Job Scam Alert: At The Zoo

Awareness to the public of job scams that seek job seekers identity and for fraudulent activities.

After a painful dental surgery, I had to endure another painstaking issue…  I was recently contacted via email by Talent Zoo stating that a company named Catapult Designs has reviewed my resume and I was to contact them for an online interview. A trendy way of recruitment has become ever so digital and the hiring process is finalized without having met with the candidates face to face.  This process didn’t surprise me, but what alerted me was the eagerness of a specific contact for the interview. Something didn’t smell right!

I was told to contact the hiring manager Michael Lens on Yahoo Instant Messenger.  Immediately I put my Sherlock Holmes persona (besides making myself vulnerable to an attack), proceeded to search for a Michael Lens on Yahoo and here is part of the interview on transcript.

michaellens18: The name of the company is Catapult Design and the website is http://catapultdesign.org/

Just follow the briefing and you can ask questions when i am through. Let me know when you have finished reading and understanding every line. You will be allowed to ask questions later.With each line just respond with an Okay.

The positions available are Data Entry Clerk,Administrative Assistant,Accounting clerk, Sales manager and customer service which are you applying for.?

chewyine: I prefer the Administrative Assistant, however whichever is in need is fine. 

michaellens18: This is strictly an online and work from home job the working hours are flexible and you can chose to work from anywhere of your choice,the pay is $25per hour training is $20 per hour and will be get payment bi weekly via direct deposit or paycheck and the maximum amount you can work a week is 45 hours. ,if you are employed you are going to be working as a full employee and not an independent contractor.

Benefits: Health, Dental, Life and AD&D Insurance, Employee Wellness and 401k plans.Paid Time Off and Holidays with Generous Company Discounts

Working hrs are flexible.All activities and corresponding time are to be recorded in excel spreadsheet. As for your duties, i will assist you with any difficulties by email 

chewyine: Okay 

michaellens18: DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITY:Tracks data and source documents.Prepares and sorts source documents, and identifies and interprets data to be entered.Compiles, sorts and verifies data for accuracy.Contacts responsible parties or clients from other organisation to resolve moderately complex questions, inconsistencies, or missing data. Also perform Records keeping, keyboarding/data entry and performing a variety of other office tasks account balancing, invoicing recording,proper data analysis of sales records and recording pay slips into accounting database all these will be done through the use of the Accounting Software, such as faxing or emailing confidently and positive attitude Online from home.



michaellens18: What do you understand by the term "Petty Cash" ?



michaellens18: Well...you have done well so far and you seem like a perfect fit for this position
Congratulations the company has decided to give you a chance for you to work for the company and will like to see your diligence,Charisma,Commitment to this job.

chewyine: AWESOME!!! 

michaellens18: You are welcome, You will be paid $25 per hour Bi weekly !

What mean of payment would you prefer?Direct deposit or paycheck

chewyine: Direct deposit 

michaellens18: What's the name of your bank ?



michaellens18: Before you start work you will recieve a payment you will be using this payment to set up your mini office by purchasing accounting software's plus the shippng logistics,cos we will be sending you some equipment you will be needing to start work with,immediately you get this payment you start work

The Head Dept of the company will be wiring you some funds into your account to enable you purchase all the softwares you need to start work with.

The funds will cover all the equipment you will be needing to start work with

The company will provide you a free Hp laptop with a fast internet connection and your W4 form will be coming along with the working materials you need to start working with Ok

chewyine: Okay 

michaellens18: Once you get the funds in your account from the accountant,i will provide you with the vendor agent western union information . Where you are to send the funds too for your working tool's . Your accounting software's will be install into your new HP laptop free from the company before ship to you . understand ?

chewyine: Okay 

michaellens18: Now i will be needing you to email me with the following information for me to have it fill into the companys database: Full name, address including your apartment #, city, state, zipcode, cell number and email address. You are to have it email to michaellens18@yahoo.com and let me know once it sent for we to proceed

chewyine: Okay 

chewyine: May I ask some questions before I proceed? 

michaellens18: Yes 

chewyine: Please do not take offense, due to the recent scams online, may I please acknowledge position prior with the company HR and then I would be more than happy to send you whatever information you need to proceed. Is that acceptable? 

michaellens18: You will be working for the company as an Administrative assistant and an employmenr form will be getting to you via email shortly ok

chewyine: Okay.



michaellens18: You should have the form in your email now, i need you to do your research now and let me know once you are ready to proceed

chewyine: Thank you I have received it. Is there a number to contact? 

michaellens18: no phone call is allowed to this job 

chewyine: Okay. I will have that email back to you shortly. I just sent an email to HR, just awaiting a confirmation for I do remember doing some work for Catapult prior. Is that acceptable? 

michaellens18: you already did that so why asking ? 

chewyine: Just to confirm but it was a different project.



michaellens18: ok contact me when ever you have your mind made for we to proceed


This has been reported to Talent Zoo and to Catapult Design. Talent Zoo and Catapult Designs are reputable companies who have been in business for quite some time and have never had any issues.  After speaking with the administrative department of Talent Zoo, I was informed that this person or group had stolen a company credit card and was using it to phish for victims. If you have fallen victim to this, please contact The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

There are a lot of job seekers out there who continue to get their identity stolen. If you have fallen victim to these scammers and have received these emails or had a conversation with an employer such as this, please post your comments and tell me your story.



~ “Right Person, Right Job, Right Place”

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Bil Paul February 28, 2013 at 11:34 PM
The poor English and grammatical mistakes are a good tipoff that all's not right with this person.
Chewy Ine March 01, 2013 at 05:53 PM
Lol! That is so true Bil!
Blair March 20, 2013 at 02:16 AM
Just got the same job offer
Blair March 20, 2013 at 02:17 AM
Exact word for word job offer. But I haven't set anything up yet.
Chewy Ine March 20, 2013 at 08:07 PM
My goodness, he still won't give up... Blair, good for you for not setting anything up. If more people report him, he will get caught. Let me know if you hear anything else.


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