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I have recently received a job offer from a company called 'Edsor Travel and Tours' and am unsure if they actually exist at all. The job tasks surround payment and account management and could be considered suspicious in my inexperienced opinion - but that is largely because I have not received any phone calls or been called in for an interview. I've only exchanged emails with the company and yet I've been offered the job.

How can I better understand if a company is a legitimate company in situations like this (and avoid being scammed)?

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    It sounds very much like a scam. Find if they have a website. If they have an office number, call it. – Jane S Aug 17 '15 at 22:41
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    Can you give more detail about the "payment and account management" tasks? Then we can help you and future readers evaluate if a given offer involving those tasks is legit or a scam. – stannius Aug 17 '15 at 22:41
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    I clarified your question to make it more generalized and less specific to your situation (though answers will relate). This makes it more on topic here - feel free to edit if this changed your intent too much! – enderland Aug 17 '15 at 22:50
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    Too short for an answer but yes, you are. While I'm sure that someone will point out the exception to the rule shortly, not a single reputable employer on this earth will hire a candidate after exchanging nothing more than emails. – Lilienthal Aug 17 '15 at 22:51
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    Who are their customers, and how do their customers find them? If they seem to be looking for employees but not for customers, that's a red flag. – LindaJeanne Aug 18 '15 at 11:35
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Remember, if it's too good to be true -- it probably is.

A good sequence of steps to take to discover if a company is reputable:

  • Google it. If you can't find anything meaningful about the company (either way) that's not promising.
  • Look up the website owner. You have a domain name from email, check out this site and figure out who owns it. Be wary of non-company domain names in email, too.
  • If they have a website... review it. Does it look fake? Does it look meaningful? Keep in mind a lot of places will have Facebook pages such as this page
  • Requiring training payment? If they want money early for [training, relocation, etc] it's probably a scam.
  • Call them. If you can't find any number for them that's... not promising either.
  • Bank info? If they want bank info too early in the process... probably a scam.
  • Does it seem right? in your case, would you give a job to someone without ever talking to them or interviewing? Probably not... this should (as it has) raise red flags.
  • LinkedIn/GlassDoor/etc. If you get this far, see if other people actually work there. If you still are skeptical reach out to someone on LinkedIn.
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    More for the smell test: if they ask you to pay them for something like training or sales materials then it's definitely a scam. Also, if they ask for your banking information - possible scam. – NotMe Aug 17 '15 at 22:57
  • @NotMe good call, added! – enderland Aug 17 '15 at 22:58
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    The "google it" and "check website" tests may be quite missleading. A small company that only works for other companies in a very specific market may not have the need for a big internet presence; and less if it is not in a first world country (google points to Philippines). Not every company is Google or General Motors. Requiring a physical address (even visiting its offices) and refraining in giving them anything unless everything is clear looks more interesting – SJuan76 Aug 17 '15 at 23:31
  • @SJuan76 thank you for that, I edited to clarify - it looks like this company might be more legit and at the very least, has a lot more options to followup on! – enderland Aug 18 '15 at 0:52
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    @enderland, understood, but thought I should point that out since you were listing things to check, and having to request the address of their website seemed suspicious to me as opposed to giving them creedence – cdkMoose Aug 18 '15 at 20:18
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There are a number of reasons that would allow for this hiring without interview process for a legit company:

  • They have references about you from a third party they trust... but usually they would have mentioned who is it.

  • Junior position (in the sense that your output will pass through a senior coworker supervision). If they don't like you they will just fire you as quickly as they can. Short like a "real interview" with pay.

  • "Know it all" CEO that does not take HR seriously. He has seen your CV, your mails, and likes them enough to start the process. The issue is that if the CEO does not take HR seriously for this, he might not take it seriously for holidays, paying in time, etc.

  • The company is recruiting one or some consultor/s for a third company and does not really care... they have some contract to provide X professionals and do not really care about their quality, as long as the legal terms of their contract (titles, etc.) are met. If you are not what the customer company requires, you will be in a very difficult situation with no help from your employer.

  • Others (this is how they always work and so far it has gone well, they are in a hurry for X motives, etc.)

Even if the company is legit, you should try to know these specifics about the work position.

To avoid frauds, I usually prefer physical verifications, as internet presence may be missleading (a small company may have a bad website, a fraudulent one may have a better one because it needs to misslead people). Ask for:

  • Physical location of:

    • Company HQ.

    • Other offices

    • Your expected workplace.

  • Size of the company,

  • Year of stablishment,

  • Your duties at the new job

  • Current and past customers.

and try to cross check with available records (calling customers, consult public records, etc.).

After that, never pay anything to the company and give your financial information only after a contract has been signed.

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    Really? Have you actually heard of companies hiring someone without an interview? I've never come across it, even if they were absolutely 100% sure they were going to hire someone they'd at least have a phone interview even if it was just for a quick chat... This sounds to me a bit like that Portuguese lottery I won that I never entered... – colmde Aug 21 '15 at 12:00
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This varies by location, but in most Western countries, it is required that a business register themselves with their appropriate government agency in order to use the "Business Name" as a legal entity.

In the United States, a business must register themselves with the Secretary of State of each state they operate within. I believe all U.S. States have web search capabilities for this. You can find the business address, registered agent, date initially registered, and whether or not the registration is current.

I'm not sure how that works in U.S. territories.

If you can let us know what country you're in, I'd bet we have members here who can point you to the correct place.

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  • Good point about registrations. However, not all types of business must be registered - that depends on the legal type of the business. For example, public companies must always be listed in most jurisdictions, but small private companies (think one-man shop) are often exempt. However, they should have their type of business entity in the letter head / mail footer - not having that is suspicious (and illegal in some places). – sleske Aug 21 '15 at 7:02
  • Even a D.B.A. requires a registration. A one-man-shop operating under their own personal name doesn't, but if that's who you're going to work for, you'd want to know that's how they're operating. Checking the registration and its history can tell you a lot. – Wesley Long Aug 21 '15 at 14:57
  • I would caution that scammers typically use legal companies to make it appear as if they are legit. They do not actually work at the company but use the company as a way to mask their scam. I should also caution that just because a company "exists" that doesn't mean they can't scam you. Even with numerous "fraud" complaints sometimes companies still thrive and on top of that they simply get a new name once the other name runs its course. Generally speaking, scammers are foreign so if you do speak to the person and they don't speak English very well, I would caution doing business. – Dan Sep 18 '15 at 16:40
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I also got an email from a person called john from edsor. when I called the number in their website, nobody is picking up. Am in sydney & I asked him to call me & he called but dint speak loud & cut the line.

This is surely a scam.. I just blasted him in the email. Nobody will ask for bank details. Please be aware. Don't get caught.

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