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Old 30th November 2017, 22:36   #1
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Default Scam Alert - Shady company looking for a corporate trainer

A few weeks back I got a call from a "consultant" (lets call him Mr. UK) and was asked if I can conduct a corporate training for Docker platform. He had seen my profile on one of the job portals/LinkedIn and found me to be a good fit.
We chatted for 5 mins. He said he will send the topics etc over email.

I went thru the email, topic looked pretty OK and I told him my fees and the lab setup needed etc. He acknowledged and said "someone from my team will get back to you for a detailed discussion". The training was supposed to happen over 2 weekends so I was OK with it.
I waited for a few days and heard back nothing. The planned date was a week away and I was thinking of preparing study material over the earlier weekend.

I pinged Mr. UK again to check if it’s a go/no go so that I can plan my schedule accordingly. No response.

Finally, yesterday 3 days before the "D day" I got a call from Mr. MK and he asked me if I was ready with the training material. I told him Mr. UK never confirmed. He made up some lame excuses and then told me that from then on he will be the point of contact. I reluctantly confirmed and gave him a go ahead.
Last part of the call went like this
Mr. MK - i will send you a recording of what the client is looking for and the PDF with list of topics to be covered
Me – Mr. UK had already send the topics I am OK with it. What’s the recording?
Mr. MK – I will send you in 5 mins. Recording has the list of topics of what the client is looking for.
I worked late into the night working on PPTs and other training material.
The “in 5 minutes” email got delvered to me the next day morning at 10 AM. Ha! So much for urgency!

Mr. MK had a note in the email saying “go thru the recording an "confirm" immediately”
I replied back saying I will go thru it when I break for lunch.


The said "recording" was an interview call. There were 2 people from the client side who were talking to a person Mr. R. Mr. R was the interviewee and a very good one! He seems like an ace. He answered all the questions perfectly.
After listening to the recording, I was wondering why send me a phone conversation between the client and the potential trainer/consultant. I was confused. I sent an email to Mr. MK and to confirm that I was okay with the topics and it’s a go ahead from my side.
Mr. MK called me in the afternoon. He told me that someone from procurement team talk to me about the fees etc. in the evening.

In the evening 1 hr after the “planned” time, I got a call from Mr. MK and he introduced me to Mr. HA
This is how the call went.
Mr. HA - monologue on how they plan to pay me XXX amount which I had quoted. Etc. etc,
I listened to him for 5 mins. Once he finished I told him that I had quoted YYY and not XXX in my very first email to Mr. UK.
Mr. HA - We are a big company. We have so many big clients... blah blah blah.
Me - Is there a "contract". How do I trust you? Can you not pay me at the end of each day?
Mr. HA - We pay 8-10 days after the training is complete. It may get delayed by a couple fo days but we have never had a case where we didn't pay. This is the first time you are working with us so we can pay you only XXX.
(I had red flags going on in my mind by now.)
Mr. HA - Send us your PAN + Aadhar + Bank details immediately so that we can use it for verification and fee payment.
Finally we settle on a figure between XXX and YYY b'ca it was not such a big deal for me.

Picture abhi baki hai Dost…
Now comes the kicker

Mr MK and Mr HA - We will be introducing you to the client as Mr R. You can tell them that you use Mr. R as you name for training purposes
Me - ???
Mr HA - This is what we do always. If you tell the client your real name and contact details they may trouble you after the training to debug some issue etc. So we want to protect you from any unnecessary calls
Me - Why?? Why do you want me to take up a fake identify? (Enough red flags, I am done with these guys. Don’t want to be dealing with them in any way)
Mr. HA - No! its not a fake identify we are just asking you to use Mr. R as and extra name. So you can tell the clients that your name is Mr. xxx-R or something. This is for your benefit.
Mr MK - See you are not a freelance trainer, you are a busy person. This is for your benefit.
Me - Look this is not "normal". There is no need for anyone to hide his/her identity. Let me sleep over this.
Mr. MK - No this is normal
Mr. MK and HA - When you goto client for interview and they ask you to give some details of the interview just sy that you don;t remember the details.
Me - You are telling this to me at the last moment (36 hrs) before the training and I need time to think over this
Mr. HA – Whats the problem.
Me – Look I need time. I need to sleep over this
Mr. MK – Confirm my 9 AM tomorrow.
He hangs up the phone.
I wanted to reject the offer then and there itself. But I thought to myself. Let these guys hang in balance for 12 hours and I will reject the offer tomm morning (24 hrs before the training).
So the "big" corporate training organizer company wants me to be Mr. R. Mr. R is the guy who was interviewed by the client.

Now look at the different number of frauds here

I am being asked to impersonate as Mr. R. So my PAN/Aadhar won't match the name. I will have no way to prove "I" conducted the training and was supposed to be paid.
The client is being fooled by having one guy get interviewed (Mr. R who was excellent in the interview) and sending someone else (myelf) as Mr. Raj
There is no "contract". No legal paper saying I will be paid YYY (based on logical conditions)

Thankfully my conscience stopped me from falling into this scam.
Not all scams are about money. Some like these are a mix of identity theft/fake identity and general 420 type

IT professionals beware of such fraud corporate training companies. Also, when availing trainings for your teams, be doubly sure you are not getting scammed.

Last edited by freedom : 30th November 2017 at 22:39.
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Old 30th December 2017, 11:18   #2
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Default Re: Scam Alert - Shady company looking for a corporate trainer

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Shifting Gears Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 30th December 2017, 11:29   #3
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Default Re: Scam Alert - Shady company looking for a corporate trainer

Thank you. I was not aware that such things happen in spite of being in this industry for over 15 years. I guess I have never been around contract trainings and trainers...
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Old 2nd January 2018, 14:31   #4
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Default Re: Scam Alert - Shady company looking for a corporate trainer

Quote:
Originally Posted by freedom View Post
Mr MK and Mr HA - We will be introducing you to the client as Mr R. You can tell them that you use Mr. R as you name for training purposes
I didn't know where this was headed until I read this. I got a similar call for Six Sigma trainings (I'm a Black Belt) where I was asked to take up another common name, Rohit.

The guy on the phone told me that this is to protect my interests only so that there is no issue like dual employment etc. I almost fell for it and asked for the company details, profile of the trainees etc. but this guy was not ready to share anything at all.

Six Sigma is a complicated subject and I usually have to research for examples which are particular to that industry and its important to know who's getting trained, what statistical experience they have, industry background they come from etc. but instead of a training it was sounding like a covert operation.

While I'm glad I didn't proceed with it, it was never clear in my head what that guy really wanted, this thread explains it!
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Old 2nd January 2018, 14:58   #5
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Default Re: Scam Alert - Shady company looking for a corporate trainer

Quote:
Originally Posted by fine69 View Post
While I'm glad I didn't proceed with it, it was never clear in my head what that guy really wanted, this thread explains it!
Do you remember the name of the company? Did it go by the name aurelius?

In hindsight I should have also recorded their phone calls, taken up their offer and exposed their dealings to the clients.
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Old 2nd January 2018, 15:04   #6
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Default Re: Scam Alert - Shady company looking for a corporate trainer

Quote:
Originally Posted by freedom View Post
Do you remember the name of the company? Did it go by the name aurelius?

In hindsight I should have also recorded their phone calls, taken up their offer and exposed their dealings to the clients.
No mate, don't remember anything at all. He was particular that he won't divulge the client name until the d-day as that's what their "policy" was.
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