Forget gas prices and increasing costs of food. There is no need to tighten the purse strings and budget if you live on minimum or low wages. There are plenty of jobs to be had and they pay quite well.
That is what scammers like those with “Hanover Hotel” would have you believe.
Several members of the Daily Journal’s newsroom received notice recently that the Hanover Hotel in London, England, have decided to give us jobs, contingent upon us moving to the United Kingdom.
“I wish to acknowledge to you that we have received your entry/application for one of the available jobs in our hotel,” the e-mails read. “The management and staff of Hanover Hotel London wish to inform you therefore that we have accepted to give you an opportunity of being part of the noble men and women who are honourably discharging their duties to the standard for which the hotel is known.”
According to the e-mail, we have 55 positions to choose from, ranging from bell attendant ($2,500 per month in U.S. dollars) to dentist ($6,500 per month).
The public relations position pays $3,500 per month. Taking reservations nets $4,000 per month. Message therapist (could they mean massage therapist) pays $5,000 per month. With paychecks like that in the offing, how could any of us resist?
Unfortunately, like most things that are too good to be true, these offers were, too.
For one thing, the real Hanover Hotel is a budget hotel with “cheap” rates and only 39 rooms. The hotel is a “bed and breakfast” style business. How logical is it to think the hotel would need more staff than it has rooms.
In addition, the e-mail address for the hotel in the scam is a Yahoo account. The real hotel’s Web site has a UK domain, as does its e-mail address.
The hotel will pay for applicants’ flights and will submit personal information to immigration for visa processing, although it is up to us to get clearance approval from London Employment, the e-mail continued.
Signed by Mr. Tonyero Brown, supposed manager of personnel for the hotel, the e-mail also promised competitive benefits including insurance, vacation, free medical, food and accommodation.
A reporter decided to “pursue” the offer.
“Sounds good. Tell me more,” she replied to Brown.
The response: “Kindly fill the application form and send it back to us if you are interested.”
Attached was an application form that asked for personal information including parents’ name and address, applicant’s health condition and medications, marital status and passport or driver’s license number.
The reporter replied, “Your first e-mail said you already had accepted my application.”
Brown fired back: “Dear, We received your mail but we did not see the application form. SO fill it and send for documentation and it also serves as interview.”
Next, a call went out to Postal Inspector Dan Taylor, who specializes in scam identification. Taylor said he had not seen the Hanover Hotel scam, but it clearly was not legitimate.
The scheme likely involves gathering information for identity theft, he agreed. It is possible that down the line in the scam, the applicant will be asked for some type of fee. Perhaps the scammer will send the victim a check for more than the amount of airfare, or more than the noted fee. The extra money would be sent back to the scammer after the victim cashed the check. When the check bounced, the victim would be liable.
The adage, “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is,” is one to remember when dealing with unsolicited offers.
The Daily Journal has made a commitment to keep readers abreast of scams that hit our area. If someone tries to make you the victim of a scam, call us at 431-2010 and tell us what happened. We will include your story in our scam alert series to prepare others who may find themselves in the same situation. The Daily Journal will run Scam Alert stories in the paper every Saturday.