Uncovering An Immigration Job Scam

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Caution!

Let’s play detective!

As part of the How… To Find a Job in Canada series, I already talked about job scams. Today, I will show you how to not be tricked by scammers based on a recent example.

A little while ago, I received a comment on the post 3 Qualities Job-Seekers Must Have. The author of the comment was wondering if the job she had applied for was a scam. She pasted a quote of the email she had received. When I read the following, I knew it smelled bad: “You will have to make a funds deposit with the company prior to issuing you the documents you will need to secure your work permit and upon your arrival to Canada, your money will be reimbursed back to you in full.”

I contacted the commenter and urged her to not do anything before I investigate a bit. At this point, I was 90% sure this was an immigration job scam but I wanted to get to the bottom of things.

So, here goes the story. The commenter, based in the Philippines, had applied for this job offered in Toronto, Canada. The company, MET International, is an American company based in Carrolton, Texas, but it allegedly has an office in Toronto. After she applied, MET International sent her a “fund deposit agreement form”. She was supposed to send the company $500 for it to process her work permit application and to show her commitment to come work for the company in Canada.

There were quite a few red flags in just the email body:

  • The spelling was pretty erratic: random caps, weird punctuations such as in “what we do,You can Visit our website”. It didn’t look professional at all.
  • The overseas applicant was required to “make a Minimum deposit of $500”, which is “just a mandatory policy that you made a deposit with the company prior to issuing out the documents”.
  • “The funds have to be transferred via western union or money gram”. I don’t know for you, but for me, a Western Union deposit means “you will never see your money again”.
  • Additionally, the payment was supposed to be sent to a “Regional Accountant”, Mrs Laura Boynton, based in Florida, USA. The address, “4616 W. Meadown Ave Suit 402” isn’t spelled properly and doesn’t match a business.

As for the MET International Agreement itself…(click on the link to see the PDF):

  • The letterhead didn’t look professional, MET International logo looked scanned and was barely legible.
  • The address of the company office in Toronto (287 Macpherson Avenue Suite 301) didn’t match a business.
  • The agreement states: “In a successful processing of the work permit, the above named applicant as automatically become an employee of the company, with the company responsible for financing the whole trip and responsible for providing a six month accommodation for the applicant with his/her family until he/she settles down. The fund deposit of $500 which the applicant has initially deposited will also be refunded.” Really, this is too good to be true. Some company when hiring overseas may provide moving expenses but no company will commit for so much (and note that the phrasing is very vague).
  • Note that the job offer advertised for an administrative assistant/ customer service position. With all the respect I have for people working in similar positions, this isn’t the kind of job for which you must resort to hiring overseas. Plenty of Canadians have the necessary skills to fill the position.

Finally, I visited the website of the company, MET International. It appeared to be a legit business, although the address of the company was slightly different than the one in the email (1900 Surveyor Road instead of 1900 Surveyor Blvd). However, a small line at the bottom of the page caught my eye: “We are located in Carrollton, Texas, and DO NOT have any locations outside of this main location. Please beware of anyone else trying to represent themselves as our company.”

Ah AH! So I guess there are no offices in Toronto, are they! The way the sentence was phrased made me think that people were scammed before. I wrote to the company:

“I’m Canadian and have a blog about immigration. One of my readers recently send me an email about a supposedly job offer he got from your company. It seems bogus to me.

I noticed your website states that you are located in Texas and do not have location outside the US. Can you confirm that?

Thank you for your cooperation”

I received the following reply:

“Yes, we are a small company with an office in Carrollton, Texas only. These guys are scamsters.

We have reported to our local police, the FBI, but no results yet.

Hope someone catches them. We have taken the pains to write a letter to anyone who emails us to ask if we have offices outside Texas. A lot of people have thanked us for taking the time. There are however a few naïve, desperate folks that have sent the $500 to these scamsters unfortunately.

Hope this comes to an end and these guys are brought to justice.”

He added later:

“They had a website metintl.com that was a CARBON copy of our website. Our attorneys had to send legal paperwork to the hosting company to have that website shut down.

We are now trying to shut down their email address that uses the metintl.com.

Other companies have reported to us that they are also victims. CWI in NJ is facing similar problems with these same scamsters.”

I later found out that people were reporting this scam on Ripoff report on several instances. The name of the company seems to be used in a variety of scams, including a phoney cheque scam and overpayment fraud scheme.

Morale of the story? Be very careful when applying for jobs abroad. A lot of people want to come and work in Canada, in the U.K., in the U.S.A etc. and scammers know how to use people’s weaknesses. Use your judgment to not be fooled and if something looks fishy, do some research before you commit to anything. And remember: if it’s too good to be true… it probably isn’t legit nor true!

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

29 Comments

  1. Thanks for the report detective Zhu 😉

    Unfortunately, some people are less careful than you and would just reply with excitement to such a “good news”…

  2. Scary, sad stuff going on via the Internet. My niece just got scammed – too trusting, too innocent… Money was removed from her student line of credit by the scammers. We’re hoping the bank won’t hold her responsible for the missing funds.

    I think it’s wonderful you were able to investigate and help out. A possible new career in the making for you?
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..Where’s the Chocolate?!! =-.

  3. It is good to share and raise awareness to everyone…..my gf is a bank manager and recently there is alot of senior citizens being trick into transmitting money overseas.

  4. A few years ago I did a post about job scams – you can read it here. I think the biggest thing to keep in mind is to never, ever pay to apply for a job, no matter where it is. Anything beyond the postage to mail in your cv is too much (and these days, you should be able to email it anywhere). Even for overseas jobs, if a company wants you bad enough, they should pay for all your paperwork, and moving expenses are negotiable with your salary.

    Excellent post. I know a lot of people immigrating to or recently landed in North America read your blog, and the more people who can read stuff like this and stay safe, the better.
    .-= Kirsten´s last blog ..Granite State of Mind =-.

  5. Hi friend,

    Thanks for this great research and for sharing with us. I have a conversation with this fake job in met international and yesterday he has sent me fund deposit forum for 500$. I was thinking that he is demanding only 500$ for 4500$ per month salary. So i researched in Google and i found this website and your post. Now i will see this fake person ‘rob teed’.

    thanks for this post friend.

    Best Regards

    M.Fahad arain
    fahad_nice1@yahoo.com

  6. Great post. My brother, who is in his late 50’s and has autism, lost his job last year and was unemployed for a considerable amount of time, is very susceptible to employment fraud and I had to talk to him by phone constantly to try and keep him from spending hundreds of dollars on various schemes like check cashing and other things that he found on the internet. He finally found a great job with the Veterans Administration, through legitimate means, and although he had to relocate and get used to a new workplace, both of which are difficult for him, I think he’ll be fine, for now.

    I know you hate proselytizing, and I am not, but I think there should be a special place in hell for people who victimize those who are desperate.
    .-= Yogi´s last blog ..Brooke White – "Hold Up My Heart" =-.

  7. @Rémy – It was fun to be a detective for a little while! Especially that I KNEW it was a scam. Just hoping people googling around will find my “report” and won’t send them money…

    @Agnes – You said it.

    @Beth – Some scams are really inventive. Before it was well-known, I almost got scammed by those phishing emails. Some are very well designed. I hope she will get her money back!

    @shionge – That’s just sad. I believe telling people there are a lot of scams around and explaining them how it works can help. Hopefully.

    @Sidney – … and I believe it can be quite lucrative too, sadly.

    @Soleil – I have the CSI theme song stuck in my head now! 😆

    @Kirsten – I agree with you, paying to get a job is never a good idea. I think the scammers here use the “immigration” card to make it more “legit” since everyone knows that immigrating isn’t free. But of course, you must pay any fees to the government, not to companies…

    @Fahad – I’m very glad you found my post and that you won’t be scammed. There are legit work opportunities around, but this is not one of them. Glad you took the time to do some research! I’m happy if my post helped.

    @Yogi – Well, even as an atheist, I’m willing to believe in hell just as the right place to send all these scammers! Glad to hear your brother found a legit work opportunity. Living with autism is certainly not easy and it’s very unfortunate he was taken advantaged of in the past.

  8. Hey Zhu,

    This kind of thing happens quite often (unfortunately) and if someone is not used to “catch” this type of situation it can be easily scammed *nodding*.

    Transfers via Western Union: so typical!

    Fantastic post, Zhu Zhu :D!

    Cheers
    .-= Max Coutinho´s last blog ..Public Service =-.

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  10. I feel sorry for people who fall for the scams, but I also feel that the harder I have to work to make money the harder it is for me to part with it! I’m not going to hand over cash so easily…

    Good for you, for exposing the scammers.

    (By the way, I can only see 2 comments right now and can’t click through to the other 12.)
    .-= Gail at Large´s last blog ..Kitty Soap Opera =-.

  11. I try to apply job at MET International and this is what i discover:

    No fraud yet.. but investigating thru net I learned that this is a scam!!! but Rob Teed already got my resume (profile is confidential).. Gosh such a @&#$….

    Grrrr…

    Attn: Applicant

    The company can help you in securing some vital documents you will need to process your work permit application,The documents are listed below…

    1* Employment Letter
    2* Sponsorship Letter
    3* HRSDC file number
    4* LMO (Labor Market Opinion)
    5* Immigration Documents.

    But there must be some kind of commitment coming from you to ascertain that you are coming to work with us in Canada and you are not using all the documents the company will provide for you to run a scam because we have had such issues in the past.

    Let me know your decision asap and how we can help your further.

    Thanks,
    Rob Teed

    Account Coordinator,
    Recruiting Dept
    Met International

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  13. oh my goooooood i received the same e-mail from that psyco rob@metintl.com that so ugly he’s using ppl needs that’s the e-mail:
    Attn: Applicant

    The company can help you in securing some vital documents you will need to process your work permit application,The documents are listed below…

    1* Employment Letter
    2* Sponsorship Letter
    3* HRSDC file number
    4* LMO (Labor Market Opinion)
    5* Immigration Documents.

    But there must be some kind of commitment coming from you to ascertain that you are coming to work with us in Canada and you are not using all the documents the company will provide for you to run a scam because we have had such issues in the past.

    Let me know your decision asap and how we can help your further.

    Thanks,
    Rob Teed

    Account Coordinator,
    Recruiting Dept

  14. hello! a certain rob teed is doing this practically now to me but i am not gonna fall into his trap. I am trying to ask him if he could process and give us the the requirements before i send any money. Another scammer is using hilton suites and asking for $375. Hop e you could track these people because there are people out there who were tricked and they need jobs badly but these people are so heartless to do these kind of scam. email address of the person is metintl@yahoo.com and
    Hilton Suite and
    Canadaimmigration Service Center

    hope you could have these email addresses blocked. they almost had me and my brother but good thing God is with us and He helped us research about this.

    thank you and God bless!

    • I personally can’t do anything because I’m just a blogger who happens to live in Canada and to know the immigrant system. But I’m glad you didn’t fall in the trap!

  15. I don’t know what’s a sadder comment on society.

    1) There are people out there that have no moral sense and run these kind of scams without hesitation. Or

    2) There are people out there that don’t have the common sense to do some research or realize they are being scammed before sending $500 blindly to a stranger through email.

    • Both are kind of sad actually. I still hate the thought that scammers prey on innocent people, although I do wish some people would get a reality-check!

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