Archive for the ‘Scams’ Category

Latest Virtual Assistant Scam Alert

There is a new scammer out there targeting Virtual Assistants.

This particular person (or persons) is currently going by the name of Larry Ellison.

He’s asking Virtual Assistants to submit short articles to him, luring them with the hope that if they are good enough, they may be hired onto his planned “barn” of Virtual Assistants.

What this guy is trying to do is:

  1. get free work done for him, and
  2. he’ll then most likely use these articles to post on what is probably hundreds of scam/spam dummy blogs he’s got set up.

The email itself may be a ploy to get people to hit reply on it (you never want to reply to spam/scam/spoof emails).

That should be your first clue to ignore this kind of request. The second clue is that this person doesn’t provide any business-like information that can be verified or checked into in any way.

Don’t be a bonehead:  If you are smart business owner and competent Virtual Assistant, you NEVER need give away your value or work product for free in order to gain a client. If that kind of client knocks on your door, tell’em “no, thank you very much.”

So, if you receive an email similar to the one below, hit delete and don’t look back:

Hi there,

I have a pretty big project that I am working on right now and need couple of Virtual Assistants who have nice creativity in writing quality articles on any topic they think they are master of. My work load will be increasing in the coming future (approx 16 hours everyday) & I am planning to have more than 10 VA’s.

Each article will be taking approx 15 minutes to jott down your thoughts and documenting it.

To choose the right Virtual Assistant for me, I have bought a plagiarism checking software so please invest 1 hour for this long term relationship and write 2 original articles of 400-500 words.

I need to make my decision later this week or early next week , so if you are interested in getting a long term contract , I look forward for your reply.



Dear Danielle: Can the Visually Impaired be a Virtual Assistant?

Dear Danielle:

I am with a state vocational commission that enhances employability, maximizes independence, and assists in the development of the capacities and strengths of people who are blind and visually impaired. Would it be possible for a person who is blind or visually impaired to do the job as a virtual assistant. Many of our consumers have the skills and desire that is needed for these types of jobs. With assistive technology, such as a screen reader for the computer, accessibility is not a problem.  –CD

Great question, and thanks for asking.

There are first some basic understandings that need to in place so we can communicate properly.

First, this is a business one goes into, not a “job.”

Further, we do not use the term “virtual assistant” here.

“Assistant” is a term of employment and has no place in the vocabulary of business ownership.

We are Administrative Consultants. An Administrative Consultant is someone who is in the business of administrative support and works directly and collaboratively with clients in a one-on-one relationship.

If you are asking in the context of whether someone with some physical challenges can start an administrative support business providing administrative support to clients, my answer is ABSOLUTELY, as long as they have the administrative skills and extensive, real-world administrative experience, and are equipped with whatever assistive technology they will need to communicate with clients and perform services.

The business side of things is another skillset they will also need to learn if they don’t already have it.

If you are asking the question within the context of a “job,” then we aren’t talking about the same thing.

What you’d be referring to in that case is correctly terms “remote working/telecommuting.”

In that situation, the person is an employee of a company and is supervised, directed and paid a wage dictated by the employer.

Since that is not what we are, I can’t be of assistance there. My suggestion would be to search under the keyword “telecommuting.”

Caveat: Most telecommuting jobs advertised on the internet are scams. Typically, they will require a fee upfront and the person never receives the materials. Or they might receive materials, and it turns out to be bunch of worthless information. Or, they take the “training” or jump through whatever other hoops they just paid their hard-earned money to jump through, and then are never given a job and/or never hear from the company again. If someone is interested in a telecommuting job and not going into business for themselves, my advice would be to contact virtual staffing agencies or larger brick-and-mortar companies and explore opportunities with them.

Scam Alert – Todd Mayer

Our industry is now being specifically targeted by con artists and scammers.

A couple of the main cons they are hitting us with is laundering money and passing counterfeit checks.

What they try to do is get you to work with them as an intermediary, telling you some variation of a convoluted scheme involving “their client” being “interested in working with you” and ultimately wanting you to receive money on their behalf where you keep a share and send the rest to them, or you getting paid for both of them, but handling the funds through your account only, and sending the rest to them.

One who has been especially prolific is Todd Mayer, supposedly from the U.K.

I’m sure that’s not his real name, of course, and more than likely it’s actually a ring of con artists rather than one person.

Once “Todd” realizes we’ve all got his number, he, she or they will probably change it to something new (just like he’s now started putting an address in his emails after people weren’t biting because they had no way of verifying if he was really who he says he is. (Whether it was real or not is another story, but when people see an address, they automatically assume the business is credible, which is a mistake, but it happens nonetheless).

Anyway, “Todd” has been a very busy little beaver writing to all of us.

New people in the industry are especially vulnerable because they often are so desperate for clients they will jump at anything, and several have fallen victim to this con because of it.

But “Todd” obviously doesn’t realize just how small of a world our industry is, and how much we all compare notes.

If you receive any variation of this type of email from anyone, steer clear:

“Hello, my name is Todd Mayer. I run a consultancy firm here with registered address 6353 Cronin Street, SE15 6JJ. A client of mine who is due to arrive in the United States in few weeks time is interested in your virtual services. Can you tell me a little more about your mode of operation? If interested, please reply. Thanks, Todd Mayer”

See how he’s getting a bit more sophisticated in his con?

Colleagues weren’t biting because they are getting savvy to these cons. So now he’s trying to figure out how we operate so that he can devise his scam to fit into that pattern, basically to get better at tricking us into accepting counterfeit checks, cashing them and then sending him money.

He’ll be long-gone by the time your bank alerts you that the check you just cashed was counterfeit, and you’ll be stuck paying for not only the check, but also any bounced check fees that begin racking up. That’s how these con artists scam you.

So be smart.

Don’t let $$ signs cloud your judgment. This is how these cons get away with so much — by using people’s greed or desperation against them.

If something is too good/too easy to be true, it usually isn’t.

  • HAVE a proper client consultation and vetting process.
  • DO your homework and due diligence, and verify who and what a client is before you ever work with them. (Examples: Do they have a business website? Is there contact information easily found on it? Have you verified the address and phone number? What state do they operate out of? Are they sole proprietor or incorporated? Are they registered with their state? Do they have a business license? Have you Googled their name and the name of their business to check for complaints or anything else that’s questionable?)
  • NEVER let prospective clients rush your process (these are in place for their benefit as well as yours).
  • NEVER act as an intermediary or “middleman” when it comes to money. No legitimate business will ever need you to accept monies on their behalf, and in fact, it’s considered money laundering which will get YOU into hot water with the law.
  • BE selective about who you work with.
  • ALWAYS stick to your standards and policies.