It has been almost two months since the worst oil spill in history has polluted the Gulf of Mexico and forced BP into the constant spotlight as everything they do and did gets scrutinized by everyone from Louisiana locals to top government officials.
Among the latest problems BP faces while attempting to clean up the oil spill are two different recruitment scams that con artists are running. One scam fraudulently offers people jobs at BP if they pay for training costs and divulge certain personal information, via e-mail, to fake BP officials; the other scam attempts to steal people's identities and personal information after they have been falsely convinced that they won an online lottery.
Recruitment fraud rocks BP
In a public statement on the BP website, BP officials acknowledged that there is a fake hiring scam in place:
"It has come to our attention that various individuals and organizations are contacting people offering false employment opportunities in BP. We are taking this matter extremely seriously, and we are currently working with the appropriate legal authorities to terminate this fraudulent scheme. By making you aware of this, we hope to avoid and ultimately stop victims falling for this scam."
The BP site also explains how the scams work and what steps to take in order to not become a victim.
Fake BP jobs
The purpose of this scheme for con artists is to obtain victims' personal information so that they can steal identities, credit card numbers and bank account information. BP cautions job seekers to look out for these behaviors from anyone claiming to recruit for BP:
- The recruiters may ask for unusual HR documentation such as credit card numbers, visa application information or passport numbers.
- The request for personal information is often very early in the process and includes non-standard HR information such as passport numbers and bank account details.
- E-mail correspondence is often sent from a free e-mail account, such as Yahoo, Gmail or Live.com, not an official BP address.
- Phone calls are often placed to and from mobile telephone numbers beginning with +44 instead of official BP landlines.
- The fake recruiters will offer to pay a portion of the costs of the "required training" but there is always the push from the recruiters to have you pay them the funds as quickly as possible.
Luck of the draw: lottery scam at BP
The second scam that con artists are running in an attempt to profit from the BP oil disaster is one in which you receive an e-mail stating that you won a large sum of money in a lottery drawing aimed at providing aid for the BP cleanup. The BP website dismisses this claim as a scam as well. "If you have been notified that you have won a large sum of money in an online prize lottery, you should assume that this notification is fraudulent."
What to do if you think you have been a victim of a BP scam
If you fear that you have been a victim of these slick con artists, BP requests that you send them an e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org, with the following three items:
- The original subject line of the e-mail
- The complete headers of the e-mail
- The complete, unchanged, original body of the e-mail.
Additionally, it is recommended that you contact your local police department with all pertinent information regarding this scam.
Real jobs at BP
There are currently job opportunities available at BP; they can be found on the BP website. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities associated with the Deepwater Horizon cleanup, you can call 1-866-448-5816 for more information or you can log onto www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com for more information about ways to help.
I called the 800 number on a Sunday night and was impressed that a person picked up the phone after one ring. She was very friendly and helpful and informed me that volunteer opportunities are being localized so you will be redirected to the work-force coordinator for a specific state in which you'd like to help.