My significant other recently got a job interview and we've gotten some very weird vibes from it. To start, we're obviously not going to share financial details, put any kind of down payment, or similar on a job, and we haven't seen that type of red flag pop up yet. This is what has us baffled.

That said, here's what's happened so far:

  • It's a text interview. I've never heard of that, nor have some of my coworkers.
  • They utilize Zip Recruiter
  • There is a real position for that job. Quite detailed. The real company has been around for over a decade.
  • They have the name of a real employee at that job. He's been there for 6 months
  • The site's contact info is support@[company-name].com
  • The interviewer's info is [his-name].[company-name]@gmail.com
  • Their name is very American, their picture looks white or hispanic, but the interviewer types pretty broken english. E.G. An interview question was 'Do you understand the word"Privacy and Code of Conduct' (I've attempted to replicate the lacking spaces and end quote on purpose.)

I've been encouraging her to flip questions, such as (after answering) asking "Can you point me to your specific Code of Conduct" and such. The position is for graphic design work, so the various kinds of scams I've looked up for remote positions don't seem to apply.

She says that the questions, as it continued, started sounding more like a real interview.

They did say something about "We'll have to set up a mini-office in your home"; which sounds like the hook, though we don't have evidence yet of that. I'm suspecting that they'll have no hook this interview and instead they'll contact again, require some kind of payment for the "mini-office" now that you think you got the job. It could, instead, be some kind of phishing scam that is just overly involved, but the info they'd have right now is essentially publicly available so..

I believe if it's a scam that is based around this mini-office thing. Anyone ever hear of something like this?

EDIT: We've confirmed it was a scam via chatting with the real person on LinkedIn.

Note: I'm currently a remote employee myself and I've only ever dealt with myriad VPNs, bio-verification in the office, or 2-factor via the phone.

  • 8
    It's also possible that they will send you a large check to cover the "mini-office" and ask you to forward some or all of it (e.g. "Here is a check to cover construction of your mini-office, please deposit it and wire the funds to our recommended mini-office setup company as follows..."). Apr 20, 2020 at 16:17
  • This might be more of a question for workplace.stackexchange.com
    – Philipp
    Jun 18, 2020 at 14:24

2 Answers 2


This is a scam. See eg. :

The site's contact info is support@[company-name].com
The interviewer's info is [his-name].[company-name]@**gmail**.com

I can go to gmail right now and register [email protected]. Gmail is a free web service and does not require you to 'verify' that you 'belong to' the address you are trying to reserve.

There are many other red flags there. Even 1 red flag this serious means avoid, avoid, avoid! And given communication has gone back and forth with the scammer already, you can expect to be contacted in the future by other scammers. Be on your guard!

Note that it is not particularly relevant 'how' any scam will work. If the 'smell test' / presence of red flags tells you it is a scam, just walk away - don't try to figure it out! This can only lead you down a risky path, as you may fall under the influence of the scammer and avoid listening to your gut. See similar answer here for more on this: https://money.stackexchange.com/a/88217/44232

  • But how does the scam work? What is the end goal for the text interview scam?
    – rhavelka
    Jun 18, 2020 at 14:45
  • @rhavelka It isn't relevant how the scam will work. It is a scam, so it should be avoided. See my linked answer for further thoughts on this I have said in similar questions. Jun 18, 2020 at 16:53
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    No one disagrees that it is a scam. The author even confirmed this before you provided your answer. But the title asks 'How does it work?' so saying it's a scam 10 times doesn't provide any new information.
    – rhavelka
    Jun 18, 2020 at 18:48
  • 3
    It's the only question presented, there isn't a question of 'if it's a scam'. I don't know how it works, I don't know what the end goal of a false employment scam like would be. I am interested in learning about scams, how they work, and what the scammer is looking for (whether it's bank/credit card numbers, processing a phony check, buying amazon gift cards, craigslist shipping service, etc.)
    – rhavelka
    Jun 18, 2020 at 19:00
  • 1
    @rhavelka The point is nobody knows how this particular scam will develop: it could be any of the usual bunch – all we'd be doing is speculating.
    – TripeHound
    Jun 20, 2020 at 10:28

There are several likely scenarios.

  1. You agree to do the job for them and work for several weeks but never get paid.
  2. You are promised a check to reimburse you for software you have to purchase from their operation. The check will not arrive or will be fraudulent (and you will be on hook for the funds).
  3. You provide personal details like your Social Security Number and birth date in the USA ("for an employability check") and it is used even years later to file for unemployment or open a credit account in your name.
  • 1
    3. They ask you to do shady things for them without ever providing you with enough contact information to find out who you are really working for.
    – Philipp
    Jun 18, 2020 at 14:25

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