• Courtney Kirschaum

"I'm going to send you some money..."

Work took me to New Haven, Connecticut this week.   Its claim to fame? It’s home to Yale University.

There are students with backpacks strolling across quads past bulletin boards plastered with one-page announcements and ads. (They survived the digital revolution.) After arriving via train and Ubering to the hotel, I wanted to get out and stretch my legs.  Handing me a tri-fold, color map and list of local restaurants (one page, two-sided), the nice woman at the front desk assured me New Haven was “very walkable.”

Grabbing my phone to head out and explore, a message popped up on my screen…  “Don’t go left out of the hotel!” 

It was from a friend who knows the lay of the land here. Perfect timing.  I’m not against a little excitement, but I don’t need my body profile in chalk outline. Know what I mean?

Beyond the hotel lobby and out the door (to the right), a less risky New Haven awaited.

Sometimes you don't know where the dangerous places are until it's too late.

  I used to travel a lot for work.

I’ve seen a lot of hotel lobbies.  They used to be functional pass throughs with fung shui that said, “Check in and get the fung shui to your room. Nothing to see here!” Today’s lobbies have a more, “Hello friends! Let’s all meet and make merry!” vibe.  Flat screen TVs, “cozy” spaces, bookshelves and geometric tchochtkes round out the scene. It’s like Ikea and Restoration Hardware went on a bender down there. Every time I walk through it, I expect those twin house hunter brothers or that Fixer Upper couple from Texas to show up and give me a tour while telling me about a nuance they detected in my personality that made them pair a Bed, Bath and Beyond faux Eames chair with a brass tent lamp they found next to a dumpster in Waco. 

A survivor of the lobby renovation revolution is free newspapers. (Thank you, universe.) I adore old school newspapers and grab the free ones every single day. Perusing a USA Today in the renovated lobby, 

I saw the career version of “Don’t got left out of the hotel!!"

Jobseeker scams.  Here’s what you need to know and what to watch out for…

1. Scammers are posting on legitimate sites.  Many job sites are now free to post, it's a scammer's paradise. This is how they know to target you. It usually starts with an email to you from a gmail or other free account. 2. You're invited to a job interview on Google Hangouts - another hallmark of these scams. 3. An hourly rate or salary almost (but not quite) too good to be true is how they sweeten the pot hoping you'll lower your guard. 

4. The fix is in when you take the early money, which they push you to do quickly. They want to give you (fake) money immediately, so you'll give them money back before they're found out.

There's usually a cashier's check involved. They send it to you, it's a good fake that gets past a branch bank.

The fake cashier's check has been around since Craigslist was a lad, it works better here because...

you're more willing to go along with something you think your soon-to-be-employer is asking you to do.  

This check is for you to buy equipment to work from home or for some other aspect of your new job. 

It's a classic "I already gave you money, so you can trust me." ploy. A friend of mine got a job with the local police department. He got all kinds of cool criminal and victim psychology training. One day, he stopped me while I was telling him the tale of a possible betrayal, and said, “Don't get caught up in the details. If something feels wrong, it probably is. Always trust your instincts." 

The most insidious part of these scams is the shame and embarrassment that come when you get taken, even if they only get you a few steps down the primrose path and don't actually get money from you, it can hit you hard.

What scammers can do to your self-esteem is the highest cost of all.  Here's my LinkedIn about this latest scam. You can read what  people have shared about their own experiences with scammers.

Feel free to jump on the thread and share your own experience or lesson-learned and please share the post with your network. 

P.S. Check out travel pics from this latest journey on my instragam account. Here's a good one! 


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