Thursday, 19 May 2011

Ooh, a new job!

I've just received a completely out of the blue job offer. They must have heard about how brilliant I am. Fantastic. This is how I replied to them.
Reba Waiters (
Brilliant. You must work for Hotmail. I've always wanted to work in email. Odd that your name isn't in your e-mail address. Another Reba Waiters must have got there first, eh?

Dear name. 
Oh. You've got my e-mail address but overlooked the usual salutation. Oh well, perhaps it's a secretarial error. 

My name is Reba Waiters and I'm an HR manager with IDS Ltd. 
OK. It's not Hotmail, but it's a Ltd, with exciting initials. Perhaps they use Hotmail because they like to look after the pennies. You must not be the IDS Ltd recruitment agency near Doncaster. After all, that low-rent outfit uses Yahoo e-mail addresses. The cheapskates. Nor, presumably, are you the IDS Ltd of Dublin, which makes prostheses and orthoses. That would be cool though, wouldn't it?

I would like to take this time to welcome you to our hiring process and give you a brief synopsis of the position's benefits and requirements. 
You're very welcome Reba. I've always found that the jobs I haven't applied for are far better than the ones I have. And a 'position' is far more impressive than a 'job'. If you don't mind me saying though, a synopsis IS a brief statement. Tautology is a dangerous thing.

If you are taking a career break, are on a maternity leave, recently retired or simply looking for some part-time work , this position is for you. 
Oh dear. I think your underlings (and may I say how impressed I am that the director of HR is personally writing to me) have slipped up slightly. You've written to someone with a male name, at an institutional address: it's unlikely that I'm pregnant, retired or 'on a career break' (which I assume is a euphemism for unemployed'. But I'll stick with you. After all, I'm not averse to 'some part-time work', or 'moonlighting' as my employers might see it. And maybe you're hiring to rectify minor deficiencies in your current workforce

The successful candidates shall possess excellent organizational skills as well as the ability to efficiently multi-task. The ideal candidates shall have a strong focus on day-to-day operational performance, and a personal style that builds trust and induces loyalty. 
Exciting. Lots of multisyllabic words and a lovely split infinitive. I do like a good split infinitive. Captain Kirk did it so well. I must say, the idea of corporate loyalty towards me appeals very strongly. So many companies treat us a disposable proletarian scum. I should say that I am indeed in possession of excellent organisational skills and I can multi-task. Right now, I'm replying to you, listening to Pop Will Eat Itself and admiring my rippling pectoral muscles. A good morning's work, wouldn't you say? 

The candidate shall be self-motivated, proactive, able to learn and adapt quickly. 
I'm sure that from the ranks of the unemployed and retired, you'll find someone who fulfils these requirements. They've just been waiting for the right offer: your offer! This 'position' must be seriously good given all the skills and characteristics you're looking for. I'm thinking 8 figures, a helicopter allowance and a dedicated cocaine room. May I say at this point how pleased I am by your delightfully retro use of 'shall'? 'Will' is so common, don't you think? 
Now we're getting down to it. And 'occupation' has a real ring of the Nobility of Labour about it, doesn't it?

Flexible schedule 2 to 8 hours / day. We can guarantee a minimum 20 hrs/week occupation
Oh, well you're not going to tell me what the work is yet. You're building up to it aren't you? You cheeky tease. 
Salary: Starting salary is GBP 1500 per month plus commission , paid on a four-weekly basis. 
Oh Reba. All that build up. All those requirements, and the salary is £18,000 per year. I could get a job which doesn't care whether I'm a multi-skilling Stakhanovite and earn more than that. Although this 'commission' sounds like a secure and stable route to riches. It's true that I currently earn considerably more than that now, but your position sounds so much more mysterious and exciting. Tell me honestly: will I have to sleep with exotic women in the line of duty? I think I should point out before we go any further that I'd have some minor moral qualms about that, but I'm sure once you'd explained it to me, I'd swallow my doubts. 
Business hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, MON-FRI, (your local timezone). 
Region: United Kingdom. 
So you're offering a distinctive new working schedule of 'all week', in the country in which I live. I have to say, that's a tempting offer. 

Please note that there are no startup fees or deposits to complete your paid training evaluation period. 
You're not one of these fly-by-night outfits are you? You couldn't be. They'd charge me for the 'training evaluation period', however long that is. 

We offer team members flexible schedule, including telecommuting and in-office assignments, and basic entry-level positions for recent graduates and those looking to start a new career with a stable company with foreign capital. Working for us provides employees with a challenging and fast-paced work environment that is sensitive to the needs of its workforce. 
I'm sold. If you're using the metaphor of membership of a sports team to evoke the cameraderie and mutual dependence prevalent in your company, then I want in. I assume of course that 'sensitive' means that you're fully unionised? I'm very relieved that you say the company is 'stable' and funded by foreign capital. I always say that a company with a Hotmail address must be a subsidiary of Microsoft. This foreign capital's hot stuff isn't it? I meant to say, there's no capital around here what with all the banks going bust. If you've managed to locate where all the capital's gone, your finance directors must be the horse's nostrils of investment banking. I salute you, Reba. 

If you are interested in getting more information and taking this position with us, the next step in our process is to fill out our application form and to make out an interview. 
To request an application form, schedule your interview and receive more information about this position please reply to this email with your personal identification number for this position IDNO:-2NVH0GQK1D. 
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to reviewing your application paperwork. 
Reba Waiters 
HR department IDS Ltd. 
I'm in. I don't care that you've inadvertently forgotten to include the paragraph which explains exactly what my duties would be. You've dropped enough hints, and we can iron out the details at my interview. What do you say? Little Chef on the A303? 

Madam, I remain your devoted servant 
Plashing Vole.

PS. I hope you don't mind, but I've taken a liberty with your e-mail. Even though your letter was clearly targeted at me for my obvious skills, I've shared your details with the Internet. After all, nobody should be denied the benefits of working for such an illustrious organisation. They'll all be in touch soon. Will there be some kind of bonus for helping with your recruitment?

Update: I've just received the same e-mail, this time from Freida Bechtold, These fraudsters really are lazy…

Like some of you, I've notified Amazon. Keep an eye on your accounts.

Update 2: reply from Amazon:

Thank you for contacting at and bringing this to our attention. 
The e-mail you received wasn't from, and we're investigating the situation. 

I didn't suggest it was 'from' Amazon - but did ask them to consider whether their databases had been hacked. It seems increasingly likely.


Grumpy Bob said...

I just got the same, but with a different name to the hotmail address...

Ewarwoowar said...

Very good Voley! I wish I got e-mails like that :(

The Plashing Vole said...

Hope you've all applied. Jobs are scarce!

Anonymous said...

You can add Desiree Desouza: abedwiohlals[at] to the list of senders.

What is concerning is the use of my real name in the subject line. I do not use this on my email and this is the first time in some 12 years this has happened. Where the heck did they get their info from?

Likewise, my email address is not a UK one, yet I am in the UK and the majority of spam thinks not.

unluckydip said...

Got the same e-mail myself but from "Alberta Hiles"

Anonymous said...

Anonymous I share your concern.

This email had my full real name which I never ever use it isn't even on my drivers license.

Which leads me to think that possibly the data used for, wherever it has come from has come from a security hack somewhere and the details have been sold...

The Plashing Vole said...

Mine used my real name too, though Mr instead of Dr. I almost never get junk mail, so this one is a surprise.

Clearly there's a big push on from our spamming friends. Let's see if they reply to me…

The Plashing Vole said...

Wow. I'm the top two hits on Google for this. I feel so ahead of the curve!

Anonymous said...

I got two of these emails...One for me and one for my almost 80 year old mother (both from different people)! We can't wait to get started in our new jobs LOL!!!

The only place I can think of that I've ever used my email address for the sake of my mother is on, which makes me wonder if they've experienced a security hack...

Anonymous said...

I got a similar mail too. I think they get name/email from a CV database if you ever posted one. It may be Amazon as well as the wish lists are usually public. I am curious what they are hunting for.. Bank account details, money laundering? I found also this page

what says: "My first assignment was to select 10 banks to do research about having funds wire transferred"

The Plashing Vole said...

You might be right: Amazon address me in exactly the same way as the e-mail.

Thanks for the link.

Unknown said...

I got 2 today, both from different names!!!

Anonymous said...

I just got the same from June Fretwell. Sounds like an oxymoron.

Anonymous said...

Just found you via Google. Had two today like this (different "names" and email addresses but both were still Hotmail). It was addressed to an address I have only ever used with Amazon, I am 100% sure (i.e. my address is amazon@...)

My full name was used too. Either Amazon or a Marketplace Seller has been hacked I would guess. I have emailed Amazon to let them know but not holding my breath!

Anonymous said...

Mine was from Charmaine Pless - klattswaanita@

They sure do have a lot of HR managers at IDS Ltd.

Can't say if Amazon is the source but I do have an account there...

The Plashing Vole said...

I'm loving the names. They're almost poetic. Not quite real names but sort of plausible.

The Walrus said...

I'm impressed, and humbled, but in a good way! You made a much better blog posting about this than I did.

The last time I had one of these without details of what the job involved, it turned out they were looking for money launderers. I'd be no good at that; every time I leave banknotes on my pockets and wash them, they are ruined.

Katushka said...

Mine was from one 'Cecilia Caplinger'. Sheeze, have to say I was almost 'twas such an improvement (split infinitives n'orl) on my usual 'Nigerian scams'. Thanks for your amusing post; also suspect Amazon has been hacked into here, as my email/name not the same in any other context.

Anonymous said...

I received this e-mail from "Clarice Macfarlane", but what worries me the most is that it was addressed to my husband. There's no way of guessing my husband's name from my e-mail address, nor would that have come from a phishing scam as I'd have entered my name. So our details have been hacked from somewhere. Amazon is a good guess as my husband receives many of our orders at work, so to his name. Worrying...

Ewarwoowar said...

On the flip side, I use Amazon all the time, and have an Amazon wish list, but I've received nothing. Even checked through the Junk folder of my email.

I miss out on all the fun :(

Anonymous said...

Just how can you be so sure the leak occurred on Amazon?

Anonymous said...

In my case the subject line was a form of my name I only use on Amazon.

If you are collecting names, mine were rather dull - Jerry Schmidt and Juliana Marlowe.

Anonymous said...

Mine was from Eliza Priestley. Possibly THE Eliza ... I think you've missed that apparently you can work for only 2 hours a day and still earn £15k. Go for it.

Unknown said...

I've had two e-mails offering me jobs, both to e-mail addresses used just for Amazon activity.

I've complained via the Contact Us thing twice, and had the usual "it's not from Amazon" "don't click on links or attachments" rubbish.

I spoke to a guy in Ireland tonight who deflected the 'blame' from Amazon to my ISP, or my e-mail provider. We'd also got to the point of making some progress when the call was cut off - he didn't call me back.

I for one will be writing to the Information Commissioner about this.

Is nowhere safe?

Anonymous said...

The email I received was from "Deidre Downey" (

The originating IP is, which according to is Brazil (95% accuracy).

It was sent to the email address I've registered with and the subject was my exact Amazon 'name' - my initials typed in a particular way, down to the correct capitalisation. is the only web site amongst hundreds that I'm registered with that have this combination of email address and name, and therefore I'm certain that the data was obtained from

The Plashing Vole said...

Great sleuthing, everyone. I think it's an Amazon or Marketplace leak: I'm only addressed in the form I received the mail by Amazon, and lots of other people seem to have had the same experience.

I've moved to the Book Depository for books: similar prices, and it didn't rat on Wikileaks. Who knows, it might even be unionised!

Katherine said...

Yep, I'm getting emails to both myself and my partner. I've used his name to have some stuff delivered from Amazon before. Both names are punctuated as we used them (first and middle name initials for him; first name and surname for me). Thing is, I actually closed my Amazon account some time late last year when they messed up another delivery. Therefore if they were hacked either it was a while ago, or they expressly ignored my request to delete all information held on me from their records.

Anonymous said...

its the book depository at playtrade - i had an email addressed to me - but the subject was a family member - i have only ever posted to this member once only- and that was thru the book depository on playtrade, although it was in 2008 - ,ustve been hacked recently !

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this was the source:

"Barclaycard, Citigroup and an arm of Amazon are among the companies who have been affected by a security breach at Epsilon, an online marketing firm based in Texas. Hackers have managed to get their hands on the juicy information contained with their databases."

The Plashing Vole said...

That is a possibility. It seems to be linked to, and possible one of their Marketplace traders: Book Depository has been mentioned too.

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Anonymous said...

I received one of these earlier this week and, of course, deleted it. However, this morning my inbox has eight copies of the e-mail, each with a different subject line (but along the lines of 'Career opportunity' 'A new job for you') which all appear to have been SENT by me!

I hope that they aren't being sent to anyone else with my account as the sender.