How to Be…A Craigslist Scam Artist.

by Lindsay Timmington

Warning.

There will be ranting involved.

Since moving to New York City, I’ve been hunting, not only for the illusive paid acting gig, but also the ever illusive actor-day-job.

Since I’d be fired in a heartbeat from a restaurant job, have already exhausted the avenues of nannying and dog walking and can’t look for a more traditional office job because I can’t leave my dog alone for eighteen hours a day once rehearsal kicks in- I’m a little bit up the ol’ proverbial shit creek when it comes to actor-day-jobbing.

So I’ve been looking for virtual/remote/work-from-home work.  And have thus far piece-mealed it together with freelance work and a side gig at a small e-commerce company.  But that ain’t cutting it, and I’d really love to find just a straight-up 40 hour a week job that allows me to work remotely.  I know they’re out there, I know I’m qualified (relatively) and yet–I’ve had an easier time getting cast in a show then I have finding a day job that works.

Enter Craigslist.  I didn’t want to initially, I’ve been burned in the past here and I was hesitant to jump onto the crazy-pot that is Craigslist but I found myself with little choice.  I jumped in.

Since August 5th, I’ve applied for more than 80 jobs.  I’ve received two rejections and the rest? I think it’s safe to say I didn’t get the job, but it’d be nice to at least get a “thanks but no thanks” particularly those that required cover letters or answering a plethora of inane questions.

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But that’s not what makes me mad.

What makes me mad, what’s taken me from feeling minor frustration to full on rage, are the Craigslist scammers.

I first encountered these fine folk when long distance searching for an apartment in Honolulu. Finding a decent, affordable apartment in Honolulu is tough enough when you’re physically there, but from afar it’s damn near impossible.  So when I found a gorgeous apartment for a steal of a price, I jumped all over that.  And got a response immediately, which should have been my first clue that something was off.  And if not that then the very bizarre tone of the email that followed should have been enough to indicate that it was time to run.  But I didn’t.  I came very close to sending money to what I soon learned was a very common rental scam on Craigslist.

The “Craigslist Missionary Scam” are postings where people claim to be missionaries working overseas in search of people to tend to their homes while they’re off doing “God’s” work.  They use pictures of other people’s homes (usually on the market to be sold) and price the rent at just over unbelievable to reel someone in who think they’ve found a hell of a deal.  They then send an email and of course, request money up front before sending the keys.  Uh, no.  Unfortunately people have been swindled by this and it’s maddening and not okay and it’s made me leery about Craigslist.

But I need a job.

And so fine, maybe there aren’t a ton of positions available for a gal with a Masters degree in theatre and writing and that’s fine but listen—enough with the fucking scams already.

I come home from work and spend the rest of the evening applying for jobs.  Writing cover letters.  Tweaking my resume.  Copying and pasting and formatting.  Uploading writing samples.  Answering the stupidest damn questions known to man that employers think make them unique or funny.  Taking  TESTS for jobs I don’t even have an interview for.  This, this process, is a job in itself.

And I’m not looking for anything outrageous here.  I’m looking for an honest, 40 hr a week job that I can do remotely that pays a livable wage.  That’s it.  Short of telemarketing or collections, I’ll do anything.  Customer service.  Virtual Assisting.  Data Entry.  Writing.  Copyediting.  Transcription.  Office administration.  What. Ever.  I’ll do it.  Hell, I even applied to be a transcriptionist for a 1-800-phone line.  (Sorry, Mom.)

I’m a good, hard-working, trustworthy employee who needs a damn job.  So two nights ago, when I saw this posting I got really excited.

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Obviously I applied for it.  But like every job I apply for, I refused to get excited about it.  Refused to hold out hope.  So I was freaking stoked when I got a follow up email the next day saying this:

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Which obviously made me a little suspicious, but like the sucker I am, I clicked the link.  And was taken to a FB group where I had to request permission to join and told that once I did, I’d be given the link to an orientation where I could learn about how to make money on the internet from the comfort of my own home.

Mother of God.  Seriously? Come on people.  I was pissed.  So I emailed this “Cynthia Garrick” and inquired about the status of the other two positions that I’d applied to.  She promptly responded (on FB) and told me they’d been filled.  I inquired as to how they could have filled both positions when one hadn’t even been posted yet (her words, not mine) and she very angrily, defensively, sent me a screenshot of her email inbox.

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In less than 48 hours, 242 people applied for the same position I had.  242 people put together a cover letter, resume, answered her dumb questions and sent off an email hoping that this might be the job they get.  And 242 people got swindled.

That makes me mad.  I don’t know exactly what type of racket they’re operating over there, but I do know that they, and other scammers are preying on people who are trying to find work and that’s not okay.

So maybe some of the job seekers are looking for get-rich-quick schemes, or looking for ways to make the most money doing as little as possible.  I am not one of them.  And for the rest of the people out there, like me, just looking for a job to cover the bills, this is extremely frustrating.

For the most part I’m cool with rejection.  Well, not cool, but I’ve come to the point in my life where I can say to myself “that wasn’t for me,” and move on.  Try again.  But after 80-some odd tries I’m getting a little tired.  And for the love of God, don’t scam me.

But on the plus side,  at least I knew better than to apply for this:

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You’re welcome, mom.

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