Corona Virus, there would be scams coming out to take advantage of all of the people who’ve found themselves without work due to this pandemic. And, recent days have taught me that this is a rampant problem at the moment.

I received the above email this morning.

I did, in fact, apply for a data entry position on Indeed 48 hours ago. Since receiving this email, I have reported this job posting to Indeed as being fraudulent/misleading and left them a comment that I believe it to be a scam.

If you are unemployed, or have found your job temporarily suspended during this pandemic, it’s important to pay close attention to any communication that you might be getting. Being unemployed can bring on a lot of stress and often times it can be quite easy to see a promising email and not look closely at the details, thinking you need to jump on an opportunity, any opportunity right away.

Please don’t get scammed.

Using my email as an example, here are some things to look for:

  • Who is the email from? In the case of this email, who it’s from is a pretty big giveaway that it’s a scam. The sender’s name is Maggie Susan whilst the email address is MarcThomas055@hotmail.com. The job that I applied for was with what presented itself to be a legitimate Technology Company.
  • Who is the email to? This might seem like a stupid thing to check for, but in the case of this email, it’s not ‘To’ me. I am not ‘iooiioioo@gmail.com’. For privacy reasons, I am not sharing my personal gmail address. But, seeing as this was not addressed to me, and I was clearly BCC’ed, it leads me to believe this was likely sent in a group email to anyone who applied for the position, in their hopes that people would glance over who it was addressed to.
  • Who is the greeting too? A legitimate job prospect, whether with a company that has 3,000 employees or one that has 30 employees, will ALWAYS address the email to your first name. If you applied for a position, they already have your name and information. Any legitimate job seeker will say ‘Hi [Insert First Name Here]’. If they do not, it’s probably because the software they’re using to group send this scam isn’t advanced enough include your first name.
  • Who is it from? Did the sender sign their name? Is the company included? Is their a company signature linking to their website or online portfolios? A legitimate job seeker would NEVER leave their name off the end of an email.
  • Is there a sketchy looking link in the email? Of course there is. Please don’t click it. This is a bait tool to give hackers remote access to your desktop. In the case of this email, what are they asking me to register for? They have my information. If they were actually wanting to hire me, employment contracts need to be signed, and those cannot be done through sketchy links.
  • Do they name their company in their email? If they don’t, why wold a legitimate job seeker leave the name of their company off an email to prospective candidates? Perhaps because it’s not legitimate.
  • Does it make your spidey senses tingle? Because if it seems too good to be true, it is.

If you’ve found yourself without employment during this time, please know that you’re not alone. Please, please, please be diligent in where you respond to your emails. Pay attention to the small details. It might sound stupid when you read it, but A LOT of people fall for scams just like this one. With everyone in a hard enough situation already, I do not want you to get taken advantage further.

Thanks for reading.

A new low for the human race.

Honestly, I should just make an series on this blog to showcase all of the reasons why Influencers are idiots. Because there are a lot of them. There are stories which anger me, there are stories that annoy me and then there are stories that make me wonder how I am the same species as some people.

An ‘Influencer’ (we all know I use that term lightly) and aspiring rapper from Ontario was recently detained at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport due to a stunt he pulled on a plane headed for Jamaica that he hoped would make him go viral.

Approximately 30 minutes from landing in Montego Bay, Jamaica, WestJet Flight 2702 (Toronto to Montego Bay) was rerouted back to Toronto.

Why?

James Potok stood up in the back of the plane to exclaim that he had just gotten back from China and was not feeling well, and that he thought he might have Corona Virus.

Potok’s buddy actually filmed the stunt because they had hopes of releasing the video of his ‘prank’ to his YouTube channel and it would make him an internet sensation.

Being the idiot that he is, Potok thought everyone would laugh it off, he’d sit back down and land in Jamaica for a nice holiday, which he exclaimed was to ‘film his new music video’.

Oh no, no, no.

Infectious disease protocols require that any plane must return to it’s originating city unless there is imminent risk of death to one or more passengers on board. Furthermore, the infected passenger must be quarantined and ALL passengers are subject to medical evaluation upon landing.

Jamaica, an Island Nation, certainly isn’t going to let someone land in their country with an infectious disease that could spread throughout the rest of the tiny country. So, the plane turned around and returned to Toronto. More than 200 people had their holidays delayed, put on hold or cancelled and Potok’s response was ‘I’m an artists… any publicity is good publicity’.

There are three important notes to point out here:

  1. More than 200 people were forced to sit on a plane for several hours (as it returned home to Toronto) with someone who’d claimed that he had an infectious disease, a disease that they could very well have caught by just being in proximity to him.
  2. Those people were then subject to medical evaluations, as precautionary measure, after it was learned this was all a hoax, thus delaying their abilities to get on new flights, or rearrange their travel plans. Many people didn’t just miss a day or two of their holiday but there were at least a dozen people on that flight who were headed to Jamaica for a wedding and were not able to get to the wedding because of this.
  3. More than 200 people were stranded in Jamaica, unable to return home to go back to work on time, or back to their lives because the plane that was supposed to drop people off in Jamaica and pick up passengers to fly back to Toronto never got there. Work was missed, and people were in panic mode trying to secure childcare because they thought they were going to be home several days before they were actually all able to get home. They had to spend extra money to stay extra nights in Jamaica because of this, and it could take up to a year for the airline to reimburse them for this, if they get reimbursed at all.

As you can tell from the #VirusBoy and #WuhanClan that are new additions to his Instagram Bio, James Potok clearly shows a great deal of remorse for what he did.

Here’s what he had to say in the airport after returning home, getting medical clearance that he did not, in fact have corona virus, and being detained by Canadian authorities:

Look at the smug written all over his face…

It’s worth noting that Potok is being charged with mischief and breach of recognizance and is due in Ontario Provincial Court on March 9th for the stunt he pulled. But, I really don’t think that he cares.

To take his manipulation even a step further into the territory of shiteous human being, and, in his words ‘to say sorry for all of the hassle [he’s] caused’, he’s now claiming to be giving away $5,000 on his Instagram page. All you have to do is like and follow his account, his friend’s account who was on the flight to shoot the video they hoped would go viral, and to like his post, tag three friends and share the post to your own Instagram.

God, if I were a lawyer right now, that would be cataloged as Exhibits A through Z of why he’s not sorry for what he’s done, shows no remorse and is currently trying to capitalize on the attention he’s received for his careless, dangerous stunt.

I mean, how am I the same species as this person?

Could you imagine believing you were trapped on a plane (a tiny sky tin with recirculating air) with someone who potentially had an infectious disease? As someone who suffers from anxiety, those several hours flying back to Toronto would have been the worst hours of my life. Imagine the people on board with babies, or the elderly people on board who’s immune system’s are, at times, weaker than the rest of us. Imagine the torture of having to fly back to Toronto wondering the whole time, worrying the whole time.

And to the 179 people who commented on his ‘Instagram Giveaway’ tagging their friends, you also need a lesson in basic human decency.

As far as I’m concerned, this smug idiot should have his social media accounts shut down. I’d love it if Instagram just outright deleted his account and if YouTube just deleted his channel. People like this deserve to fade into obscurity somewhere.

Point of Note – When asked if he felt sorry for what happened, Potok proclaimed that his joke was taken out of context and that he was talking about a Chinese Food restaurant and that he had food poisoning. Though it’s on video him saying ‘I think I have Corona Virus’, he’s currently trying to tell the news outlets, and the world through his online platforms, that he never said anything about corona virus.

Given this is basically all online at this point, I can’t wait to, in a month’s time, hear that a judge used his Instagram and YouTube messages against him and that he’s being charged criminally.

And honestly, if I were WestJet, he’d be on a no-fly list for life and I’d go after him to seek damages for all of the reimbursements to other travellers they had to make and are going to have to make, because of his stunt.

This disease has killed more than 500 people worldwide. And all that is to him is a means to get more Instagram followers…

*Additional Note: To the people tired of me ragging Influencers, I’d be happy to share some good stories about Influencers, I just don’t know any. I wholeheartedly believe that people who use their influence for good don’t seek credit/internet fame for what they do. But, if you have a lovely story of an Influencer using their influence for good, please share. I’d love to shine a light on it.