Langford woman warns of elaborate job scam on Facebook after losing $1,000

(File photo)
If you come across Facebook profiles offering remote jobs, pause for a moment!
There is a well-crafted scam being placed into different Facebook community groups offering promising remote work opportunities.
The most recent began with a legitimate-looking Facebook profile hiring for Cozy Hollow Antiques, a business that does indeed exist in Olds, Alberta.

“To whom it may concern, we have been contacted by a number of people stating that someone is using “Cozy Hollow Antiques” name offering employment opportunities involving gift cards. We want to inform everyone that we do not offer any online services and do in store sales only,” the company wrote on its Facebook page.

One of the victims of this scam came forward to talk with Victoria Buzz about her experience. She has asked to remain anonymous, so for the purpose of this article, we will refer to her as Jane.
The fake profile, using the name Cyndy Ortlieb, posted in a Facebook group called the Langford Community Association Group,  claiming to have remote work available for three candidates — suitable especially for those with kids and in need of flexible hours.
Jane reached out to the author of the post to express interest in the position. She was asked to download an app called Telegram, where a thorough interview was conducted via texts over the app.
“It’s a type of messenger…it [seemed] unusual…but I like to assume the best from people,” Jane said. 
Ortlieb told Jane that she would send her an offer letter, which had an official letterhead and didn’t raise any suspicion. 
“I was just so excited to be offered this job…I was keen.”
She logged in right at 8 a.m. — her first task was to set up her own business email account and begin sending out a curated email to a list of addresses provided by Ortlieb. 
The email was apologizing to people for a lack of response and introduced Jane as a new assistant, and that any continued communication would go through her. 
By 11:30 a.m., Ortlieb had sent Jane a cheque with instructions to cash it, to send screenshots of the deposit confirmation, and then purchase two $500 Apple gift cards with photos of the backs of the cards sent back. 
“Every red flag was going off in my head, but I was trying to be a good assistant and was trying to [remind myself] I’d been compensated properly.”
So, Jane did as she was asked.
Her realization began to sink in when the responses from those emails she sent earlier that morning were asking for compensation.
When Jane reached out to Ortlieb for clarification regarding these responses, she couldn’t get through to anyone.
“The alarm bells started to ring,” Jane said.
Shortly after, she received a screenshot from her friend, detailing a warning released by the real Cozy Hollow Antiques about a scam going around. 
She sent fake Cozy Hollow Antiques the screenshots, to which they tried to cover up their actions by assuring Jane they’d “contacted state police” and not to worry.
It affirmed her suspicions, and Jane immediately contacted West Shore RCMP and her bank — making sure to change her passwords and get rid of anything that Ortlieb could use to access more of her information.
The real collectible shop located in Olds, Alberta, has since posted a warning on Facebook as well for anyone else who may still be subjected to the scam — stating that they are an in-person business and don’t offer remote positions. 
While the cheque has still not cleared, Jane has been advised by the bank that it will most likely bounce — leaving her out at least $1,000.
Victoria Buzz has reached out to West Shore RCMP for more information on this case or similar incidents but have not heard back as of this publication. 
Jane urges anyone accepting remote work to do some digging first!

Recommended For You