Recruiters emailing fake jobs

When I was unemployed I was taken aback by how difficult it was to get a regular job then (2012 and 2013) compared to 2006. In 2006 I had six years of Unix experience and I decided I wanted a new job, so I sent out 2 resumes to jobs I found on craiglist and out of those two jobs I sent out for I got two job offers and one I accepted that ended up being a wonderful job filled with really sharp people whose companionship I enjoyed immensely.

In 2012 I assumed it would function much the same way. I see a job online and I apply for it and I get an interview.


The jobs I saw often did not exist.

I learned this the hard way when I applied for (what I thought) was a very good position with Windstream. It was only for 4 months and in upstate New York but it payed well enough where I could have afforded a very temporary place up there and still kept my apartment in New York. My fiance (now wife) was very supportive as we assumed it would be a cash infusion right before our wedding and give us some time after to enjoy ourselves.

The company that I dealt with was Keshav Consulting out of North Carolina. Everyday someone named “Steve” would call me (his accent made me guess Americans have trouble pronouncing his name so he adopted “Steve” to be easier) and ask me some questions and finally he would say that the Client, Windstream, had rejected my offer of $50 an hour and would only pay $48. Calls like that kept coming every day, Taking a $1 or $2 off before the interview could be set up. I think I was down to about $40 per hour when I decided to do some research and contacted Windstream. They told me that no job existed in the place I was applying for and we both scratched our heads. They said Keshav Consulting was on their list of consultants but had no idea as to why I was in salary negotiations with them about a job that would be impossible to get. I asked Keshav consulting about this in an email and the reply I got from Akhil Reddy was this:


Yes, you can not give authority to other recruiter to submit your resume to Windstream, if you do also Windstream will not accept your resume as we already representing you. Also for each position we are supposed to submit 2 consultants and as of now we only submitted you and unless until we submit one more resume we will not remove the posting from Dice.


Windstream advised I deal with them directly and that they had no idea why I was being told that another recruiter would not be able to represent me with them.

But anyway, it was weird and something was clearly wrong.

So now I frequently still get solicitations based on my earlier Dice profile so I investigate them now.

I have now decided to reveal my investigations on a per job basis, based on what was emailed to me and by whom.

First candidate is Ramy Infotech Inc

This is from

“MOI: Phone Then F2F

Job Responsibilities:

Operational support of Linux OS (RHEL 5.x, 6.x) and VMWAre ESXi 5.5 environment.
Migration of RHEL operating systems to VMWare environment.
Post-migration monitoring and tuning of virtualized systems.
Capacity planning of virtual environment

Job Requirements:

5+ years of Linux systems administration experience
5+ years of VMWare ESXi systems administration experience
Experience with OS imaging and conversion utilities (Storix, VMWare converter, Platespin, etc)
Experience with Cisco UCS Blade Infrastructure (Desired but not necessary)
Experience with enterprise storage systems (EMC, Hitachi, etc) ”

It was from Pramila Kafalia on February 23rd.

So I googled the part of the job description: “Experience with Cisco UCS Blade Infrastructure (Desired but not necessary)
Experience with enterprise storage systems (EMC, Hitachi, etc) ” since I thought that would be unique and I got this:

Its from a job by a company called and it was closed on Jan 15th. This was just a cut & paste of an expired job emailed to me as a current job.

If you want a job that exists with them, check here:

Who knows where your resume will end up and for what purpose if you sent it to Ramy Infotech Inc.

The Laptop Repair That Almost Became a Kidnapping

In my last post I wrote about an almost job I had from Craigslist where I could have gotten paid in five cars for designing a website to make a Russian man’s professions look more like real businesses.  I also used to tour the Computer “gigs” section and look for work after my regular job.  I stopped doing this in about 2006 when I got a better paying job with a more chaotic schedule.

Most of the jobs I took were filled with decent people who paid well but just wanted someone to come after regular business hours.  This worked for me since I had a regular job and so did they and it was always a pleasant exchange of services for cash.  The one I began to be wary about was Laptop repair.  In those days most computers were still desktops as laptops tended to still be on the expensive side and people who wanted them repaired were often clumsy people who broke the LCD screen and somehow thought they could find someone to fix it for $25.  They were easy to ignore.  One time I responded to one way down in Sunset Park in Brooklyn.  It was fairly late at night too but from the description I figured I would just have to re-solder the power supply that had likely been knocked loose when someone tripped over the cable.

When I got there it was at some Photography Supply store on the second floor.  I was supposed to meet a man named “Jim” and when I buzzed the place I asked for “Jim” and was buzzed up.

Upstairs there were three Orthodox Jewish men.  Sometimes people take familiar names to use with outsiders and it was clear I was an outsider in this place.  I asked them about the laptop and “Jim” showed it to me.  But…He put down a printed contract in front of me so I could sign it.  It was about two pages long in printed legal paper.  I found this to be very unusual so I read it all the way through, most of it was “blah Blah name of business hereafter referred to as the client blah blah”

Then, finally, “blah blah blah I hereby guarantee that if I am unable to repair this computer that I take full responsibility for causing its un-usability and agree to pay for all damages amounting to (handwritten) $2000.00”

So they wanted to pay me $100 if I fixed the computer but if I failed I had to pay $2000.00.

I said “no”.

Then “Jim” got very hostile.  Very, very hostile actually.  As I got up he and his friend shoved me back down in the chair and he slammed the pen down in front of me and said “Just sign the fucking paper and we will be done with this”.  I forced myself up again and backed away from the table with the laptop and the “legal” document.  “Jim” said again “Sign the fucking paper asshole.  No need to make this tough on you because you are not leaving until you sign the paper”  I let them back me toward the window and then I opened it.  “What are you gonna do pussy?  Jump?” and I told “Jim” that I was going to start yelling that there was a fire to the people below and that I had set it because I am “off my meds” and could they please send help right away before I hurt someone.

“Jim” and his bearded friends scowled and advanced and then paused.  I yelled “Help!” out the window and then suddenly “wait, wait no.  We are just kidding.  We are just teasing you.  Sorry.  didn’t know you would be such a pussy and take this seriously.” and they cut a swath for me and let me out the door.

They were smart enough to know that a little resistance could mean a lot of trouble for them so I let them go.  About two years later I remember reading that one of the photography stores in that area was shut down for bait and switch tactics and threatening customers who canceled their credit card payments, similar to what Vitaly Borker would get sent to prison for doing years later.

I gave up on laptop repairs after that.

Donate Your Used Car and Fund A Website Designer

Web Design is a tough business. It is so tough that these days I don’t do it at all except as a favor or to make some very quick money doing a routine upgrade or something I find on Craigslist.   But about seven years ago I had a few jobs, which is funny in a way because though I am technically skilled I have no sense of style or taste in web design.  In fact this site only looks like it does because my fiancée told me earlier versions of it were so ugly that someone in some country I was visiting might have a reason to arrest me for creating a public abomination with my face on it.

It looked as if North Korea had designed a promotional poster for a Three Stooges Movie.

In the salad days of 2005 I was in demand as a cheaper alternative to Web Designers who had a sense of style.  This way they could hire a separate graphic designer once I got all the critical things working like the MySQL database and the shopping cart.  The problem was that on Craigslist people wanted to pay nothing for everything.  They wanted me to do work for free so I could “put it on my resume” but I did not want to put most websites on my resume.  Plus most people who actually paid were hired to do the work themselves so I couldn’t put them on my resume, but I did many of them.  I always wanted $500 to $2000 for what would be one week to four weeks part time work.  A bargain really.

One day I got a call from this Russian fellow and he saw I had responded to his ad to design a website for his school and he promised he could pay me well for my work but he wanted to meet me.  So I agreed.

I met him in a bar near Canal St.  He wore cheap clothes and expensive jewelry and he told me about the job:

The State of New Jersey funded the education of released prisoners and also had given low interest loans to people starting technical schools.  I was to design a website to promote this technical school that offered everything from car repair, computer associates degrees and welding classes.

I thought it sounded good.  I asked about the pay and the man in the track suit said “Five Car”.

“What do you mean by ‘five car’?” I asked  and he said “Five Car…One Two Three Four Five Car.  You get paid in car.”

I had never had anyone offer to pay me in cars before and I had to say I did not like the idea.  Where was I going to put five cars in New York City?  How would I sell them all?

I then asked him if I could have money instead and he said “Car better than money.  With car you can drive taxi, make own taxi company.  Taxi make good money.  Make $600 a day driving taxi.  Lease other car for $100 a day for four car.  Make $1000 a day with car..No tax.”

I still was not interested in getting cars as payment.  I asked him why he could not pay me in regular money and he went on a long winded spiel about how easy America was and how he had started a school “for free” and how he also ran a Car Donation Charity that he used to make money for auctions where he was the only bidder and his used car lot would sell the cars for a profit while his “school” would get the cash earned in the auction “donated” and the people who donated the cars would get a tax deduction based on the auction price.

Apparently the first law of his business was that you never pay anyone in cash, so he decided that he had to pay me in cars.

I turned him down.

Every so often I see car donation charities advertising and I then wonder what sort of scheme this charity is funding.  Like he said, America is “easy” but only if you are willing to exploit it for your own gain.


Dodgy IT Recruiters and Human Trafficking

Yes, I just wrote the above as a title for a post because I felt it was about as accurate as I could get in six words or less. I have written other posts on this topic and most deal with IT recruiters who are based in both the United States and in India. I guessed that there is probably a massive unexploited resource in opinions on them from India as well so I decided to look for it. Luckily English is used in India and it is used by Indians to communicate with other Indians so I searched.

This search involved a website called Desi Crunch that reviews these recruiting companies from an Indian perspective.

When you got to the review section you will see there is a cross scripting vulnerability where someone was able to fill it up with names of people instead of companies. I figured that this was done to cover up information written there so I kept on digging. What I found was that the recruiters based in the US actually charge for H1B applications, withold payment for labor, refuse to give the worker their w-2 forms should they actually get a job in the US and sometimes even force the workers to be “housed” someplace under their control either in India and sometimes in the US.

I then took out an add on Craiglist in Hyberdabad. I got many responses and some of them were downright scarey and others were hoping I would be able to get a them a job, but I appreciate everyone who took time to e-mail me (you know who you are, because I am sending you a link to this)

This is the ad I took out.

From the responses to this and from reading about things on various websites I have a good idea what happens in these cases but I still am short some evidence so I do not want to name names yet because accusations of human trafficking are pretty big and one mistake would either unfairly end someone’s legitimate business and maybe end my career, so pardon my caution.

Here is what we see in the USA.

A recruiter copies an old job description that they gleened from Dice ages ago.

They post that job as a new position (google a line in a job description and you can often see the original one it came from)

They get get resumes in word format (they either toss out pdf format resumes or they request one in MS Word)

They find a real job offered by a real recruiter in the USA.

They submit a resume sent in for the non existant job after they modified it to make the candidate unqualified and demanding too much money. They also try to claim sole representation of the client thus locking them out of the job application process.

They also submit H1B candidates to this job and try to get the company to accept the cheaper, more qualified Indian applicants.

They hope that the company recieved too many unqualified applicants from citizens and green card holders and needs to go the H1B sponsorship route.

Meanwhile back in India……

Adverts are placed offering jobs either in America or as a recruiter for a phone call center in India calling American clients. You just need a phone and access to a computer.

Since recruiting in America from an Indian call center (usually a VoIP number forwarded to their mobile phone) is slow their employer offers them a chance at “IT Training” at their “School” for a fee but promise them the opportunity to go and work in America.

So they go to School, and according to my sources that school is often 10 to 20 people crammed in one room to sleep and they are made to clean everything, often in the whole building where the “school” is located (because the Recruiters also run a cleaning service, so they get their cleaners to pay to clean and they get building managers to pay them for their cleaning services). Most of the school consists of tech lessons without a computer, sometimes just a guy reading from a book. One source told me that after cleaning the “instructor” read them “Oracle For Dummies” that was on a PDF file on his laptop.

Training like this goes on for a while. Some places give free food and others make the students pay for food but everyone agreed that the training was hardly training at all.

Next, they are told there is a position open for them that needs to be filled immediately. The company they work with in the US loves their “training program” but they need fees to expedite their visa application (an illegal demand in the USA). They are then sent home to their family with the good news and they try to come up with the money. My sources told me anywhere ranging from $50 to $1000 (approx) are then given as well as essential documents like their passports, old pay stubs, and degrees or professional certifications.

Back in the USA lets say the recruiter has shut out citizens and green card holders or convinced the employer that cheap H1B labor is the way to go and their investment will pay off. The employer may be told that the candidate is already in the USA but their visa is about to expire. So they arrange for a phone interview. Lets just say it is for a Linux and Oracle administration job.

Back in India, the H1B candidate is told the employer wants to talk to him via skype. A skype call is made and the employer is presented as another Indian. This is not the employer but usually an employee in the US office of the recruiting company. The interviewer asks the candidate questions about his life and family but not tech questions. One source told me that the skype interview was about how American women loved to date Indian men and he would have American women all over him the moment he arrived.

Back in America, The recruiter just finished pretending he was the employer interviewing the candidate. He will interview every candidate in India the same way because there is more money to be made off of them by giving them hope. But now he arranges for a phone interview with the real people offering the job. They have not spoken to him before, only the other partner or perhaps they spoke to him when he used his “American Name”. So they call and ask him questions about Linux and Oracle. Since he also works as a sysadmin he can answer the questions correctly. He knows what questions to ask them as well. He does good in the initial phone screen. If it would be for a job he is not familiar with he will take out a classified ad or use one of his contacts on Orkut to have them do the phone screen with the company pretending to be the candidate.

Back in India, all Candidates are told they have the job but now they must get money very quickly to fly to America. Those that cannot come up with the money are thrown back into useless phone work for commission or just tossed out. Those that remain are told to give the money to the recruiter so he can buy the tickets for them. Many of these people are from the lower classes and have no idea what is entailed in things like Visas, international air travel or whatnot. The more generous ones will now allow them to get free meals while waiting, maybe out of “generosity” or maybe just to discourage them from leaving when there may be more money to be made from them. There may be 10 or more Candidates giving airfare to the US (likely inflated) to the recruiter at this point (the cheapest from Hyderabad to Chicago is about $1200 one way).

Back in the USA, the employers want an interview with the candidate that they think is in America. The recruiter tries to stall them long enough to make sure they get the guy over there. It is very rare to get to this point so they have to get the India side to hurry up and the American side must delay without offending the recruiter. Most of the time it is a “sick relative” and the candidate had to return to India, but they are on their way back now because they want to interview (this makes it so the employer might feel bad for the candidate too). Candidates told me how they often had to make up how a relative had died and that was why they were returning tto India.

Back in India the Candidate chosen is now rushed off to the airport if everything is in order. The other Candidates are told their time will come too, or told that this person got to fly to America first because they paid a special fee and the recruiters would be happy to pay a fee for them as well if they can get more money together.

In America the candidate is met at the airport by the US recruiter and taken for intensive coaching for the interview. Most likely the interview fails. It is hard to have someone with no IT skill to fake a real face to face interview. When this happens the candidate is told he must pay for housing in America and get his family to pay for a return plane ticket. He thought he was coming to America to get the job, but often had no idea it was just for an interview. If he cannot get the plane ticket the recruiter will call the INS on him and get him deported. He is told that he could be sent to jail forever in America for any infraction against the recruiter so his family had better pay up. Most of the time a whole family has gone broke sending a member to America and then getting them to return.

On the off chance the candidate is hired, the recruiter will be paid by the employer and then pay the candidate. It is here that the Candidate finds out that the recruiter may hold his entire paycheck or at least take 50% of it. He is then threatened with deportation at every infraction against the recruiter and if the employer realizes they have hired an inexperienced person they will fire them, and then the recruiter will hold the whole paycheck (sometimes only 50%) as a “penalty” and still demand they get their family to pay for their flight home.

During this whole time the recruiting company is sending out fake job notices and collecting resumes and they may even be benifiting from women and minority owned business preferences in Federal and Local government contracts.

Back in India, the crowd of IT and H1B visa hopefulls is out of money and getting angry at having to pay to be janitors while waiting for their jobs to start. At some point an excuse to get them all out of the building is given like for repainting or something and the company vanishes leaving them broke and unable to get any of their money back. Most of the time it just moves accross town but since internet cafes cost money and mobile phones do as well and they often never know what legal path to take in their own country to try to get restitution. Perhaps they know that the court would favor a higher caste over the lower ones anyway?

So that is the run down of examples I have gleaned from comments and some of the victims. I find it shocking that companies operating in the US often have their “offshore” wing charging people to work for them and keeping them in poor living conditions. I am going to try to find more solid proof and name some real names here in the US.

How to Thwart Chinese Hackers

I enjoy being wrong.

The most I have ever learned has always been from the realization that something I believed was really not true at all.  It always causes evaluation and introspection which is needed so as to not become an “Archie Bunker” like character as years go by.

I had a moment like this a while back sometime after my Dear Abby parody post, and that was that the Chinese Government is Really attacking Government and business networks and websites.  I know most of you are thinking “Just now?  Its been all over the news for years”  I know this, but the fact was I did not really believe it then because I saw Spammers based in China doing scripted attacks in order to get an unwilling machine to host a website selling pills or providing backlinks to “SEO” nonsense that complimented their message board and social media SPAM posts.  So I had good reason to believe others were misidentifying the pattern that I had correctly identified.

Until I started seeing patterns myself.

The first patterns I saw were coming from – owned by the Beijing Information Highway Corp (love that name) but they followed the ones I see from all over the world; random times, pointless visits and attempts to register and attempts to post.  Successful posts are done in poor English and it is clearly the model of spammers using compromised computers that likely have pirated software installed on them so they never have security patches.  This is what made me believe that there was no Chinese Government conspiracy.  Then from the same IP blocks I started seeing things differently.  I still saw the spammers but I also saw attempted logins to ssh, ftp and telnet.  I even saw port 25 get lots of VRFY attempts.  The pages searched for on port 80 and port 443 involved wp-admin and another for chef/common.rb and chef/cookbook/cookbook.rb which seemed to be a directory traversal attempt or perhaps looking for an error message.  What was odd about these attacks was that they started at about 8:30pm EST and ended  about 4:30am EST.  I blocked one particularly annoying IP that was doing the weird directory traversal thing looking for Chef Configuration Management software (I suspect one would really like to get a hold of configuration management software to configure your own compromised machines) and trying MySQL injection with attempts like '1'='1-- and admin'/* and as soon as I did that the same stuff appeared again from an IP in Bogota Colombia that turned out to have been an Adtran 904 that had a default setting of admin and password for its security credentials and a VPN to the IP in China I had just blocked and a few others on the same Beijing IP block as well.

So I did what any sane person would do and didn’t touch anything and instead blocked the Colombian IP (I was very tempted to remove all VPN configurations and change the password but I did not).  After that I just got the same old spammy probes from China and visitors to index.html that just hung around until their sessions timed out.

What I checked out later is that Beijing switched government hours from 8:30 to 5:30 to 9am to 6pm.  This, to me, meant that people showed up for work 13 hours ahead of EST in Beijing, checked e-mail and assignments for maybe 30 minutes and then started working on their 9 hour day and then around 30 minutes before leaving they stopped working and perhaps wrote summaries of their day and went home.  What is odd is that I did not see what appeared to be a “lunch” hour.  This tells me they are either being worked very hard or (more probably) love their jobs attempting to break into stuff.

I wish I had more IP addresses to fool around with.  I could then make a virtual machine as a honeypot but really customize it.  Maybe with some poorly written php that would make MySQL vulnerable and a separate virtual machine for logging.  But I do not have those kind of resources.

I would really like to write a script to focus on timestamps between commands and see what commands are made when they do get in. I could then judge whether they are using a script like Metasploit or perhaps even have to get approval from a supervisor before privilege escalation and even be able to judge their language proficiency based on spelling and grammar mistakes.  In a way I am not sure why we are afraid of them when we can use them to actually understand them since they do not really hide (or not the one’s I saw anyway).

Now..How to Thwart them.   I do not know why they use directory traversal maybe just testing to see if a web application forgot to check for ../../ and unicode type strings or maybe there is another vulnerability out there?   But I think I would avoid writing my own web applications to go live right away for a while especially when so many more secure CMS exist today.

I also would make it so Configuration Management Software such as Puppet or Chef is never available to remote administration (that could be one of those disasters no one knows about until it is too late).

The other steps are normal security best practices like good passwords, never putting in a DVD or pen drive that you find just laying around somewhere.

I believe the main key to thwarting hackers from China (I really should not say “Chinese hackers but you all know that I mean “Sponsored and employed by the government of China” when I say that) is studying their bureaucracy from what clues they give us by their online presence.  Right now I know from my experience with them is that they show up for work, put in about 8 hours and then stop working.  I also am pretty sure they are based in Beijing and they attacked routers in countries other than the nation where their target exists. (perhaps we have compromised Adtran Routers here in the US that are used to attack Iran, Venezuela or Russia).

More exploration is needed and I am quite sure this is what they are saying about us as well.


Dear Downton Abby,

DEAR DOWNTON ABBY: My boyfriend and I are in a long-distance relationship and agreed to split our visits 50-50 between our cities. Initially, it worked great. Unfortunately, his work schedule has changed, and for the past year he has come here to visit me only once every month or so, while I frequently drive for hours to see him.

He says that because he’s away from home for work, it’s only fair that I travel to see him since it’s “less trouble” for me. I understand that he puts in a lot of time with travel for work, but at what point does the ratio become unbalanced and unfair?

I miss weekends in my city with my friends, and it makes me sad that he won’t make the effort to see me. What do you think is right in this matter? — UNCERTAIN IN SAN FRANCISCO

DEAR UNCERTAIN IN SAN FRANCISCO:  Iron the newspaper every morning it is delivered so the Lord of the manor can enjoy reading the news without being distracted by creases.


DEAR DOWNTON ABBY: My wife of 32 years has delusional jealousy. It is so bad that she has checked my genitals and questioned the neighbors’ wives. I have stayed in this marriage only because of our children, who are now adults.

I am at a crisis point where I want a divorce. I detest throwing 32 years away, but I have no love for this woman. We have sought counseling three times. However, once I start describing her delusions, the sessions quickly stop. — WANTS OUT IN COLORADO

DEAR WANTS OUT IN COLORADO: My dear chap, just because your daughters are suffragettes is no reason to consign them to the brothel in Ripon and self expire honourably  in the Moore with your grandfather’s dueling pistol.  We must adapt to the times.  Have some sherry.


DEAR DOWNTON ABBY: My sister is engaged to a severe alcoholic. I host the annual Christmas dinners and I feel stuck. When he was here last year, he broke a wine glass that held special meaning for my husband and me and generally made a fool of himself.

Should I invite my sister and tell her that her fiance isn’t welcome? (They live together.) He has gotten even worse this year. He broke three bones because he was so drunk he fell, and he left rehab three times in one month. I’m a cancer survivor and do not need the stress in my life. — NERVOUS IN NEW YORK

DEAR NERVOUS IN NEW YORK:  To start a Renault, one must first take the beast out of gear and pull the brake. check the oil and fill if needed.  You should be able to view the oil from the glass portal while the engine is running to make sure it is circulating, but for now fill the brass container and top it up.  Next retard the ignition.  One does not want to start a cold motor with a rich fuel mixture.  Next, locate the hand crank and insert it underneath the radiator.  Next double check to make sure you jolly well took it out of gear and set the brake.  Nothing more humiliating for a chauffeur than to be driven over by his own automobile!  Now with your left hand gently grip the crank but with your thumb on the outside.  If it catches you don’t want your thumb broken now do you?  At least if it does it will only be your left hand and since no right chap is left handed that will not be a concern.  Next you turn the crank and jump out of the way in case the brake cable breaks and the engine vibration knocks the auto into gear, you do not want to die under a Renault.  Finally proceed to wipe off any dirt from the motor, check to see that oil is circulating.  Give the fuel a pump or two and advance the ignition to give it a richer mixture, a suitable church going fuel to air ratio would be splendid.


More on Dodgy Recruiters

A problem I have is that when I get interested in something, even if it is unimportant and not vital to my well being or even that entertaining I will spend a stupid amount of time on it.  This is a good quality to have in most ways.  It means I have an attention span, it means I can stay focused and it means I can solve problems and enjoy doing so.  But the down side is that sometimes I forget to eat lunch.    Sometimes I will be looking up and classifying obscura instead of washing my clothes and then I will have to go down to The Gap to buy underwear and socks because The Gap is open later than the laundry room in my building.

I did this the other day while looking up fake recruiters and I believe I have various Modus Operandi classified for them.

The first part is psychology.

When you are looking for a job you must be positive in your outlook and your interactions with people.  This serves two purposes in that it helps to have a cheerful demeanor just to make your period of unemployment more pleasant and it also serves others as well so you do not subject people to complaining all day.  Also being positive right away during a phone call or an e-mail exchange makes potential employers at least want to continue correspondence with you, and that increases the chance of employment later.   The fake recruiter exploits this by increasing the chance that you will communicate with them just because that is your demeanor with everyone.

If you say something like “I do not deal with Indian / Russian recruiters” to them and it turns out it is a legitimate agency with a legitimate employee who happens to be from the same country as one of the fake recruiters then you will look (deservedly) like an ass.  But the fake recruiter will exploit this, both to keep getting information from you and keep that e-mail correspondence happening.

So, what do they do with the information?

First I heard that they keep on cutting your pay rate lower and lower so they can give a cut down the recruitment chain.  If you ask for $50 an hour they will ask later if you can go down to $48 and then to $46  and finally down to $30.  This is supposed to reflect their unwillingness to take a cut out of their money to pay down the recruitment chain.  So a job that is $75 would mean a $25 cut for the recruiter but if a number of people sent you to that recruiter they need to be paid so instead of cutting out $10 from their take they cut $10 out of yours but at $2 a phone call or e-mail.  Then when it comes to pay, they get you to switch from W-2 to 1099 and then never pay you keeping it all for themselves.  This has a logic to it but I have not found any evidence for it.  When people do not pay someone for work there is always some sort of evidence of a rant online or a lawsuit filed in small claims court but I have not seen this.

So, what are these fake recruiters doing?

As far as I can tell they really never want to get you a job.  They want one thing: An e-mail with a resume in word format attached.  They use this for two things.  They take your information (and sometimes your name) and tack it on to another person wanting an H1B visa.  Then they take your e-mail, re-edit it to make it seem like you are giving them permission to exclusively represent them for the job.  This enables them to submit your edited resume, which has been edited to make you unqualified, to the HR department of a company.  When they tell the HR department not to take duplicate entries of their client resumes the HR department complies, since they have better things to do than to check to see which recruitment companies are legitimate or not, and then they submit their own candidates who may have your real qualifications listed as their own to see if the company will sponsor a H1B visa for them.

If they sponsor one, then the fake recruitment company gets a large payment from the hopeful immigrant and continues to get a kickback from original company.

Like SPAMMING operations, these recruiters rely on volume, cheap foreign phone banks, VOIP numbers that correspond with the location of their corporate mailbox in the USA or Canada and they do not get that many “hits” from corporations.  When they do it is one from an area that needs filling right away, so they hobble real candidates by getting e-mails and maybe resumes from them while promoting their own H1B visa candidates.

How do you tell if a recruiter is fake or not?

It can be tough, these people go through great lengths to mimic real recruiters.  Their websites will have corporate giants on as “clients” (usually just a logo) but try to contact G.E and ask them if some small website that claims them as a client actually is their client.  I tried for about one hour and it seems impossible to get someone who knows about these things on the phone.  One thing I realized is to look at the headers of the e-mails.  If they give a North Carolina location but the IP address in the headers is from Hyderabad India or Murmansk Russia, then you should assume they are fake.

The earlier post I gave the example of Rabindranath Tagor being changed to “Bob Smith” and I claimed that they just changed the name to sound “more American” but now I realize that though some people do this, others actually assume the name in India (legally change it or take on the identity but not the citizenship of a resume sender) and sometimes a “Bob Smith” from Mumbai comes to America on an H1B visa.

One of the best ways to check

This is a website that I think is used by people wanting H1B visas to check which recruiter gets a good portion of them.  So if you enter your recruiter name there you can see how many Visas they got and what the average salary was for them.  Remember that legitimate recruiters get H1B visas too.  You can check Robert Half on that site and see they have had over 200 H1B visas granted since 2001.  That is expected for a global recruiter.

Now check the name of some company that actively solicits your information from you.  My target company (name not being mentioned yet) has a one room temporary office on the outskirts of a Research Triangle town in North Carolina and an office in Hyderabad India.  Their calls frequently drop do to bad VOIP connections.  Anyway, they have 30 more H1B visas accepted in the USA than Robert Half international with a salary for H1B visas being $40,000 less a year than the ones granted to Robert Half (I am not trying to suck up to Robert Half but good work on not being sketchy!)

In conclusion, do research, be wary, and if you get suckered (like I have) try to go on damage control by contacting the HR of the company that the phony recruiter claims to represent and explain to them that no one but you is exclusively representing you and ask what recruiter they use (if any).  Or get a legitimate recruiter to advocate for you, because they will have a stake in your career as well as their own business.


To clarify before more comments are attempted to this post:

1. I am not anti-immigration.  I just oppose people pretending to be recruiters for jobs in the USA when they are really using it as a front for immigration services.    So please do not use me in some kind of anti-immigration spiel you have going on in your head because I will likely oppose it.

2. I am not racist or “anti-Indian”.  I should not even have to deny this but this is one of the tactics I suspected is used to prevent discussion of fake recruiters and their tactics.  I will continue to discuss them whether they are Indian, American or Russian companies.  If they do tech recruiting in the USA but that is not really what they are doing, then they will be discussed.

I am amazed at how fast I got responses to this post.  I hit a nerve with both the anti-immigration crowd and the Pro-Sketchy-Recruiter Crowd but I am going to be vigilant with moderating the responses since I want this site to be a one-way conduit of information…from me 🙂




Recruiters who say they are from America but are not at all

Anyone who thinks they are immune to scams and frauds will usually be taken by a scam or fraud.   This is how people make money for nothing, by relying on people thinking they are too clever to fall for something so they fall for it harder than ever.

This has happened to me more times that I care to recall.  Its embarrassing.

One time I had a person approach me with the “Hey, I lost everything but I can get it back if you give me a large sum of money and you give me your address so I can mail the money back to you”.  He said he was American, but had married a Norwegian but he and his wife lost everything in their luggage and he could not stay at the youth hostel on Amsterdam Avenue on the upper West Side because they did not allow Americans to stay there (which is true…Americans, Canadians and Mexicans cannot stay there…which is probably in the tourists best interest).  And I ended up quizzing him about Norway, a place I am familiar with, and let him know he failed miserably and gloated over the fact he asked the wrong person.

Then one year later I gave $40.00 to a guy in a bar because he made me feel his calloused hands and showed me a Union Card and he promised he would pay me back.

He never did.  It dawned on me later that his calloused “workingman’s hands” were really just hardened by years of holding a hot crack pipe.

I got suckered because he sized me up as someone who knew what it was like to work and get screwed over and I felt sorry for him and gave him drug money thinking it would get him back home to New Jersey so he could be among his loved ones and some proper hand lotion.

I have been looking for a job lately.  The environment has changed since I last had to look.  Back in 2006 I met a recruiter who I swore up and down she had been sent to me by god.  She got me a great job that I loved, we hung out and often had dinner together and enjoyed pleasant conversations and good food.  She advocated for me with my employers if needed and I reviewed resumes for her to make sure she had the most trustworthy candidates possible.   I know I probably just got lucky and ran into an exceptional recruiter but my experience with her has perhaps made me overly trusting and vulnerable with others.

I am very suspicious of someone who uses a name that is not theirs during any kind of transaction.  If your name is Robert and you go by “Bob” then that is fine.  If you have a name that Americans easily forget because you or your parents were not born here then it is perfectly fine if you want to simplify and use “Bob” instead of Rabinidranath (Bob Tagore wrote the national anthem of India) but if your name is Rabinidranath Tagore and you go by the name “Bob Smith” then there is something wrong with you.  If you have a Voip phone that claims you are based in the US but its connection drops at the same time there are network outages in Mumbai then I am really suspicious.  I have had run ins with folks from the Indian subcontinent who have done this before and it always seems to be a way to cover their butts when their business plan goes belly-up.

But, in spite of my experience, successful lawsuit against someone using a similar tactic in a different field I have fallen for a recruiter who claimed to represent a company as an Anglo-Named businessman but really was just a resume combing person who tried to get me to sign away on not applying for another job.

From what I can gather the method seems to be designed to get H1B visas issued but I have no idea if it really works or not.  The trick is this:

1. Be a recruiter with a PO box in the USA but do not be based in the USA.

2. Contact job applicant.

3. Get them to agree to be exclusively represented  by their company.

4. Get enough qualified people to make this agreement.

5. Try to convince the company to sponsor H1B visas since no other qualified applicants can be found.

6. If you succeed, get one of your “recruiters” back in India to take the job and then get a big cut.

I am not naming real names because I have no proof of this.  It is pure speculation on my part.  But I did fall for another scam I should not have fallen for.  I will probably always be vulnerable to a degree but I assume everyone else is as well.



A quick observation on “Get Paid To Take Surveys Online” scams

I am fascinated with what I call the “Sucker Circuit” section of the online economy.  The disparity of traffic to income of Sucker Circuit is high, only those at the very top of the chain make the money and those at the very bottom are the ones who fill social media with nonsense to generate “traffic” in the form of clicks,  These coveted “clicks” just hope to get a small percentage of income generated hoping another sucker joins the Sucker Circuit.  Because of this message boards and blogging software has registration counter measures, most free blogging websites are filled with keyword garbage to generate google ranking so that more “clicks” are obtained that they hope will lead to more suckers.

And so on and so on.

I found one sucker on LinkdIn.  He posted like he was a job recruiter (they use photographs of pretty, young women) to lead people to his website.  The fact he owned the website made me think he was more of a middle man in the Sucker Pyramid, but still I was curious about him.

I googled his e-mail address and found out he had been ripped off last year for about 100,000 rupees (almost $1900.00) when he joined a “Get Paid For Surveys” website called  In fact a lot of people from India got ripped off by them.

What that website offered (it is no longer up) was valid “survey identities” from Western nations because members of those nations get paid small amounts to take marketing surveys (apparently…I know nothing about this as it is really out of my world) but those small amounts are not so small to poor people in India and elsewhere but they do not have valid rich nation identities.  So these sites offer to sell them these identities, and was selling identities for 6500 rupees ($120.00) with the promise of earning 4000 ($74.00) rupees a month per ID.  That means after two months of surveys per ID you make a profit.

The LinkdIn spammer bought fifteen IDs and lost them.  other lost amounts either greater or lesser.  One fellow lost 66 IDs that he was managing in his own pyramid scheme that he made with his friends and family members but unlike the owners of everyone knew where to look for him to ask for their money back.

Needless to say aeroliteonline took everyone’s money and vanished, likely to a similar scam and they will likely prey on the same people, who are perhaps some of the more defenseless people in this world.  I would like to find the people who ran this scam and post their contact information here but I really do not know who they are.  They did not make the common mistakes others make when trying to hide their identities online but rather just blatant mistakes that lead me to nowhere, like claiming to be from Geneva, Ohio in the country of Switzerland.

Remember that the next time you are annoyed by spam or asked to follow a pointless link that there may be someone on another keyboard who paid the equivalent to one year’s wages in their own country for the opportunity to bother you and will probably never get their investment back.  Perhaps if we could learn to do better at thwarting this spam, these people would get out of the Sucker Economy and  join the real economy.

Cyber Information Super Smart Virtual Drug Highway: The Bee’s Knees of the 1990’s

I enjoy old things and using them today.

I have a watch from WWI that is filled with some sort of radioactive material so people could see what the time was in a trench.  I wear it too.  I am not sure if this is a good idea.

Did you know that in Medieval Europe that spices were used in such a way that the food was more akin to Ethiopian or Indian food?  We were taught that spices in the middle ages were used to cover up the taste of rancid meat, but how did a culture live  for over 1000 years on a diet of rotten food?  The answer is it didn’t.  If you recreate Medieval European food like I do you will find it is delicious and the spices and herbs were used for flavor, not obfuscation.

That is why I like using old things today, you learn about the past and the present.  Sometimes the cost might be wrist cancer in the future but the rewards are immediate.

I also like the old terms for the internet.  Like Cyberspace, Information Super Highway (actually I hate that term) and Virtual Reality.  I like them because they are so optimistic.  Virtual Reality at its peak was text hosted by some student on a University computer talking about “Smart Drugs”. I still like using them when I can because of that optimism.  Never mind that smart drugs like Piracetam taste like the smell of burning plastic and doesn’t make you smarter or that at best Virtual Reality was a cumbersome glove that showed up as a robotic hand when you wore expensive goggles and at worst it was nothing like reality at all but we still felt like smart people with narrow sunglasses and short hair would be the protectors of the world someday.  It did not happen exactly that way of course.  But I would love to some “old” ways of communicating come back again even if just for the use of understanding our recent past a little better and explaining how we got where we are today.

Odd how I am speaking about 1990 to 1995 like it is the steam era before Brunel.