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I am currently in the software dev job market. Been applying for about 2 months now. Two days ago I receive:

"We appreciate your interest in the [----] position.

Your application was approved based on LinkedIn recommendations.

[COMPANY] needs your skills and you're among the candidates shortlisted for the position.

Kindly, send "YES" if you are still interested in this position."

Based on this, this must be an old application that they are returning to. Okay, sure. I reply. Next day I receive a PDF doc with about 15 questions, common interview questions both technical and experience-related. Fill out this form and return it. Next day, today. I receive an email with an unofficial offer for the position. It's very detailed with information that looks legit. All they need to proceed with an official offer is for me to send some basic information like full name, phone number, etcetera over to the HR secretary (who's info I am not provided). I try to reply to the person I was conversing with before and my emails are not able to deliver. 4.4.2 SMTP error, which from what I've read they are now filtering out/blocking my emails.

I've emailed the customer service address listed on their site, but while waiting for a reply there I thought I would ask here.

Is this some sort of known scam? I've applied for a lot of positions, so I really don't even remember applying to this company originally. Can't find any receipts on job boards or email where I did. That being said I do apply to almost every entry level job I can find within reason, even to just get some interview experience. The position is one I've been looking for so I just went on with it. No face-to-face interview needed, and I receive possibly the best job offer I could think of. It all seems too good to be true, with compensation and benefits miles above what I was expecting for industry entry. So I'm thinking it is some sort of scam...

But what is the angle?? I can no longer contact them. I haven't provided any kind of compromising information, and I even scanned the PDF they sent for malware (it was fine). Am I just getting trolled? What was the point? I will be patient and wait for their corporate email to reply ... maybe it's just an error, meanwhile I thought I would get this communities' thoughts and maybe see if this was a common occurence. I want to believe this offer is legit because I can't think of a way they would have gained from just that, and its way too intricate and targeted.

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  • Dificult to know, but my guess is that it is a scam. At some point they will ask for some kind of fee you need to pay. It can be for a laptop if you work remotely, it can be for some visa fee, health insurance.
    – CrazyFrog
    Oct 12, 2023 at 21:51
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    It's possible the scammer's email account got flagged and shut down before they could finish the scam, the blocking may not have been part of the plan Oct 12, 2023 at 22:50
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    Here is the real story, the email was the equivalent of a cold call, you never actually applied to the job. HR only require your information after you have on-boarded outside of perhaps your full legal name. If you are being asked for more information than your name it likely isn't legitimate. If you are being asked then it should be sent over a secure document service, but only after, the on-boarding process has began.
    – Donald
    Oct 13, 2023 at 12:20
  • If you get a software job without interviewing, I would expect it to be a scam.
    – cdkMoose
    Oct 13, 2023 at 20:28

3 Answers 3

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I have a dedicated Gmail account for correspondence about work opportunities. It's full of emails like this one you received, every day. I'm not looking for work now and there are far too many to read. I have this separate account because if I didn't, I'd be sure to miss important correspondence that I do need to pay attention to (bills, banking, etc.), and all that stuff goes to my other Gmail account.

The email you received could come from a variety of sources, and it's probably a template. Any old fool could mention LinkedIn. In common US English we use the word "please" more than we use the word "kindly" so that's a hint as to the fact that US English is not the writer's first language. There are literally people in other countries making a few dollars a day to grind out emails like the ones you received - some are for legitimate purposes, and others aren't. If there wasn't a direct phone number to call back, this is a red flag. The "unofficial offer" -- without an interview or any other conversation, that's another red flag. The SMTP server thing might be caused by the sender's organization sending out too many messages that end up getting flagged as spam.

Don't get stuck on this "opportunity" (I'm using that term really lightly here.) Unless you've shared something critical like your Social Security Number, move on. Just do a better job of filtering next time -- for example, don't waste time filling out an unsolicited "application" until you've spoken in person with some involved party. Scammers prey on people who want the most results with the least amount of effort, so you've got to be smart about things.

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    The "unofficial offer" was basically like a "Hey, you got the job, we just need a little more info for you to send so we can set this in stone." Asking for nothing compromising, just some basic stuff and then .. blocked. I agree with you that this is probably illegitimate, but I just didn't understand this from a scammer's point of view. A process over a couple days that was pretty in-depth and thorough (barring an actual interview lol), and then just blocking me. Basically just messing with me, they could've at least tried to steal from me. Thanks for the comment
    – user141987
    Oct 12, 2023 at 22:25
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    the company should also have a website with hr and contact information Oct 13, 2023 at 5:59
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    @jerrystackhouse: While you mentioned that you didn't think they weren't asking for anything compromising, I'd double check that form - the SSN number would be the big opener to possible identity fraud as I understand, but full name and phone number might also get them access to things you haven't encountered yet. Oct 13, 2023 at 6:02
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Am I just getting trolled? What was the point? I will be patient and wait for their corporate email to reply ... maybe it's just an error,

If I where to guess you where "ghosted", but who knows, there can be many reasons as to why they are not replying. Pondering on this, however, I believe is of no benefit to you.

Your priority should be to continue job-hunting in the meantime. If they ever reply then you can follow up or take it from there.

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  • Sending me an offer and then ghosting me before I can reply doesn't really seem like something a company OR a scammer would do. Nevertheless, you are right, on we go.
    – user141987
    Oct 12, 2023 at 22:01
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    It's certainly something an unscrupulous recruiter would do, simply to get you into their files so they can try to place you later.
    – keshlam
    Oct 12, 2023 at 22:13
  • @jerrystackhouse they haven't send you an offer. An "email with an unofficial offer" is not an offer.
    – Elerium115
    Oct 16, 2023 at 9:59
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100% a scam. Everything you quoted reads exactly like a scam, and the reason you can't email them is either because their email provider realized they were a scam because they kept getting reports or flagged emails, or the scammers themselves were caught.

I would not trust unsolicited job offers, especially ones that claim to have shortlisted you from your LinkedIn profile alone. They're all either going to be scams, or horrible jobs.

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