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Too long won't read: contacted on Linkedin, moved conversation to Telegram, saw many red flags during selection process as my skills not being properly validated, but received what appears to be a legit contract, and sent it signed to real address (plus, they use real email addresses @realcompanyname.com). Wanting to know what are my tools to validate they are who they say they are. Read "reasons to believe it's true/scam" for more TLWR.

Long story:

In September 2019, an IT recruiter messaged me on Linkedin, with informal English, he asked me if I was interested in working in a certain subject X, which I was, asked for my resume, which I sent, and then we switched the conversation to Telegram.

This IT recruiter is (supposedly) from a major Chinese company, more specifically, from one R&D center of that company located in Russia. At this time, he was not listed as an employee for this company on Linkedin. The job I would be doing would be a mix between research and software development.

Then on Telegram, we had a short video conversation that worked as a presentation, and later with other guy, in what seemed to be an office meeting room, we had a 'technical' conversation, but the questions asked were extremely shallow, and the english was difficult to understand.

After these interviews, the IT recruiter tells me that the feedback was good, and that they are ready to invite me, they just need to get the VISA ready. He was thinking of inviting me for a certain period, but I wanted to go later, so I told him that, and he waited the response from the lab CTO, he said yes.

Then he sends me a form to consent for processing my personal data, I filled it and sent it. This forms contains the real name of the company, and the address, which I can verify by using a maps application.

I asked for the exact address, since looking up at the maps application gave two different addresses, he took some days to respond, but eventually sent me an address, which turned out to be different from the other two, but still seems to be a corporate office (I assume that's the lab office, while the other is the company office).

He asks some more personal information, and sends tasks related to the job to work on if I wanted. He later asks for my address, and tells me that another person will send me the offer.

Some other people get introduced along the way. I receive the offer via email, and some guidelines on how to complete and sign the paper, and how to deal with VISA (some links were broken).

The mail they use has the @realcompanyname.com, and no warning sign of them being false is raised by my (trusted) mail provider. They are also able to receive the emails sent to those addresses (if that is of any relevance).

I'm instructed to send three signed copies, copies of passport, and some pictures, and I do so. They need them physically, and I offer to send them via one service, but they ask for a faster method, and offer to pay for it if possible (it wasn't possible, but I sent the signed contract and pictures anyways).

I sent them to the correct location which Google displays as the real company office (address present in contract, and in personal information consent form). The service informs me that it has been received by someone in that office.

Lastly, I was agnostic of all this being true and sent a message to this IT recruiter asking for some kind of confirmation that he in fact belonged to the company. He sent me some pictures of the office, and a video (autodestructive video, via Telegram, actually), in which he shows me a bit the office in which he is working, and goes out and there is a sign with the company name and logo printed on a paper, and glued to some door. I accepted that in the moment.

Then, I was told to wait until the invitation letter comes out to get the VISA. My hopes is that I won't be able to get the VISA if this process is all a scam, but I understand this might be so as to gain time to get my information (I'm so committed at this time that they could ask for many thngs and I would have to do it).

Reasons to believe it's true:

  • Contract contained real company name, and was sent and received in real company address
  • They wouldn't worry about details like personal processing of data if it were a scam
  • Mails sent and received with @realcompanyname.com addresses
  • It's been a long time since the communication started
  • They haven't asked for money, and have even offered to pay for things

Reasons to believe it's a scam:

  • Hard to understand and usually informal English
  • Almost no skills validated through interview
  • There were many people involved in the hiring process, but most of those have uncomplete profiles
  • Delayed responses when I asked for real address, and when I asked for the contact of some other person who would start working with me around that period
  • Irregularities like broken links in emails, and autodestructive "proof" video
  • It could be related to identity theft, which would be hard to detect by my side
  • No talk about buying the flight despite wanting me to work as soon as I can (this could be due to VISA, however)

Question:

  • What are the measures I could take to verify these people are who they say they are, and that they work for this major company?
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What are the measures I could take to verify these people are who they say they are, and that they work for this major company?

To answer this question, you need to independently verify two things:

  1. That the company is real and legitimate. Do your own research, don't just Google them. Are they well known within their particular field?.

  2. That these people exist and are who they say they are. Call the company's reception - using a number you've obtained independently yourself. Verify they have an R&D department in Russia and ask to speak to your contact there. If you can't get through, explain the situation and ask to be called back.

But you must receive confirmation through a means of communication you've instigated yourself.

If you are unsure, please contact the police or relevant authority in your location. They will have a non-emergency number or website for handling things like identity fraud and will help you.

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